New Wilder Initiative Tracks Richmond's Eviction Epidemic & Effects
To support ongoing efforts in Richmond and across Virginia to address high eviction rates and related forms of housing instability, Wilder School assistant professors of Urban and Regional Studies and Planning, Kathryn L. Howell, Ph.D. and Benjamin F. Teresa, Ph.D. are leading a new initiative, the RVA Eviction Lab, which will provide a dedicated and long-term venue for data collection and analysis on eviction.
The RVA Eviction Lab will focus on supporting local organizations, government and elected officials as they work toward policy solutions to the eviction crisis. The Lab will also serve as a resource to local governments and non-profits by making eviction data easily accessible.
Based on research from Matthew Desmond, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book, “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” along with the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, have reported that Virginia, and Richmond in particular, are epicenters of a nation-wide eviction crisis, with more than 1 out of every 10 renters evicted annually in Richmond. Virginia is home to 5 out of the 10 cities with the highest eviction rates in the country. Consistently high eviction rates in Virginia destabilize communities, causes high turnover in student populations, and reduces community engagement and access to community networks and jobs.
With a group of graduate student researchers in the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program, the first task for the RVA Eviction Lab will involve producing a report on the eviction landscape in Richmond and Virginia. This report will aid efforts like the Campaign to Reduce Evictions (CARE), which was convened in the spring of 2018 and has brought together advocates and service providers on the eviction issue to develop data-driven policy solutions.