How to Understand Your City's Eviction Crisis
When groundbreaking research revealed that evictions in Charlotte, North Carolina are nearly twice as frequent as in similar-sized cities, the University of North Carolina and Mecklenburg County wanted to know more. The two partnered to take a deeper look at the frequency, causes, and impacts of eviction in Charlotte—ultimately motivating the county to devote new resources to legal aid and eviction defense, one step in combatting the crisis.
In hopes of replicating the partnership's success in other cities, Urban Institute's Leah Hendey distilled their work into five basic strategies. Here are a few:
The partnership heard from a number of parties involved in the eviction process, including county agencies, nonprofits, legal aid, landlords, apartment associations, and the sheriff's office.
They mapped out the entire eviction process, including informal evictions that never make it to court. That helped them identify the most crucial junctures and key opportunities for intervention.
They combined awareness with action. Alongside reports on new dimensions of the eviction crisis, the partnership published a "Toolkit for Action." Following the reports, Hendey notes, "the United Way and Mecklenburg County increased their funding for legal assistance for people facing eviction, with the county funding Legal Aid of North Carolina to provide this assistance for the first time in the fiscal year 2019 budget."