New Research: Subsidized Housing in Philadelphia Reduces Risk of Eviction

New research published in Housing Policy Debate examines the effect of supply-side subsidized housing programs on eviction filings. The paper, “Sheltered from Eviction? A Framework for Understanding the Relationship Between Subsidized Housing Programs and Eviction,” uses data from Philadelphia to test whether subsidized housing lowers a household’s risk of eviction. The paper finds that living in a public housing or project-based rental assistance (PBRA) homes decreases a household’s likelihood of being evicted, while the findings for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) are inconclusive.

This research employs a case study of Philadelphia to assess prevalence of eviction among households in subsidized housing. Philadelphia’s eviction trends are similar to national trends, with approximately 1 in 15 renter households receiving an eviction filing in 2016, compared to 1 in 16 renter households nationally. This research uses a dataset of Philadelphia multifamily properties with five or more units from 2009 to 2017. Using data from the National Housing Preservation Database, the researchers were able to identify which properties received a supply-side housing subsidy. The researchers also used eviction filing data from Philadelphia’s Municipal Court online portal.

The analysis first examined general trends around subsidized and non-subsidized housing filing rates. Approximately one in 20 subsidized multifamily households received an eviction filing between 2006 and 2017 compared to one in 13 unsubsidized multifamily households.

The analysis also disaggregates the eviction filing rate by type of subsidized housing, including public housing, PBRA, and LIHTC. The report finds that public housing and place-based rental assistance significantly decrease the likelihood of an eviction filing. The researchers estimate that public housing tenants are 21% to 68% less likely to experience and eviction filing and PBRA tenants are 52% to 76% less likely to experience an eviction filing. The effects of LIHTC properties on eviction filings are small and therefore inconclusive.

The research also assessed whether eviction filings were more common across different property types. Larger properties with more than 50 units were more likely to file for evictions than smaller multifamily properties. Newer buildings also had higher eviction filing rates compared to older buildings. Other factors, such as crowding, vacancy, and renter concentration in local markets did not have significant effects on eviction filings.

While this research finds that some publicly subsidized housing decreases the risk of eviction, one in 20 subsidized households in Philadelphia still receives an eviction filing annually. The authors highlight that given the prevalence of eviction among subsidized households, other policy mechanisms are necessary to prevent evictions.

The paper can be found at: