Building Community Power through Eviction Diversion
“Eviction is both a symptom and cause of poverty.” – Orange County Evictions Report
As housing costs rise, wages remain stagnant, inflation increases, and rental protections expire, eviction filings are growing. For individuals and families living paycheck to paycheck, one unforeseen expense, such as a medical emergency, can put them at risk of losing their homes. Once evicted, a vicious cycle starts as it is harder to find a place to rent with a prior eviction. This leads to unstable housing, mental and physical healthy issues, and job insecurity.
We don’t focus on individual inequities at the St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund (Fund), Providence’s grantmaking foundation. Instead, we disrupt and challenge harmful, discriminatory practices through community power building. We also believe in community leadership and mobilizing people to join and improve neighborhood conditions. To that end, we are honored to support and collaborate with Orange County United Way (United Way) and the Orange County Eviction Diversion Collaborative (OCEDC) to launch “Orange County Evictions – A landscape analysis of rent-based evictions and housing instability,” a baseline report on the state of evictions in the OC region.
Impact of Evictions and Benefit of Eviction Diversions
The report raises awareness of the impact of evictions, shares key findings about the inequities of eviction rates, and provides necessary, actionable recommendations for Orange County eviction diversion programs. While the report’s focus is Orange County, research included nationwide collaborative programs like rental assistance, legal aid, and additional support services that work collaboratively to prevent evictions. We have much to learn from other communities’ successes, with great potential to implement eviction diversion programs that may impact whole communities by:
- reducing homelessness and housing instability;
- strengthening service coordination among community partners; and
- ensuring landlords remain compensated.
This is not an exhaustive list of eviction diversion benefits. Orange County residents need equitable, safe, and stable housing support. This only happens with concentrated, strategic efforts to change policy. Building community power through eviction diversion is a long-term investment, requiring dedicated time for healing, trust-building, and patient leaders knowledgeable at navigating complex and bureaucratic systems.
We encourage you to download the report and read the comprehensive findings. The Fund, United Way, and OCEDC hope that research, interviews, literature review, and provider survey used to build the report inspire other changemakers to action. Together, we are dedicated to moving toward a transformative journey for sustained community social, economic, and political action.