In the United States, 6,300 people are evicted every day, according to a new, one of its kind project called the Eviction Lab.
The project launched by Princeton University sheds light on U.S.'s eviction and housing crisis, as it sifted through nearly 80 million evictions going back to 2000. The lab found that in 2016 alone, there were nearly four evictions filed every minute.
One of the main findings of the newly launched lab is the deep racial undertone behind a vast majority of these evictions.
Matthew Desmond, professor of sociology who runs the project at Princeton University, told Democracy Now, "The legacy of racial discrimination in America is deeply connected to the eviction crisis. One of our big findings for the data that we’ve just released is the concentration of evictions in the Southeast, especially in counties that have large numbers of African Americans in them.
"And I think that this is deeply connected to our legacies of systematically dispossessing African Americans from the land, which is a history that goes from slavery all the way up to the recent subprime crisis."
Eviction Lab, which is the country's first nationwide database on evictions, also indicated that the evictions could lead to poor health, depression, job loss and a lost chance to find decent housing in the future.
"Families lose not only their homes, but children often lose their schools. You often lose your things, which are piled on the sidewalk or taken by movers. And eviction comes with an official mark or a blemish, and that can prevent you from moving into safe housing in a good neighborhood. It can also prevent you from moving into public housing," Desmond argued.
"And then there’s health effects, like depression. We have a study that shows that moms who get evicted experience high rates of depression two years later."
According to Eviction lab findings, cities like North Charleston and Richmond faced the highest number of evictions in 2016, per the latest extensive database available.
"This is not just a problem that’s in New York or San Francisco or Boston—cities we often talk about as being hotbeds of the affordable housing crisis. If you go to Wilmington, Delaware, one in 13 renter families are evicted every year. If you go to Tucson, Arizona, or Tulsa, Oklahoma, Albuquerque, New Mexico, you see very high eviction rates," Desmond said, according to Democracy Now.
In some eviction cases recorded in recent years, the tenants said they weren't sure who was evicting them, which Desmond concluded was maybe because the property was "flipping hands very quickly and maybe being consolidated in fewer hands in some cities."
"I’d ask a tenant, “You know, what’s happening? What brought you to this situation?” And their answers were very confused. They’d say, “Well, I got a letter from this company, and I sent my check there. They sent it back. They said my property is owned by another property," Desmond informed.
Except in New York City a tenant has no right to an attorney in eviction court, so the families have no right to contest the eviction. "If you go all around the country and you sit in eviction court, you just see hundreds and hundreds of people coming in with zero attorneys and trying to defend themselves," the sociology professor noted.