Black Renters Face A Disproportionate Amount Of Evictions Because Of Pandemic


As a result of coronavirus’s impact, evictions on Blacks, who are vastly more vulnerable, are more prevalent.

Written by BET Staff

Photo: Getty Images

According to research from Princeton University, despite moratoriums on evictions in various cities, Black renters are more likely to face being put out of their homes. 

Blacks are about 21 percent of all renters but comprise 35 percent of defendants in eviction cases, Princeton research fellow Peter Hepburn told NPR. That figure doesn’t even account for renters occupying properties, but their leases have not been renewed or left before they could be evicted.

“Once you’ve been filed against for eviction, not even evicted necessarily but just having that filing on your record, it’s going to make finding your next apartment that much more difficult,” Hepburn said.

The coronavirus pandemic, he says, is making it worse. According to NPR, Black families are more likely to rent than own their homes and give up a larger share of their income to have a place to stay. The financial cushion to guard against emergencies is also smaller.

Blacks are also more likely to suffer job loss during the pandemic and three times as likely to go to the hospital because of coronavirus. All of that increases risks. 

“My children being home from school, trying to work. It was just a lot,” said a woman identified by NPR only as “Aniya,” who is an unemployed single mother of two who found out she must leave her apartment in Richmond, Va., by the end of the month.  “It was a lot of pressure on me, trying to figure out what we were going to do, being that now there was a whole life change, a world change, really.”

She said that when she lost her job, she began to have trouble paying her $650 monthly rent, and after that, her landlords “were filing lawsuits against me and trying to get me basically out of the unit.”

Palmer Heenan, an attorney with Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, took on Aniya’s case and said most of his clients are Black and Hispanic moms who have similar troubles.

“It’s really disheartening,” Heenan told NPR. “I had a client recently who had been evicted, who basically told me, ‘How are my kids supposed to go to school if we’re living out of my car? My car doesn’t have Wi-Fi.’ “

Congress has passed $25 billion in aid to renters and is considering adding another $25 billion, NPR says. But Jaboa Lake, Center for American Progress analyst, says that still falls short.

“That still doesn’t even touch the back rent that is owed. And we know again that back rent owed is disproportionately impacting families of color,” she said.


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