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Eviction -- Oregon -- Economic aspects, Housing -- Law and legislation -- Oregon, Eviction -- Oregon -- Statistics


Earlier this year, PSU’s Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative used a calculator developed by the University of Arizona and estimates of how many renter households are at risk of eviction to evaluate the downstream community costs of evictions in Oregon during the pandemic. In light of the state eviction moratorium that is set to expire this month and the CDC moratorium that expires at the end of July, the center is once again looking at the number of households at risk of eviction and the downstream costs.

The data gathered from emergency shelters, inpatient and emergency medical services, child welfare, and juvenile justice services remain the same. Wherever data were not readily available or did not appear to be tracked in Oregon, the center used national averages.

The center did use a different metric to estimate those at risk of evictions. In the original study, the center calculated the downstream costs if rent arrears, or past due rent, would become due immediately, using an analysis of figures from the Census Household Pulse survey of social and economic impacts of the coronavirus. This time, given the expiration of the state eviction moratorium for renters, we analyzed system costs for renters who had little to no confidence in paying next month’s rent. This estimate, therefore, cannot be compared with the previous one.

Approximately 59,400 Oregon households have no confidence in their ability to pay next month’s rent, according to the center’s analysis of the latest Census Household Pulse survey of social and economic impacts of the coronavirus. An additional 66,000 have slight confidence in their ability to pay rent for a total of 125,400 households at risk of eviction. We used our analysis to develop high and low estimates of the systemwide costs of displacement at this scale. It is unclear how many of these households will receive rent assistance in time to avoid eviction or how many will apply for assistance in time to qualify for the 60-day extension granted by the Oregon State Legislature to households awaiting assistance.

Previous studies show that Black, Indigenous, and Other People of Color in Oregon face a higher risk of eviction. The Oregon Renters Survey conducted by Dr. Lisa K. Bates showed that BIPOC renters were disproportionately at risk of eviction during the pandemic.

To calculate the statewide cost of these evictions moving forward, the center again used the Cost of Eviction Calculator developed by the Innovation for Justice program at University of Arizona College of Law. The calculator was created to show the aggregate community costs of eviction and promote systemic shifts toward eviction prevention. It allows users to input local data, use national figures, or refer to localized data from other jurisdictions. The calculator was built in Neota Logic, 2 and draws from Neil Steinkamp’s work analyzing the costs and benefits of providing a right to counsel in evictions. Using these sources — the estimates of households at risk of eviction (59,400 to 125,400 households), the calculator, and statewide health, shelter, child welfare, and juvenile justice data — the center estimates that Oregon might be forced to spend between $720 million and $4.7 billion to respond to displacement of this magnitude in the short term if additional eviction supports are not adopted (Pages 3–5).

The estimate does not include how many people received or will receive rent support. Neither does it capture the downstream eviction costs from lost income, increase in public assistance, gaps in education, or the long-term impact to health, education, and earnings. It does not include the costs of building new shelters and creating new emergency support as a result of exceeding current system capacity. And it does not include costs associated with possible increased COVID transmission due to evictions. Several studies have linked higher rates of evictions to higher rates of transmission and deaths and a recent study shows that neighborhoods with the highest eviction filings have the lowest rates of COVID vaccination, which means residents will be more likely to contract and spread COVID. Considering these factors, the $720 million to $4.7 billion calculation is likely an underestimate.


© 2021 Portland State University Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative


A product of the Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative at Portland State University. An earlier version of this research is available:

Cost of Oregon Evictions Report (February, 2021)

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