In recent years, there has been a growing conversation about what communities in the United States can do and are currently doing about the pervasive, persistent problem of evictions and the seemingly permanent impact being evicted has on residents. In no small part, the impetus for this reflection on evictions and poverty has been Matthew Desmond’s heartwrenching, Pulitzer-winning work Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, which placed the human toll wrought by eviction into the national spotlight.
The problem of evictions is so widespread that no city is inoculated against it. According to recent research commissioned by our office, the prevalence of evictions in Lexington suggests the housing climate in the city is no exception to the financial devastation that has been observed in other communities. To that point, the Lexington Fair Housing Council is pleased to announce its latest report, Locked Out: Foreclosure, Eviction, and Housing Instability in Lexington, 2005-2016, which examines where displacement is happening throughout Lexington and who in the local housing industry appear to be playing the most active roles in housing turnover. Combined with our complementary report that was released earlier this year, Mapping a Segregated City: The Growth of Racially/Ethnically Concentrated Poverty & Affluence, we think both of these reports create a portrait of how housing insecurity & inequality affects different Lexington communities – namely Black and Latino communities – as well as what steps can be taken by city leaders to start to address these injustices.
Through this report, and beginning to understanding where and, perhaps more importantly, who is affected by eviction and who is benefiting from the eviction process, it is our hope that the city of Lexington can begin to reconsider the legal processes that facilitate the displacement of so many of our community neighbors.