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These Charlotte ZIP codes saw high evictions, despite federal moratorium

A review of nearly 700 cases found evictions in the pandemic most often occurred in Mecklenburg County ZIP codes with higher Black populations and poverty rates.

Lauren Lindstrom, The Charlotte Observer

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While a federal moratorium significantly curbed evictions in Mecklenburg County, those that did occur did so most frequently in some of the county’s most vulnerable areas.

A Charlotte Journalism Collaborative examination of nearly 700 eviction cases from October 2020 to March 2021 found evictions during the pandemic most often occurred in ZIP codes with higher rates of poverty, higher Black populations and less housing investment than the county, overall.

The review of writs of possession, issued by a judge after a tenant loses in court and is ordered out, provides a six-month snapshot of eviction activity during the moratorium. The records offer insight into who was not protected by the federal order and still lost their homes.

Evictions in Mecklenburg County slowed significantly during the pandemic, records show. The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office received less than half the number of removal orders in 2020 as it did in 2019. And 2021 also has seen far fewer than pre-pandemic norms.

But when they did occur, three ZIP codes in north, east and west Charlotte stand out: 28262, 28212 and 28216, where evictions occurred three times as often as the county average.

The geographic concentrations of evictions mirror the situations Floyd Davis sees with clients who come to Community Link, which finds housing for people who are homeless and works with others to become homeowners.

“If Tryon Street has a runny nose, east Charlotte and west Charlotte have pneumonia,” said Davis, the organization’s CEO.

“What the pandemic has really done, it’s elevated the situation, especially with the ‘have nots’ and the people that are on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. They’ve been hit the hardest by this, and that demographic reflects that.”

To better understand who got evicted despite the pandemic, CJC members requested to review physical copies of writs of possession that occurred after the federal moratorium took effect in September 2020.

Because of records retention policies at the Mecklenburg courthouse, the oldest complete month of writs available were from October 2020, and journalists reviewed a six-month period going forward to March 2021.

The nearly 700 cases represent the available records provided to the journalism collaborative for review.