Eviction Filings, Unemployment, and the Impact of COVID-19
Dec 2020

As LCBH was planning the release of new eviction data, we were hit with the COVID-19 pandemic and put the project on hold. COVID-19 led to a massive spike in unemployment, the passage of the CARES Act, and the closing of the courts. The country soon realized the pandemic would not be short-lived and many questions and concerns about renters, evictions and homelessness started to be raised. Realizing that our data might be able to speak to these concerns, LCBH joined with one of our data partners – Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL) – to study the relationship between unemployment rates and eviction filings as a way to further understand trends in eviction filings, and also to provide insight into how COVID-19 may impact evictions in Chicago.

This report, released in tandem with eviction data from 2018 and 2019, uses statistical modeling of the historical relationship between unemployment and eviction filings to estimate evictions that might have otherwise been filed during the Illinois eviction moratorium. It also addresses current concerns about a potential wave of eviction filings due to COVID-19.


While LCBH will continue to advocate for a Right to Counsel, Just/Good Cause for Eviction, and more resources for affordable housing, with the urgent needs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we limit our recommendations to immediate relief concerns.

Increase Rental Assistance. More financial assistance from the federal government is needed. Additional COVID-19 relief funding should be approved specifically targeted towards keeping people housed.

Extend the Eviction Moratorium. Renters who have lost their jobs shouldn't have to fear losing their homes in the middle of this pandemic. A federal eviction moratorium coupled with rental assistance would be the preferred route.

Seal COVID-19 Related Evictions. Having an eviction filing on your record can be a serious obstacle to finding housing. Many landlords purchase reports from tenant screening companies, which collect information from eviction courts and aggregate it with other publicly available data about tenants. Their recommendations are often based solely on the existence of an eviction filing, regardless of context or outcome. Renters who are evicted due to COVID-19 should not be limited in their future housing options.