New RVA Eviction Lab Research Connects Forced Moves and Educational Opportunity
Richmond faces an eviction rate of approximately 11%, which has remained steady over the past 16 years. However, evictions are unevenly dispersed, with some neighborhoods facing significantly higher rates. In Richmond, these neighborhoods are concentrated in the Southside and Northside. While evictions touch individual households, schools are increasingly the front line of evictions, impacting educational and behavioral outcomes for both mobile students and those who are in schools facing high rates of mobility.
Through the RVA Eviction Lab, we examined neighborhood eviction rates of elementary schools in the City of Richmond, Norfolk, Petersburg and Hopewell—revealing dramatic disparities. In Richmond, four schools were in neighborhoods with eviction rates higher than 20%, while two were in neighborhoods with rates below 5%. We found that majority white school districts face significantly lower rates of eviction than those with African American or Latino majorities. More importantly, those schools also face higher rates of chronic absenteeism and mobility.
Understanding these rates at the school level creates the opportunity to intervene before students are evicted. Just as importantly, schools may be the site from which community-based organizations, government agencies and educators can help students who have been evicted to stabilize, access services and prevent future housing instability.
***Guest blog and map by Kathryn Howell, PhD, Assistant Professor, Urban/Regional Studies & Planning, Virginia Commonwealth University***
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