Providing lawyers to Baltimore tenants facing eviction could pay for itself

The one absolute requirement to comply with a stay-at-home or safer-at-home order is a home. Yet access to that very critical living necessity is in jeopardy for millions of Americans who’ve been forced out of work by coronavirus and now face mounting bills and past due rents.

Editorial (Maryland)

Baltimore Sun
May 19, 2020
Read the editorial.
Read the Baltimore Eviction Study

Tags: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Housing, Housing: Eviction, Housing: Right to Counsel

Organizations mentioned/involved: Public Justice Center (PJC)


This is of particular concern in cities like Baltimore, where a recent study revealed a “massive racial disparity” in rental evictions, suggesting they’re not just a quality of life concern, but a civil rights issue.

The Evictions Study — performed by the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Washington — analyzed more than 9,000 city court cases from 2018 and 2019 to identify race, ethnic and gender disparities among expelled renters. Researchers found that those removed from their homes were far more likely to be black and female, and to live in Baltimore’s most segregated neighborhoods on the West side or in those looking to gentrify on the East side. The study concluded such evictions are “related to contemporary discrimination in housing access, displacement, and economic inequality linked to the legacies of segregation, policies, and practices directed against persons of color.”

While evictions are suspended throughout Maryland right now for those who’ve suffered “substantial loss of income due to COVID-19,” that won’t last forever. Neither will the $13 million in federal coronavirus relief funding that Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young set aside for rental assistance. What happens when time and funds run out, but financial troubles persist?