Breaking the Cycle of Eviction: Booker and Pulitzer author to speak at Drew, Oct. 12

Sen. Cory Booker addresses supporters of Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, Jan. 23, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Sen. Cory Booker. Photo by Kevin Coughlin


From Monarch Housing Associates:

October 12 Public Policy Forum with Matthew Desmond and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (NJ-D) Moderated by Paula Franzese

On Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, a Public Policy Forum with Princeton sociologist Dr. Matthew Desmond, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Evicted, and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (NJ-D) will take place at the Concert Hall of Drew University in Madison, from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Dr. Desmond will share his research, and along with Sen. Booker, participate in a moderated discussion around possible solutions to the eviction crisis.

The conversation between Dr. Desmond and U.S. Senator Booker will be moderated by leading educator and housing advocate Prof. Paula Franzese, Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law School. Their discussion will be followed by responses to audience questions.

In his work, Dr. Desmond explains the wide and devastating impact of eviction.

“The consequences of eviction are so much greater than I was fully aware of when I started the work. Families not only lose their homes,” said Mathew Desmond.

“Kids lose their schools. They also lose their things, which are piled on the sidewalk. It’s a lot of time and money to establish a home, and eviction erases all that. It comes with a record, which affects your chances of moving into stable housing because a lot of landlords will turn you away.”

In the year ending on June 30, 2016, New Jersey saw 161,000 evictions. This eviction rate tells us that one in every six tenants in New Jersey experienced an eviction, and it reflects the eviction crisis that Matthew Desmond identified in his research and Professor Franzese chronicled in her empirical study of eviction proceedings in Newark.

“Without a secure place to call home, dreams are shattered and hearts broken,” said Professor Franzese. “This Forum presents a profoundly important opportunity to confront the harsh inequities of housing opportunity in America, so that those injustices can be righted.”

NJCounts 2017, coordinated by Monarch Housing Associates, reported that 14 percent of homeless households during the point in time count said that eviction caused their homelessness.

“The eviction crisis in NJ has a significant impact on families who can barely afford rising rents,” said Richard W. Brown, CEO, Monarch Housing Associates.

“Unfortunately, many families become homeless as a result of an eviction. NJCounts 2017 listed eviction as the second most common reason for becoming homeless. We hope this forum will help to clarify the issues and prioritize solutions that strengthen our communities. Going forward, Monarch Housing looks to hosting future issue and solution focused.”

Dr. Desmond points to the importance of bringing housing assistance to scale.

“The good news is we have programs that work; the good news is that when families do benefit from housing assistance their lives get markedly better – they live in way better neighborhoods, their kids get stronger and healthier, they are more stable,” says Desmond.

“The problem is we’re doing it too small. It’s not in the design, it’s in the dosage. We can spend smarter or we can spend stupid and this is an issue that touches other areas. Without stable shelter everything else does fall apart. The problem is that assistance is a lottery that a lucky minority of poor families benefit from. We don’t need to outsmart this problem, we need to out-will it.”

The Public Policy Forum will conclude with a second panel discusssion about solutions addressing the eviction crisis.

Sponsoring the forum are Monarch Housing Associates, NJ Policy Perspective, the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ, the Anti-Poverty Network of NJ, the Supportive Housing Association of NJ, Bridges Outreach, the Mental Health Association in NJ, the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris, Homeless Solutions and the Drew University Center for Civic Engagement.

The Public Policy Forum is underwritten by a grant from the Investors Foundation.

Registration prior to the event is required and the cost for the forum is $10 per person. Only 400 seats are available at this timely and important Public Policy Forum. Registration for the Public Policy Forum is available here.

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  1. My understanding is that the eviction process is fairly long and requires the approval of a judge. I’m guessing that the majority of these evictions is due to non-payment of rent. It’s interesting that the article doesn’t discuss the costs of eviction occurred by the landlord. If you can’t afford the rent, maybe you shouldn’t be living in that particular house and look for something more affordable.