New America Weekly: Displaced in America

Andrii Yalanskyi /

The Future of Property Rights program took over the July 23, 2020 edition of the New America Weekly, our organization's online magazine. Below is an updated version of the "takeover," which includes articles on housing insecurity and loss, written by the program and our research partners.

A Note on This Week's Edition

Every year, more than 5 million Americans lose their homes through evictions and foreclosures. These forced displacements are intensely traumatic—financially, physically, and emotionally. Children have to switch schools, parents lose their jobs, families’ possessions end up on the sidewalk, and suicide rates spike.

Yet, even as our nation braces for a flood of housing loss as a result of COVID-19, we know very little about these life-changing events. Where is forced displacement most acute? Who is most at risk? And why does housing loss occur?

Over the past year, New America’s Future of Property Rights Program and its research partners have embarked on an ambitious project to visualize the scale and breadth of housing instability and displacement across the United States, and to tell the stories of communities impacted by these losses. Our forthcoming Displaced in America report, to be released September 9, will reveal our findings. In the meantime, we’re pleased to share some preliminary observations and insights from our case study locations in Phoenix, Indianapolis, and Winston-Salem.

If you’re interested in following more of our work, click here to sign up for our monthly newsletter or find us on Twitter.

Yuliya Panfil, Future of Property Rights Program Director

Street with trash

Bracing for the Housing Loss Tsunami

Decreased eviction and foreclosure filings don't tell the full story, write Yuliya Panfil and Tim Robustelli: According to surveys, more than a quarter of Americans are housing insecure.

Jonathan Weiss /

Pandemic Homelessness Could Leave Millions Unable to Access Public Benefits

Government benefits systems were built for those with a stable mailing address—something millions of eligible Americans lack access to, write Chenab Navalkha, Cassandra Robertson, and Nikki Zeichner.

Mr Doomits /

Eviction Court Diaries

Ever seen the bowels of an eviction court? It's not pretty. New America Local researcher Abbey Chambers spent a day in an Indianapolis small claims court, where tenants battle eviction while lawyers do landlords’ bidding.

Super8 /

Tenants with legal representation are far more likely to avoid eviction—but, observes Jack Portman, that’s easier said than done in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Leigh Trail /

Grad Students Face Enough Stress. We Shouldn’t Have to Worry About Housing, Too.

What's it like being a rent-burdened graduate student? In a word: stressful. Alexandria Drake shares her experiences of grad school life in Arizona—and how we can better support students facing housing insecurity.

Peek Creative Collective /

Why Building More Affordable Housing Isn’t Enough to Alleviate Housing Insecurity

Housing instability is only a symptom of deeply-rooted systemic inequities, argue Alex Cattermole and Katie Oran—one that won’t be erased simply by expanding affordable housing.