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Public Housing Has Surprisingly High Eviction Rates

Public housing has surprisingly high eviction rates

MassLive analyzed a recent report by Eviction Lab, a group that analyzes eviction and housing issues nationwide.

Many think that once a household gets into public housing, they can stay there for life. That’s not true, as if the household income increases, it may become ineligible for the apartment.

Many also think that there’s no way to evict a family from public housing. Equally untrue, and while public and private landlords have roughly the same eviction rates overall, public housing has a higher rate of repeated eviction filings (not necessarily resulting in actual eviction) against the same household at the same address.

Most of the eviction filings result from non-payment of rent, rather than lease infractions. Public housing rent (which includes heat and water) is capped at 30% of the household’s income and the Eviction Lab article states that the average household income nationally for a family (it doesn’t say the size of the family) in public housing is $16,398. Thirty percent of that is $4,914 a year or $410 per month.

The report states that housing agencies that operate public housing are evaluated on their rent collection, which leads to higher eviction rates.

In Massachusetts, according to the report, 35% of public housing residents who received eviction notices received them repeatedly as opposed to 25% of private landlords. Malden and Lowell had the highest repeat eviction rates in the state with Springfield, Lawrence, Worcester and Boston filing repeat eviction notices at rates below the state’s average.


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