EP 420 America’s Eviction Crisis and Tenants’ Rights

  Matthew Desmond’s acclaimed book, ‘Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City’ drew attention to the eviction crisis in America.  Estimates suggest upwards of 900,000 renters were being evicted every year in America.  And that was before the pandemic forced a policy change putting a moratorium on evictions.  Without it, those numbers would have been in the millions as families would have been forced into shelters or onto the streets.  When you consider the fact that there is nothing more elemental than a roof over your head for safety, stability and health of your family, you can play out the many implications of the eviction crisis. While anyone in personal finance will tell you that housing should not take up more than 30 percent of your household budget in major urban areas with skyrocketing rents, gentrification and the lack of affordable housing often those numbers careen toward 50 percent for low income households.  That crowds out many other essentials for a family.  As Desmond’s book illustrated the rights of tenants are marginalized in our court system and thus landlords, particularly those that own multiple units, hold the upper hand in court proceedings.  John Pollock, coordinator of the National Coalition for A Civil Right to Counsel, joins us to discuss the movement to insure legal representation for tenants and the growing number of cities supporting the effort and ways in which it actually saves urban centers money in the long run.  His movement is under the umbrella of the Public Justice Center(publicjustice.org).