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Between 2000 and 2015 there were over 40,439 evictions in Dane County. In 2014 and again in 2015 persons being evicted in Dane County owed a total of over 2.6 million dollars in rent each year.
And yet, while the need is enormous, every single dollar could be put to good use. This is a closer fight than you might think:
- 29% of those evicted in Dane County in 2015 owed less than 1 month’s rent.* These families are the ones who had a car break down, who had to use rent for the auto repair, so that they could keep going to their jobs, so that they could pay their rent in the future. These are the ones living right on the brink, paycheck to paycheck, but can be stable with just a little bit of help. These are the families where stabilizing them in the eviction process means thousands of dollars unspent later, when they would need intensive support services to get back into stable housing.
- Subsidized housing providers are among the top eviction plaintiffs in Dane County. Landlords, given subsidies by HUD, are among the landlords most likely to evict tenants in Dane County. These are the landlords who have an ethical mandate to keep low-income tenants in housing (and are paid to do so!), and yet, evict for tiny amounts of money. Here, $200 might be 4 months rent, and is an impossibly easy to keep someone stable once they are caught up on rent.
Right now, the Tenant Resource Center can match every single dollar you donate. When you donate, every penny we receive will go straight to tenants on the brink of homelessness. And every single donation is doubled, by a grant from the City of Madison.
With every matched donation, we go straight to eviction hearings at Small Claims Court, and we give that money to tenants who could otherwise be stable in their housing, but for the amount they owe on rent. We leverage our funds so that landlords give them a second chance; so that tenants can pay what they are able on what they owe.
There are so many reasons to join us in our fight against homelessness:
- The Wisconsin State Legislature has made evictions easier for landlords by changing the laws 5 times since December 2011.
- These evictions, while they look like they’re about money, are often very racially charged. We see white tenants getting more second chances to pay what they owe than Black/Latino tenants. We see Black tenants having fewer personal resources because of centuries of institutionalized racism and slavery. There is so much more here, and these dollars make it so these families can pass on stability to their children. This is a place to make a stand against the racial inequalities in Dane County.
- Eviction does more than just force someone out of their home. It makes stable housing inaccessible, for a long time. As Michael Desmond, author of “Evicted,” said, “[Eviction] has an enormous effect on families and communities... We know that families relocate to worse neighborhoods and to worse housing after their eviction, often because eviction has a record and landlords refuse to rent to you… You add that all up and you have to conclude that eviction is a cause, not a condition of poverty, that’s leaving a really deep and jagged scar on the next generation.”
Please donate now! Your matched donation will go directly to people on the edge of homelessness, and will have a profound impact on their lives.
* Of the 2,137 eviction cases from 2015, for which we have data, over 29% of those cases reportedly owed less than $912, which is the median gross rent for Dane County, according to census information.