Public housing, the last refuge for the poor, threatens to kick out tenants for small debts

January 11, 2021

Public housing is supposed to be a solution to homelessness, not a cause of it.

But in Crisfield, a city of 2,600 on the Chesapeake Bay, the housing authority is one of the leading eviction filers. It takes so many tenants to court that officials hired a contractor to automate the process.

The agency owns just 330 units yet filed 718 times in 2019, all over late rent. In nearly 30% of those cases, records show, tenants owed less than $100.

What’s happening here isn’t an anomaly.

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