Earlier in March, as the COVID-19 public health crisis was starting to unfold in the United States, we released our study of twenty years of evictions in Houston in Harris County. This study examined some of the basic metrics in eviction court records, such as the number of cases filed, the number of judgments in favor of the landlord, and what parts of town have the most evictions.
Then we followed up with an article on the Kinder Institute’s Urban Edge, looking at the impact of pausing evictions through the Census enumeration period. In Census circles, we hear a lot about “hard to count” communities, and renters are one of the most prominent segments that are hard to count.
In partnership with the Houston Housing Collaborative, we brought this research together into a live webinar on March 27. You can watch it here:
Some of the highlights of this webinar include:
- An overview of case filings and evictions in Harris County, Texas since 1999.
- A closer look into how terms are defined, and what happened to the data around 2016 that increased recent numbers.
- How previous studies of evictions in Harris County have underestimated the problem because of limited source data.
- How we collected data directly from the Harris County Justice of the Peace Court for our analysis.
- Information about the current evictions pause, and how many eviction cases have been filed since then.
- What if we extended the pause through the Census? Would it be worth it?
- Shout outs to a coalition of partners in Harris County who have started an eviction diversion program and partnered with Texas Southern University to study evictions.
- Ideas from other regions that we could apply to Houston.
- An open invitation to researchers and policy makers to work with eviction case data — we are happy to help.
There was also a great question and answer period that sparked lots of new ideas and ways to use the eviction case dataset.
You can dig through the presentation deck here:
Curious about the Houston Housing Collaborative? They are a consensus-driven organization designed to “develop, adopt and implement a cohesive comprehensive and equitable housing policy framework with communities, the public and private sectors.” Evictions and eviction data can help inform housing policies, and we are grateful for the opportunity to partner with them.