The nation's housing crisis has reached emergency levels. More than half of all Americans spend over 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities. 12 million households dedicate over half their wages to housing. Today, more than three million families and individuals are homeless, including more than one million children.
Most low-income renters in Kansas City—and, increasingly, some with moderate incomes—struggle to pay rent. Poor renters often occupy housing that costs more than they can afford, which can result in evictions and homelessness. Over the last 17 years, an average of 42 formal evictions have been filed per business day in Jackson County, Missouri. Poor people and communities of color are most impacted by eviction. Both a cause and condition of poverty, eviction impacts employment and health, causes student mobility, and can make it harder and harder to find secure housing.
While eviction suits are commonplace in the Jackson County civil court system, to our knowledge there has never been a comprehensive study of the eviction process and the outcomes of cases. We set out to rectify this by collecting a dataset of eviction filings and docket records in Jackson County from Missouri’s CaseNet website. We compiled a dataset of 106,000 records, or all the cases filed in Jackson County from 2006-2016. With this dataset, we can provide a rich picture of how cases are disposed, the rates of representation for landlords and tenants, the timeline of the eviction process, and the type of judgments entered against tenants. Read our preliminary findings in our Eviction in the Courts fact sheet.
Eviction is more than a forced move. It impacts physical and mental health, access to schools and transportation, people’s’ ability to keep their jobs, and much more. Eviction is both a cause and a condition of poverty. Insecure housing is particularly disruptive for kids, especially when they have to change schools many times over. Research has shown that student mobility, or the movement of students between schools within or between school years, is associated with lower achievement. We believe that it is likely that physical mobility, in part caused by formal and informal evictions, contributes to student mobility, and therefore has important implications for student outcomes. Read our preliminary findings in our Eviction in the Schools fact sheet.
LINC gave a presentation on eviction and related issues at the February 2018 FACT board meeting. This booklet contains valuable background information.