2-1-1 rent requests rise with Milwaukee eviction filings

July 6, 2020

Eviction filings fell to near zero in Milwaukee during its temporary eviction ban in the early months of COVID-19. However, as the ban grew closer to expiring, rent assistance requests to 2-1-1 more than tripled. Eviction filings rose in a near identical pattern, lagging the 2-1-1 requests by two weeks. The findings strongly reinforce the value of 2-1-1 requests as a timely and leading indicator of community-level need. We examined 4,156 eviction filings and 4,074 requests to 2-1-1 for rent assistance in Milwaukee from the week of December 29th 2019 to June 21st 2020. We plotted these together in the chart – showing weekly values for each – before, during and after Milwaukee’s temporary eviction ban. Mouse over each line to see the weekly values. We also mapped the number of filings and requests by ZIP code. These showed considerable overlap, further suggesting a connection between 2-1-1 requests and eviction filings. Data on 2-1-1 requests came from 211 Wisconsin through its daily tracking system. Data on eviction filings came from the Eviction Lab and are at the census tract level. Eviction filings were aggregated by assigning census tracts to the ZIP codes that contained the highest percentage of total housing units for that tract.

Contributors: Rachel Garg, Balaji Golla, Irum Javed, Matthew Kreuter
References: Peter Hepburn, Renee Louis, and Matthew Desmond. Eviction Tracking System: Version 1.0. Princeton: Princeton University, 2020. www.evictionlab.org.