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Cardinal Courses
Courses for credit

Policy Practicum: The Future of Eviction Prevention

Quarter-long course
Law, Policy & Justice
Policy Practicum: The Future of Eviction Prevention
Over the past 5 years, eviction prevention has become a hot topic for local policy in the US. Local coalitions of city governments, courts, and community groups have launched hundreds of pilots of laws, legal services, rent assistance, technology tools, mediation, navigators, and more in order to reduce the number of eviction lawsuits and mitigate their harmful consequences on families and communities. National groups like the American Bar Association, HUD, and the Treasury Department have issued guidance spotlighting promising interventions that could prevent evictions, reduce the number of forced moves, and improve housing stability. Five years into this work on eviction prevention, what do we know about what works? And how might policy-makers compare and assess these highly localized eviction prevention systems? This class will have students conduct interviews, workshops, and legal research to create a clearer vision of what the state of eviction prevention interventions are, and propose what the future agenda for eviction prevention should be over the next decade. In the course, students will learn how evictions happen, what the general court process is, and how this differs across jurisdictions. They will also familiarize themselves with the landscape of eviction prevention solutions that has developed, especially during the Covid pandemic and the increased federal funding for rental assistance and eviction prevention. Students will learn about local experiments launched in cities and states across the US, including new legislation (like a right to counsel in eviction hearings and just cause requirements for filing an eviction lawsuit), new court rules (like requiring mediation before a case could be filed or proceed to a hearing), new technology (like text message reminders and online dispute resolution), and new services (like case managers and housing navigators). Then students will conduct research with community members, service providers, and policymakers across the country, to learn about their local eviction prevention systems. What pilots have been launched, what has worked, and what has not? What kinds of policies, services, and technology would be the most useful to a person going through an eviction? What does the data show about the impact of different interventions on the number of cases filed, the number of forced moves, the participation rates of tenants in the court process, or other key metrics? In addition to qualitative interviews, students will also do legal and policy research to document how different jurisdictions meet established eviction prevention standards. Which jurisdictions have implemented the legislation, court rules, and due process protections that national groups have recommended? Students will create a policy map that gives a national view of local eviction prevention laws and court rules. Students will create deliverables that can help both national and local policy-makers understand the state of local eviction prevention systems. Class work will include a report that summarizes the interview findings about what eviction prevention initiatives have worked or not, and that recommends an agenda for the next decade of eviction prevention work. It will also include a policy map, in the form of a report and website, that assesses how different regions perform according to recommended standards. As the class progresses, students will determine what other class deliverables might be useful. For example, students might create training materials for local judiciary, bar, and civic leaders on eviction prevention best practices and assessments. They may also propose an ongoing eviction prevention assessment protocol, that national and local leaders could use to regularly measure how robust their local eviction prevention efforts are, how they are performing, and where improvements may be needed. During the class, students will be required to complete a 2 hour online CITI program on ethical human subjects research. They will then follow an IRB-approved protocol to conduct interviews with community members and experts about eviction prevention efforts. The class will be a two quarter sequence. Students will gain expertise and leadership in housing policy, court innovation, and access to justice initiatives. They will have the opportunity to present their deliverables to national and local leaders, and to build lasting relationships in the field. Elements used in grading: Attendance, performance, class participation, written assignments. CONSENT APPLICATION: To apply for this course, students must submit a Consent Application Form at SLS Registrar See the Consent Application Form for instructions and the submission deadline.


Winter, Spring



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Cardinal Service Notation
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