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41 Mitchell Hamline L. J. of Pub. Pol’y & Prac. 167 (2020)


Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, focused public attention on the issue of eviction. As a result, scholars have begun to investigate and challenge some of the assumptions made in the book. Primarily, is eviction the cause of poverty or one of its consequences? This article explores several options in an attempt to explain the high number of evictions in America. These include, among others, the lack of affordable housing, failed governmental policies, the rise of institutional landlords and the role of courts. The article highlights some interventions that have begun to show progress in easing the burden of eviction. In the end, however, the paper concludes that the solution lies in a re-thinking of the government’s role in housing. Our laws and court processes must be reformed to acknowledge the fundamental right of housing. Until our legal system considers the rights of tenants as at least equivalent to the rights of landlords, we will continue to see these staggering eviction numbers.



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