No Safe Harbor: Eviction Filing in Public Housing

Lillian Leung, Peter Hepburn, James Hendrickson, Matthew Desmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Using the records of hundreds of thousands of court cases filed across the United States between 2010 and 2016, we assess whether residence in public housing reduces the risk of facing an eviction filing. Comparing with sim-ilar sets of private market renters, we demonstrate that those living in public housing face equal risk. Once filed against, public housing residents face a far higher risk of serial eviction filing. Within states, public and private market serial eviction filing rates are strongly correlated—evidence that public housing property managers respond to local eviction policies in ways that resemble their private market counterparts. We report on in-depth interviews with property managers from two housing authorities in Ohio. Property managers use the courts to facilitate rent col-lection in jurisdictions that enable the practice, but doing so does not necessarily result in better outcomes on evaluations conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-497
Number of pages42
JournalSocial Service Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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