New IUPUI research shows disproportionate impact of evictions on Black and Hispanic tenants

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FILE IMAGE (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

INDIANAPOLIS — In a new research brief, a team at IUPUI analyzed a decade of court data and found the majority of Marion County evictions filed in predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods.

IUPUI’s Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy, or CRISP, released the brief Monday. It collected data from the county’s nine small claims courts as part of a partnership with the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana.

“We are consistently very high with evictions even compared with the rest of the country,” research coordinator Kelsie Stringham-Marquis said.

Data highlighted in the brief showed as many as 3,000 eviction filings per month. The COVID-19 pandemic nearly halted those filings entirely in 2020, but they have continued to rise since the state’s eviction moratorium ended in August.

“They’re disproportionately impacting Black and brown communities in Marion County and I think that that is cause for alarm,” Stringham-Marquis said.

Source: Indiana University Public Policy Institute CRISP, Issue 21-C02, February 2021

“This is a direct correlation to the crime and to the disparities across the board,” The Ross Foundation founder, Dee Ross, said.

Ross, whose foundation runs programs to educate and advocate for Indianapolis tenants, sees the reality on the ground. He and Stringham-Marquis both said they believe evictions loom even larger than this latest research captured.

“It’s time to restore hope back into these hopeless communities and stand up for them, teach them how to stand up for themselves,” Ross said.

Researchers found significant gaps in some court data, similar to the difficulties encountered around foreclosures after the 2008 financial crisis.

“I think we’re facing a similar situation now with an evictions crisis and how the quality of the data is really undermining our ability to let policymakers know and let decisionmakers know what actually is happening,” Stringham-Marquis said.

Housing has been a hot topic at this year’s session of the Indiana legislature, where lawmakers voted last week to override Governor Eric Holcomb’s veto of a bill that amended the state’s landlord-tenant law.

Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana Executive Director Amy Nelson hoped this latest research would reach both legislators and the general public.

“It’s getting more people engaged, speaking out about housing, talking to their legislators, talking to their local communities and we need more of that,” Nelson said.

You can download and read the full brief below.

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