According to new research from the Poverty Solutions team at the University of Michigan, and Legal Services of South Central Michigan, one in six rental units were filed for eviction in Michigan prior to the pandemic.
Housing attorney Jim Schaafsma leads policy recommendations for the universities team, and says too many families are housing cost burdened, meaning they are paying more than 30% of their income towards housing.
“Too many are also what’s called severely housing cost burdened meaning that they pay more than fifty percent of their income towards their housing costs, and that simply makes them very vulnerable to eviction,” said Housing Attorney at the Michigan Property Law Program, Jim Schaafsma.
Both Ingham, and Jackson County fall in the top ten counties in the state for rental evictions.
Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Michigan Robert Goodspeed says, they learned that the majority of eviction cases are about only a months rent, and during this pandemic temporary funding may help keep a roof over their heads.
“We think a lot of these households are economically struggling, but maybe with some flexibility, and some advocacy they can stay housed,” said Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, Robert Goodspeed.
The city of Jackson is currently making plans to use more than $120,000 in federal funding to help prevent evictions. Schaafsma hopes this research opens the eyes of policy makers to also make housing assistance more attainable.
“Fewer than a quarter of families who are eligible for rental assistance get it so there is a significant under supply of rental assistance,” said Schaafsma.
Experts also say there are other option to help, including jobs that pay more, and housing that costs less.