National Eviction Exhibit Highlights Impact of Eviction on Homelessness

Administration Aggravates Homelessness Crisis as Eviction Exhibit Opens
Eviction Exhibit

As U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, appointed by President Trump, proposes to make life harder for America’s working poor and increase homelessness, a new exhibit on eviction has opened in Washington, DC.

This national exhibit, “Evicted”, is located in the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. and is a “compelling look at the grim, painful and often lasting experience of being without a home, and serves to alert the public to the fact that eviction has become nothing short of a national health crisis”, according to Linda Stamato, Star-Ledger Guest Columnist.

“Evicted” features families from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” by Mathew Desmond. It also features five families from Morris County in New Jersey.

This exhibit puts a face to the name of poverty and exposes the struggles of low-income, marginalized people to stay in their homes. It encourages others to join in the advocacy efforts to increase affordable housing and prevent eviction.

Eviction not only harms individual’s finances, but also their physical and mental health. Eviction can lead to poor performance on the job and in school. It usually follows families for the rest of their lives. Negative rental histories give future landlords the opportunity to deny these families housing, putting them at further risk for homelessness.

  • HUD Secretary Carson proposes to raise the rent on 4 million tenants who receive HUD rental assistance by an average of 20 percent.
  • He hopes the rent increase will push these low-income tenants to find work.
  • But in fact, many HUD tenants already work but are simply not earning enough to pay the typical high cost of rental housing.
  • This is one reason why our country needs more affordable housing.

Carson also wants to allow housing authorities to impose work requirements, increase the percentage of income tenants are required to pay from 30 to 35 percent, raise the minimum rent from $50/month to $150/month, and eliminate current deductions for medical care and child care.

This new proposed bill is titled “Make Affordable Housing Work Act.”

“New Jersey’s economy isn’t helping either. The rate of households considered “working poor,” those who cannot meet everyday costs, has climbed to more than 40 percent, according to New Jersey Policy Perspective.”

“According to Homeless Solution‘s executive director, Dan McGuire, “Choosing between a roof over your head and food in your mouth is a choice no parent ever wants to make.”

This shift Carson proposed is intended to save federal dollars. The bill is just one example of the many federal policies that have for decades been more supportive of owners, not renters regardless of political affiliation.

  • Homelessness has skyrocketed since the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007.
  • There were 3 million foreclosures in 2009 and even more in 2010. Evictions continue to raise the demand for rental housing.
  • However, the supply of affordable rental housing does not match the demand.

Star-Ledger Article

Evicted Exhibit

Make Affordable Housing Work Act

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