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Moratorium on Evictions During COVID-19 Protects Vulnerable Children

June 16, 2020

Children who experience housing eviction are more likely to 1) live in families earning low incomes, 2) belong to communities of color, and 3) have special education needs than children who do not experience eviction, according to new research from the Center for Child and Family Policy at the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy. In addition, these children are more likely to experience household job loss and economic consequences from COVID-19.

As government officials halted housing evictions in North Carolina as a response to the COVID-19 crisis, researchers analyzed administrative data on evictions from the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts and on public school children in Durham, N.C. (2015-2017) to identify characteristics of children who experience eviction.

“Our analysis shows that an additional benefit of the moratorium on evictions is protection of children who are already at risk for negative education, health and family economic outcomes,” said Anna Gassman-Pines, WLF Bass Connections Associate Professor of Public Policy & Psychology and Neuroscience at the Sanford School of Public Policy. “However, once moratoriums across the U.S. expire, additional housing policies are needed to continue support of these vulnerable children and families in the months and years ahead.”

In a new policy brief released on Friday, June 12, the researchers point to several strategies that could be implemented to help protect vulnerable children (and in some cases, landlords). Among them include:

  • State provides emergency rental assistance to tenants, helping tenants stay up to date on payments while protecting landlords from financial consequences of the evictions moratorium.
  • State provides relief for renters and landlords by granting tenants 10 years to repay overdue rents directly to the state.
  • State extends evictions moratorium, which would protect renters for two months after the emergency order has been lifted.

This research was supported by the Duke University Offices of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and the Vice President for Durham Affairs.

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CITATION: “The Added Benefit of North Carolina’s Evictions Moratorium: Protecting Vulnerable Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Sarah W. Dickerson, Anna Gassman-Pines, Elizabeth J. Gifford, Marcos A. Rangel. Center for Child and Family Policy, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, June 10, 2020. https://childandfamilypolicy.duke.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Housing-Policy-Brief_CCFP_June-2020_final.pdf.