Sharp imbalance by race is cited in city evictions

A disproportionate number of eviction filings in Boston involved households of color during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report published by the housing justice group City Life / Vida Urbana.

By examining Massachusetts Trial Court evictions case data, MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, researcher Ben Walker found that from Feb. 28, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021, evictions were filed at more than twice the rate in neighborhoods where a majority of renters are people of color than in neighborhoods where most renters are white.

Seven out of ten eviction filings in Boston involved properties in Census tracts where a majority of renters are people of color, though only 47 percent of the city’s rental housing is in those neighborhoods, the report found.

Tracts where a majority of renters are white hold 43 percent of Boston rental housing and involved 30 percent of eviction filings. Filing an eviction case is an early step in the process and does not always translate into a removal.

Massachusetts had a state moratorium on executing evictions in place from April to October 2020, and a US Centers for Disease Control federal moratorium remains in place through June 30 of this year.