‘We’re technically homeless’: the eviction epidemic plaguing the US

In Virginia, housing organizers and advocates argue the court systems are widely tilted in favor of landlords over tenants, driving high numbers of eviction lawsuits.

News Story (NATIONAL, Virginia)

Michael Sainato
February 11, 2020

Tags: Housing: Eviction, Housing: Landlord-Tenant

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Justice Center (Virginia)


“People can get run over in these courts and they don’t really have much of a remedy to go back and show what was wrong,” said Omari al-Qadaffi, a housing organizer with the Legal Aid Justice Center in Richmond. He also noted tenants are required to pay a bond worth three months of rent to appeal any court decision, no matter their income and that the city has seen the destruction of public housing and landlords refusing to accept subsidized housing vouchers.

The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) manages 4,000 public housing apartments throughout Richmond, and has been criticized by housing organizers for high eviction rates.

In 2017, 1,460 tenants living in RRHA apartments faced an eviction lawsuit, the highest of any landlord in the state of Virginia that year. Criticism for high eviction lawsuit rates caused the RRHA to freeze evictions temporarily in November 2019 until May 2020 and begin working with the city’s eviction diversion program.