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RVA Eviction Lab


Why have we formed the RVA Eviction Lab?

Richmond has the second highest eviction rate in the country, 11% annually from 2000 to 2016, based on the Princeton University Eviction Lab analysis of millions of eviction case court records. Five of the top ten cities in the US with the highest eviction rates are located in the State of Virginia. Richmond, Roanoke, and Hampton Roads faced the highest rates of eviction, demonstrating a statewide challenge. High eviction rates are disproportionately found in minority communities, with more than 60% of all majority African American tracts facing eviction rates greater than 10%. 

With the Princeton University Eviction Lab data drawing attention to this issue, the Virginia Poverty Law Center brought together advocates and service providers to create the Campaign to Reduce Evictions (CARE). CARE identified the need for additional data and analysis to drive policy and advocacy in reducing the displacement of families facing eviction. 

The RVA Eviction Lab, housed at VCU within in the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, focuses on meeting eviction data and research needs and supporting the work of local government, community-based organizations, elected officials, and other advocates. The RVA Eviction Lab takes the necessary deeper dives into the qualitative and quantitative aspects of evictions. Because this problem and the associated research questions will continue to shift both regionally and locally, we make data public, reliable, and responsive to the needs of the community, region, and the state.


Who Are We?

Kathryn Howell

Dr. Howell investigates ways to interrupt ongoing patterns of migration, displacement and segregation in cities. Her work focuses on affordable housing and public spaces to explore redevelopment, displacement and governance. She has specifically looked at the preservation of affordable housing in Washington, DC, examining the intersection between policies, governance and the built environment. She was previously a practitioner in local government developing housing and community development policy in Washington, DC and Maryland agencies.

Ben Teresa

Dr. Teresa studies the changing relationship between finance and cities. His research examines how the increasing role of financial institutions, actors, and logic—sometimes referred to as the “financialization” of the economy—affects urban development and governance and how communities and planners exercise control over the institutions that shape how cities change. Teresa’s research engages across multiple topics including real estate development, housing, tax incentives, artistic and cultural production, and urban education. His current research focuses on the reemergence of land contracts and the role of institutional investors in reproducing racial segregation in real estate markets. He has published this research in Environment and Planning A, Urban Geography, and Urban Affairs Review.


 

Eviction and Educational Instability in Richmond, Virginia

Kathryn Howell, PhD

RVA Eviction Lab


SUMMARY

School Boundaries and Eviction RatesRichmond faces an eviction rate of approximately 11%, which has remained steady over the past 16 years. However, evictions are unevenly dispersed across the city with neighborhoods in the east and south sides of the city facing significantly higher rates. The impact of high eviction rates in these neighborhoods are exacerbated by relatively high percentage of rental housing, particularly in the Southside and Northside. Conversely, west end neighborhoods where eviction rates are low also have limited rental housing, meaning that there is limited neighborhood turnover because of eviction. While evictions touch individual households, schools are increasingly the front line of eviction, impacting educational and behavioral outcomes for both mobile students and those who are in schools facing high rates of mobility. In this brief, we explore the impact of eviction on Richmond Public Schools (RPS). We find that majority white school districts face significantly lower rates of eviction that those with African American or Latino majorities. More importantly, those schools also face higher rates of chronic absenteeism and mobility. 

Download full article Eviction and Educational Instability in Richmond


 

The Geography of Eviction in Richmond: Beyond Poverty

Benjamin F. Teresa, PhD

RVA Eviction Lab


SUMMARY

Average Eviction Rates in RichmondThe most common reason landlords evict tenants is for not paying rent. At first glance, it may seem logical to assume that poverty—simply not having enough money to make rent—is the underlying cause of eviction. However, households face various kinds of displacement pressure that ultimately causes them to be unable to afford rent, many other less common reasons for eviction, and involuntary displacement that occurs outside of the formal, legal eviction process. This report focuses on the relationship between eviction and urban geography in the City of Richmond in order to begin to unravel the different causes of eviction and how they are distributed across the city. The report examines neighborhood-level eviction data and what factors have measurable effects on the eviction rate.
The analysis shows that:
Neighborhood racial composition is a significant factor in determining eviction rates, even after controlling for income, property value, and other characteristics.
As the share of the African American population increases, the eviction rate increases.
As the share of non-Hispanic Whites increases, the eviction rate decreases.
Demographic and housing market characteristics do not explain why high and low eviction rates are concentrated in certain parts of the city, suggesting that other factors such as rental housing ownership, financing, and property management strategies may play an important role in eviction.

Download full article The Geography of Eviction in Richmond: Beyond Poverty