New Orleans is facing a growing displacement crisis; as the city becomes more expensive, many low income families are struggling to find stable, affordable housing. Over the last 10 years, rents have risen 40% while incomes have stagnated, creating significant rent burdens for working class residents. Neighborhoods are transforming, racially and economically, as they become prohibitively expensive for the majority of our city’s residents. Aspects of the crisis remain hidden as poverty and housing issues are de-prioritized politically. In particular, data about the eviction rate in New Orleans and its’ geographic impact on neighborhoods has never been publicly available or analyzed. Davida Finger, a lawyer with Loyola University’s Community Justice Section Law Clinic, has built a dataset through public records requests that seeks to answer questions about evictions in New Orleans, including how many evictions are occurring, where they are geographically concentrated, and why individuals and families are being evicted.
Data surrounding the evictions in New Orleans and its’ impacts on individuals and neighborhoods has never been analyzed on a comprehensive, case-by-case basis, leaving housing advocates, policy makers, and community members in the dark regarding the true impact of evictions on our city. Court records were buried in individual case files, making it hard to analyze trends. Ms. Finger’s dataset, which includes information on over 11,000 individual court cases, offers the first opportunity for advocates and policy-makers to truly understand where and why evictions are occurring in Orleans Parish. Jane Place will use this data set in conjunction with historic red-lining maps of New Orleans, data sets from the American Community Survey, datasets of rent increases, and additional information from the Housing Authority of New Orleans to complete this mapping project, creating a robust series of maps showing the housing precarity underlying the transformation and gentrification of our city.
We are interested in mapping and reporting on the following:
Beyond mapping, we plan to issue a report on how various interventions might improve eviction outcomes for tenants, including comparing and contrasting different legal systems to demonstrate specific ways tenants could have better outcomes.
Evictions can cause lasting damages to individuals and families that stretch far beyond the initial crisis, and can plunge individuals and families deeper into poverty and stress. Studies show that evictions can lead to job-losses, health crises, and limit future housing options due to negative impacts credit scores. In order to develop and advocate for policies that will protect tenants and prevent an escalation of the eviction crisis, we need to better understand how, where, and why evictions occur. The ability to identify the number of evictions occurring, identify neighborhoods where families are most at-risk, and analyzing what is driving evictions will help community advocates and policy-makers design better interventions to prevent unnecessary evictions and support tenants most in need with appropriately targeted programs that address root causes of the eviction crisis.
Applications for the Summer 2019 session of the Azavea Summer of Maps fellowship program are now closed. Check out this post to learn about the selected projects and fellows!