Los Angeles is experiencing an eviction crisis, one which is forcing working class residents out of their neighborhoods, out of the city, and in many cases onto the street. It is a displacement crisis, a homelessness crisis, an equity crisis, and an affordable housing crisis. The implications of large-scale evictions have created a children’s crisis, a workers’ crisis, an immigrant crisis, and a racial justice crisis.
While the city and county have made progress housing homeless individuals, as soon as we house and shelter our homeless Angelenos, others who are newly homeless replace them.
To see a difference on the street, we need to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.
The best way to do that is to stabilize their current housing. And Right to Counsel is the most effective prevention strategy we have to prevent illegal displacement.
Any homelessness measure, anti-displacement mechanism, or racial equity project is incomplete without eviction prevention.
Evictions Result from Unequal Power
- 90% of tenants facing eviction DO NOT have representation from an attorney. While 90% of landlords DO have lawyers in eviction proceedings.
- When tenants are not represented by an attorney, they almost always lose, even if they have a valid legal defense.
- Eviction cases are complicated, move fast and are highly technical; it is very difficult, if not impossible, to successfully defend an eviction case without a lawyer.
- Nearly 75% of eviction cases are resolved within 45 days of filing.
- When tenants have legal representation, they achieve far more beneficial outcomes than tenants without representation. Rights without an ability to assert them are empty
Evictions Devastate Lives
- A growing body of evidence demonstrates just how damaging eviction and displacement can be to people’s health and wellbeing.
- Individuals who are evicted experience up to 20% higher levels of material hardship— the loss of possessions, a job, and access to government aid—for at least two years following an eviction as compared to individuals who are not evicted.
- Children in low-income families without housing subsidies are less likely to have access to nutritious food and score worse on “well child” metrics than children in households with housing subsidies.
Evictions Target People of Color and Low-Income Families
- Low-income tenants, women of color, and families with children comprise a majority of tenants facing eviction.
- It is a well-documented fact that evictions disproportionately impact Black and female-headed households. Decades of analysis demonstrate that the higher the percentage of Black persons and children living in female headed households, the higher the eviction rate.
- Black people are 4 times more likely to experience homelessness in Los Angeles.
- In California, 92% of Shriver clients spent more than 30% of their monthly household income on rent, and 73% spent 50% or more.
- The majority of Shriver clients within the Los Angeles cases (57%) were female, 45% were Latinx, and 30% were African American.
- Right to Counsel not only stops the eviction crisis, it will prevent the mass displacement of low-income people of color from their homes and neighborhoods.
Evictions Fuel the Homelessness and Housing Crisis
- As soon as we house and shelter our homeless Angelenos, others who are newly homeless replace them.
- In the last year homelessness rose 16% in the city of Los Angeles and by 12% in the County.
- 1 in 4 unsheltered Angelenos lost their homes in 2018
- 53% of people experiencing homelessness for the first time said it was due to economic hardship. Financial crisis often leads to eviction.
- When households are evicted from rent-stabilized units, landlords raise the rent to market-rate for future tenants, diminishing affordable housing units.
- Every day, more families face the threat of eviction and homelessness. This will not end until we decide to put families ahead of profits and level the playing field between tenants and landlords.
Right to Counsel Keeps Families Housed
- Right to Counsel for tenants is a proven and cost-effective mechanism for keepingpeople housed.
- Having an attorney in an eviction case increases a family’s chance of avoiding homelessness by over 70%.
- The Shriver Project demonstrates that legal representation for tenants means:
- Fewer evictions.
- More time to move out.
- More likely to find replacement housing.
- Long term housing stability.
- New York proves this point. Following the successful passage of Right to Counsel, 84% of all tenants provided an attorney remained housed.
- The New York City zip codes where a Right to Counsel has been implemented accounted for 64 percent of the overall decline in evictions.
Right to Counsel Saves the City Money
- Cities save money overall by preventing housing crises.
- In San Francisco, New York City, and Philadelphia independent objective studies demonstrated the long-term cost savings in homeless services and emergency shelter when keeping people in their homes with the right counsel.
- In Philadelphia, the city will save $12 for every $1 spent.
- A similar analysis of Right to Counsel in New York City found that right to counsel would provide a net cost savings to the city of $320 million relative to the $199 million cost of providing right to counsel to tenants across New York City.
- Cost Savings include:
- Benefits of reduced homeless shelter costs.
- Benefits of affordable housing costs savings.
- Benefits of unsheltered homeless costs savings.