eviction

Adora Namigadde / WOSU

The Franklin County Recorder's Office wants to increase transparency with "rent-to-own" home deals. The effort follows WOSU’s reporting on what city officials and housing advocates call "the new form of the foreclosure crisis."

For many poor families in America, eviction is a real and ongoing threat. Sociologist Matthew Desmond estimates that 2.3 million evictions were filed in the U.S. in 2016 — a rate of four every minute.

"Eviction isn't just a condition of poverty; it's a cause of poverty," Desmond says. "Eviction is a direct cause of homelessness, but it also is a cause of residential instability, school instability [and] community instability."

Nick Evans / WOSU

Jerry Smith wanders through a home on the west side of Columbus with his hands clasped behind his back. His hat says "bailiff" in big block letters, and he’s guiding researcher Stephanie Pierce from room to room. They pass an overturned couch and old clothes strewn on the floor.

Christine Thompson is eager to leave the two bedroom apartment she rents in a shabby house on the north side of Milwaukee. There are so many things wrong with the place.

"In the bathroom I have to turn my shower on in order for the light to come on. And when I turn the shower off, the light goes off," she says.

The apartment also has mice, cockroaches, and so many bedbugs that she and her sons — ages 3 and 7 — sleep on an air mattress on the dining room floor, where's there's no carpet. She also has no oven or stove, and water leaking from the ceiling.

Adora Namigadde

Around 40 people gather in Hem and Leela Timsina’s two-bedroom apartment Wednesday afternoon.

flickr.com

A new research project is intended to help determine why Franklin County, which includes Columbus, has Ohio's busiest eviction court and such high numbers of people forced to leave their homes.