MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Across the nation, 8 million households could face evictions in four weeks, according to a national report based on Census data.
Housing experts are concerned about a potential landslide of evictions in the new year.
Memphis has one of the fastest growing rental markets in the country, according to a 2018 Zillow report. It’s a rate that some experts say could be dangerous as eviction fillings pile up during the pandemic.
“The areas where we’re seeing the highest job losses are likely to see very high eviction rates and then potentially foreclosure rates,” said Austin Harrison, housing consultant.
Eviction Lab is the first nationwide database of evictions created by Princeton University. According to its data, there have been 9,194 eviction filings in Memphis since March 15 when the pandemic started. Of those fillings, 109 were filed just last week alone during the Thanksgiving holiday.
The CDC’s eviction moratorium expires at the end of this year, and Harrison believes without any additional support from Congress, this could lead to a domino effect in 2021.
“If we just said one out of every five Shelby County residents can’t pay their mortgage or their rent in one month, that alone accounts for around a $65 million economic impact,” said Harrison. “That’s just a direct payment of rent and mortgage that doesn’t account for that landlords and mortgage holders can’t pay their mortgage and that economic impacts from there.”
Harrison said formal eviction filings have been stable during the moratorium, but he said that hasn’t stopped some landlords from using other scare tactics.
“We’ve been hearing cases on the ground anecdotally of residents have either received old eviction filings, or judgments they’ve received or the threat of eviction,” said Harrison.
The Eviction Settlement Program (ESP) is a partnership between the city of Memphis, Shelby County, Neighborhood Preservation Inc., the University of Memphis School of Law, and Memphis Area Legal Services.
The program has been using federal CARES Act funding to help tenants settle eviction cases. But this funding runs out at the end of this year too.
But Harrison said there are other nonprofits working to extend these kinds of housing assistance resources into next year.
For more information about housing assistance programs and nonprofits, click here.
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