Date of this Version



Dennis Culhane


eviction, housing policy, urban studies


Eviction crises nation-wide have led to housing instability amongst the impoverished and to increased rates of depression, substance abuse, and unemployment. However, eviction prevention has only recently been prioritized by municipal governments and there is a dearth of research on the subject by social scientists and legal scholars. To understand the approaches of urban cities to the issue of evictions, I have conducted a comparative analysis of the eviction prevention policies of New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. I first researched the prevalence and consequences of evictions in the United States. I then analyzed the specific websites of municipal offices relating to eviction or homelessness to see what services are available for low-income tenants seeking eviction prevention resources in each city. The three main similarities found were universal legal representation for tenants, the administration of emergency rental assistance, and the number of programs administered in each city. The three key differences found were the level of collaboration between municipal government and community organizations, the implementation approaches for universal legal representation, and how accessible the services are online. It is difficult to conclude if one city’s policies are more effective as all three cities show great promise yet have flaws. There is insufficient literature proving the efficacy of eviction prevention policies in each city. However, all three cities seem to have comprehensive approaches, addressing most legal and financial aspects of the eviction process. More research must be done, especially controlled studies, to determine if these programs constitute best practices.



Date Posted: 03 May 2020


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