ALEXANDRIA, va – The Alexandria Eviction Prevention Partnership (AEPP) and Racial Equity Partners began a project last July to assess the state of eviction prevention in the city. A report, released today by the nonprofit ALIVE!, takes an in-depth look at the issue of eviction, its causes, and strategies employed to help people remain in their homes.
Since 2000, Alexandria has seen an 88% decline of its market-affordable housing stock. The rise of housing costs coupled with the ongoing covid-19 crisis contribute to residents’ concerns over eviction and the possibility of being evicted.
The report also indicates that financial strain is a problem, and this contributes to eviction concerns. At present, there is a lack of access to affordable childcare and prices for goods and services have risen considerably. Workers have also had to take leave from their jobs to care for their children in quarantine, adding to their stress.
The majority of research conducted found that Black and Brown people, both Americans and immigrants, are at highest risk of eviction.
According to the report, many participants “shared explanations for disparities including the individual
biases of landlords and property managers that impact decisions towards tenancy, and the structural inequities that create greater housing cost burden for households of color.” These inequities include employment discrimination, low wages, and lack of generational wealth.
Populations at greatest risk are: 1) Non-English speakers, 2) people working jobs with a high risk of closure at the height of the pandemic, 3) mothers who have to stay at home with their children, and 4) older residents who do not have easy access to the internet.
Also of note is that many who are at risk are: 1) unaware that help is available, 2) afraid of the stigma of getting help, 3) would rather not deal with their landlords or the courts, and 4) not being contacted by outreach programs.
“Increased outreach and communication is key if we want to connect people in crisis with the programs that help those seeking emergency assistance, said Jenn Ayers, Executive Director of ALIVE!. “More will be needed if we want to ensure that the most vulnerable members of our community remain safely housed.”
The report focuses its recommendations on six key areas: rental assistance, coordination, tenant education and access, landlord engagement, expanding legal resources, and housing quality/affordability.
“My hope is that stakeholders from government agencies, non-profits, and legal representatives from across the city continue to work with the AEPP and the Alexandria Office of Community Assistance to coordinate resources and support,” Ayers added.
To review the report, visit alive-inc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/AEPP-REPORT-FINAL-102821.pdf.