Connecting state and local government leaders
A new report says that localities should build partnerships with courts and organizations to capture more types of data to spot and stop evictions.
The U.S. government collects almost no eviction data needed to understand and address the eviction crisis, according to a report by the National League of Cities.
In fact, research from the NLC finds that 38% of rural, 30% of suburban, 30% of exurban and 22% of urban city officials surveyed do not know if evictions have increased or decreased from the previous year.
More Data Needed
Data is essential to cities’ eviction prevention efforts because it allows localities to target programming and outreach more efficiently to serve households most at risk of eviction, according to the report.
Here are how cities have expressed the following types of data as critical to their eviction prevention efforts, according to the NLC:
- Historical data: Collecting historical data allows cities to establish a baseline for what eviction filings in each time frame looks like. With this, cities can understand the landscape of evictions in their communities.
- Data from courts: Real-time eviction data from the courts can provide cities, community-based organizations and legal aid organizations with the information they need to intervene where tenants are most at risk in the formal eviction process.
- Geographic data: Data that displays the individual address or neighborhood where each eviction occurs allows cities to identify hot spots in eviction cases.
- Program metrics: Data that investigates the results of eviction prevention programs (including mediation, eviction navigator, right to counsel and emergency rental assistance programs) allow cities to better determine program efficacy and sheds light on which programs should be scaled.
The Barriers Cities Face
According to the report, cities face many barriers in obtaining this data, including
- Lack of partnerships: Partnerships, most notably with courts, are necessary to access eviction data. Partnerships are also critical to address staffing and resource constraints.
- Lack of coordination: Many cities do not have a centralized department or an agency warehousing and managing available eviction data.
- Need for data quality standards: Without uniform data standards showing how eviction data should be documented, data sources can follow different naming standards and formats, use different software platforms and have varying levels of accessibility.
- State interference: States can provide funding and incentives for local governments to maintain and share data from the courts, but some cities face challenges in proactively collecting and sharing data due to state preemption.
Increasing Access to Eviction Data
According to NLC, these are the strategies cities can be implemented to increase their access to eviction data:
- Establish data-sharing agreements and partnerships with courts and community-based and legal-aid organizations.
- Build upon existing relationships with other governmental and community partners to aggregate and align potential sources of existing eviction data.
- Institute uniform data quality standards across organizations working in partnership.
- Partner with community-based organizations and universities to increase data analysis capacity.
- Collect eviction program performance metrics.
For more information from the NLC report click here.
Andre Claudio is the assistant editor for Route Fifty.
NEXT STORY: Congressional Leaders Strike Deal to Fund Agencies Through Feb. 18, but Shutdown Threat Remains