Talk Justice, an LSC Podcast: Causes and Consequences of Eviction

Carl Rauscher         
Director of Communications and Media Relations 


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WASHINGTON– Experts discuss a new report on the causes and consequences of eviction in Montana, as well as the impact of eviction on children on the latest episode of LSC's “Talk Justice” podcast, released today. LSC President Ron Flagg hosts the conversation with guests Bill Hooks, director of advocacy at Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA), Daniel Webster, housing attorney at MLSA, and Ransom Wydner, vice president of Pro Bono and Social Impact at SixFifty and a member of LSC’s Emerging Leaders Council.  


MLSA recently released the “Montana Eviction Impact Report: Beyond Housing Affordability”which surveyed evicted Montanans on the socioeconomic factors that led to their eviction and the impacts that it had on their household after the fact. The information presented in the report was collected between March 2020 and September 2022. 


Hooks says that when the pandemic started and it was clear a wave of evictions was coming, MLSA didn’t have access to court records that would give them the type of data that they wanted to access about evictions in their state. 


We wanted to improve our strategic thinking in terms of how we can distribute resources and how we can develop policies and practices to better meet the needs of people who are dealing with eviction,” says Hooks. “And without a report that could access that information and provide it to us, we felt like we were kind of operating in the dark. 


Webster says that a lot of Montana’s challenges are related to having rural, small communities. In a small town, options are limited and word gets around easily. After being evicted, a family can struggle to find another rental that isn’t owned by the same landlord who just removed them or someone who knows them.  


Additionally, economic struggles that were worsened by pandemic hardships put people in impossible situations, Webster explains.  


“Sometimes they're [deciding] ‘well, do I spend this money and try to pay off some of the rent and maybe the landlord will let me stay, or do I spend this money on a new rental unit?’ They're just, faced with impossible choices before, during and after [eviction]—having to choose between spending on necessities [like] housing and transportation for a job, housing and the surgery they might need,” Webster says. “Before and after, they're just faced with difficulty and impossible choices. 


Wydner recently published an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune about his experiences with his family facing eviction several times in his childhood and pointed to the need for a compassionate solution to this ongoing issue. He says that the largest group of people impacted by eviction in the U.S. is children under five.  


“I think a person might look at someone like my dad and not have a lot of sympathy when their harebrained schemes go badly and they get evicted,” says Wydner. “But, you know, there are four kids in that house who didn't make any of those choices, and now those four kids were homeless.”  


Talk Justice episodes are available online and on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple and other popular podcast apps. The podcast is sponsored by LSC’s Leaders Council.  


Future episodes of the podcast will feature a conversation with founding CEO of Frontline Justice, Nikole Nelson, and a panel recorded live from the Innovations in Technology Conference.  

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974. For 50 years, LSC has provided financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 131 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.