A Federal Court judge has ruled against landlords who fought an eviction ban in Philadelphia. The landlords maintained that the ban was unconstituional because it conferred a benefit only to tenants at risk of eviction. The judge found that the eviction ban benefited the community as a whole. This post is about the evidence that convinced the judge, a study that modelled the spread of COVID with and without evictions.
The study, completed by a team of 15 researchers, includes several simulations. The first one modelled the transmission of the virus in a hypothetical city of 1 million people, comparing what happened when evictions were allowed and when they were banned. The researchers then added elements including
- varying the severity of the lockdown restrictions,
- adding socio-economic diversity within the community, and
- assigning different eviction outcomes (doubling up with friends/family or moving to an emergency shelter).
The effect of the CDC’s national eviction ban was also considered. The final step was modelling the effects in a specific city — Philadelphia.
Here are a few of the findings:
- Eviction bans reduced the spread of infection and reduced the total number of people infected.
- Bans limited the spread of the virus for all households, not just those directly affected by the ban.
- Reimposing the eviction ban limited the spread of the infection.
- People directly affected by eviction were more likely to experience infection, even when an eviction ban was re-imposed.
The study supports the community-wide effectiveness of an eviction ban in a pandemic, regardless of the results of a court case. It should be of interest to emergency planning teams and decision makers in communities across the U.S. as well as in other countries.
The study results also points to a need for programs to counteract the economic impacts of COVID, and to assist households to avoid evictions going forward. Lifting the eviction ban, without helping tenants in arrears, will prolong the epidemic and increase the total number of deaths, based on the modelling in this study.
Researchers will be interested in the methodology, which includes the use of data generated as COVID unfolded across the U.S. Many of the resources cited in developing the model have been produced within the last 15 months.
Finally, the article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, and does not require a subscription in order to access it. Read more at Nature Communications: The Effect Of Eviction Moratoria On The Transmission Of SARS-CoV-2