Comment on Chester Harman and David Robinson's Evictions: The Hidden Housing Problem

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Publication Date


Publication Title

Housing Policy Debate


eviction, data collection, legislative, administrative reform


Evictions and involuntary moves negatively affecting poor renters present a significant problem. Creating a national database to comprehensively document the magnitude of the problem, however, presents serious difficulties. Most local courts do not publish data on court actions involving evictions. To do this on a national level and to obtain all of the data needed by the authors would require special funding and the cooperation of courts: these are unlikely to materialize. To obtain comprehensive data on involuntary moves beyond the court system would present even greater difficulty. Improvements can be made in existing protections for tenants vulnerable to displacement without compiling comprehensive national data. Previous examples include the debates over displacement and homelessness. Since legislative and administrative reforms are more likely at the state and local levels, reform efforts, including any data collection, should be primarily focused there.



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