The looming threat of evictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic puts 30-40 million Americans at risk of homelessness.
Due to the gender wage gap, women are among the most vulnerable to eviction, as they consistently earn less than their male counterparts. Additionally, Black women and women of color are at a greater risk of eviction, while also making less than their white counterparts.
For many, eviction and domestic violence go hand in hand. Women like Sarah’s Circle client, Elizabeth, have faced eviction due to domestic disturbances enacted by a former spouse or partner. Elizabeth’s abuser appeared at her home repeatedly, harassing and threatening her and her neighbors, which resulted in her homelessness.
“My ex-husband started stalking me, so I moved to Chicago. I found an apartment, but his stalking got so bad that I couldn’t keep my home, was evicted, and became homeless.” – Elizabeth, Sarah’s Circle client
As Elizabeth quickly learned, once evicted, it can prove highly difficult to rebound and find adequate housing, and also maintain one’s health. Not only can an eviction notice follow a tenant, but according to Shelter Force, housing instability and homelessness lead to higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, suicide, and higher utilization of emergency room services.
Evictions can stay on your record and if unpaid rent is sent to collections, it can affect your credit score, making finding housing increasingly more difficult.
The state of the United States points to sweeping evictions, as many households will face backlogs of unpaid rent. Almost 40% of American adults can’t afford a $400 emergency, let alone making up months of rent as we emerge from a crippling pandemic.
Thank you for your concern and compassion for women facing homelessness. Your support is more important than ever.