As a national study shows the stark connection between evictions and homelessness, a recent mass eviction in Portland shows the need for tenant protections
A new report released this month has an important message for Oregon policy makers grappling with the statewide housing and homelessness crisis: in the face of a chronic lack of affordable housing, tenant protections help increase housing stability and reduce homelessness. The study, “Protect Tenants, Prevent Homelessness” was released by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.
The report offers a survey of research that shows a clear connection between evictions and homelessness, pointing out that numerous studies establish evictions as a primary cause of homelessness. Research from New York, California, Washington, Massachusetts and other states shows that between 12 to 66 percent of people experiencing homelessness had experienced an eviction or involuntary displacement that led them to homelessness.
The study calls for tenant protections that keep rental housing affordable, reduce housing instability and eviction, and prohibit discriminatory rental admission policies. Recommendations include limiting evictions without cause and establishing rent stabilization policies.
“Renters rights protections appear to be critical to preventing and ending homelessness and they can often be implemented quickly and cost-effectively,” state the report’s authors.
“Displacement continues to be a huge problem in Oregon where the housing market leaves fewer and fewer homes available for renters with low and very low incomes, and there has been a huge disruption in the lives of the people at Holgate Manor,” says Alison McIntosh, Oregon Housing Alliance. “Relocation assistance provides a protection against immediate homelessness. But when people move across the city line, those protections disappear.”
The Stable Homes for Oregon Families Coalition, made up of housing advocates and organizations from around the state, continues to call for statewide tenant protections to help reduce instability, homelessness and displacement for Oregonians. In the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers failed to act. The housing crisis continues to disproportionately affect low-income children and families and people of color. To learn more, go to www.StableHomesOR.org.