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Loyola Law Professor Conducts Comprehensive Study on New Orleans Eviction Crisis

By Loyola University on Thu, 03/28/2019 - 17:29

First comprehensive study on the escalating eviction crisis facing New Orleans renters.

New Orleans, La - On Tuesday, March 26, Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative and Professor Davida Finger, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, Law Clinic released New Orleans Eviction Geography: Results of an Increasingly Precarious Housing Market, the first comprehensive study on the escalating eviction crisis facing New Orleans renters. Evictions cause lasting damages to individuals and families; evictions can lead to job losses, health crises, impact children’s school performance, and limit future housing options. In 2017, 1 in 19 renter households in New Orleans faced a court-ordered eviction.

The subject of evictions has been an under-analyzed aspect of New Orleans’ deepening housing crisis. Until now, there was no accurate accounting of the scale of the eviction crisis, where evictions were occurring, and what policies should be enacted to prevent unjust evictions and promote housing security for renters in New Orleans, and in Louisiana.

The report reveals strong geographic concentrations of court-ordered evictions in some of New Orleans most vulnerable neighborhoods. In 2017, the national average for evictions was 2.8% of renter households, while New Orleans’s was nearly double the national rate at 5.2%. The most affected neighborhood was Little Woods, where 10.4% of all renter households experienced a court ordered eviction. The magnitude of the crisis is most certainly even higher, as the report was unable to track informal evictions that do not go through the legal system. Studies in other cities indicate that informal evictions are four times more common than court-ordered evictions.

Professor Finger says of the report, “Every year, thousands of individuals and families are evicted from their homes in New Orleans. Our report demonstrates that evictions and their negative impacts are disproportionately clustered in predominantly Black communities, resulting in an accumulation of adverse outcomes and reflecting a housing market that continues to be defined by racial and economic exclusion.”

Senator Edward Price of Louisiana State Senate District 2 is introducing legislation at the state level to support much-needed reforms to Louisiana’s landlord-tenant laws. Senator Price says, “We have the same laws across our state, so if this is happening in New Orleans, it’s also happening to Louisianans who rent in Gonzales, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, and everywhere else. With so many people living paycheck to paycheck, we can follow the lead of just about every other state and do a better job of helping our families stay in their homes.”

Beyond reforming landlord-tenant laws, it is crucial that the City of New Orleans invest in deeply affordable housing to stem the crisis. Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative’s Program Manager, Breonne DeDecker, states. “Our data shows that evictions are happening in neighborhoods that are considered ‘affordable’, but your apartment isn’t affordable if you’re paying half of your income in rent each month. New Orleans needs to invest in deeply and permanently affordable housing in order to lessen the damage low-income renters are suffering in the private market.