ALLEGHENY COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES HOUSING ADVOCATES COURTS HOUSING AUTHORITIES SERVICE PROVIDERS COMMUNITY GROUPS HOUSING CRISIS MEETS HUMANITY EVICTIONS NOTICED The Foundation leads a regional initiative to reduce the numbers of people forced from their homes. By Jason Vrabel W H E R E V E R R E N TA L H O U S I N G E X I S T S , S O D O E S T H E T H R E AT O F E V I C T I O N . From rent-subsidized public housing to top-market urban developments and massive suburban apartment complexes, residents are taken to court about 14,000 times each year in Allegheny County, representing a total of $23 million in unpaid rent. Who is being evicted, and by whom? What are the root causes? And what are the rippling effects on tenants, families and communities? These are key questions that The Pittsburgh Foundation has been pursuingaspartofacollaborativeefforttounderstandtheprevalence,location andimpactsofevictionsinthePittsburghregion.Specialattentionisbeing giventothosemostatriskoffallingintosustainedhomelessness,whichcan lead to a cascade of social, economic and emotional problems. The goal is tousetheresearchtoproduceareportthatwillproviderecommendations on alternatives to eviction actions. In 2016, the Foundation sponsored a public lecture by author and urbansociologistMatthewDesmondonhisgroundbreakingbook,Evicted: PovertyandProfitintheAmericanCity. Set against the national backdrop of a housing-cost crisis, Desmond’s book focuses on Milwaukee to capture the complexity of the eviction problem. That event spurred Jane Downing, the Foundation’s senior program officerforEconomicandCommunityDevelopment,toreachouttomagisterial courts,advocatesforthehomeless,affordablehousingexpertsandothersto formataskforcetocoordinateeffortsandunderstandtheeffectsofeviction. “Reducing evictions is an urgent matter that needs collaborative, community-centered approaches, with input from tenants, landlords, the courtsandotherstakeholders,”saysDowning.It’sanissuetailor-madefor action under 100 Percent Pittsburgh, she says, referring to the organizing principle that commits the Foundation to providing access to opportunity forthe30percentofresidentsshutoutoftheregion’srevitalizedeconomy. 43 RE PO RT TO TH E CO MMU N ITY THE PITTSBURGH FOUNDATION