The Disparate Impact of the One Strike Eviction Policy

Written by:  Shloka Joshi

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” – Maya Angelou

Authors Wendy Kaplan and David Rossman, professors at Boston University’s Law School, recently examined the issue of juvenile delinquency and its effects on a family’s ability to obtain and maintain public housing in the United States.

In their article, published in the Duke Forum of Law and Social Change, they go into great detail about how the federal government’s One Strike Policy allows public housing authorities to evict families from their housing programs if their children commit any type of criminal act, regardless of its severity and without consideration of the child’s level of participation in that act. The authors argue that policies such as these create and foster many more problems than they seek to solve: Here, the government is hoping that such policies reduce and deter criminal activity among those utilizing public housing. In practice, the policy is allowing public housing authorities to displace families that first, should not be displaced, and second, are relying on this housing.

The proposed solutions to the problems raised by this type of policy are not only constructive, but also appear to be easily applied to impact change. They include changes at the political level, within the administrative agencies and housing authorities, as well as changes in the juvenile justice system to address the systemic problems created by this policy.


The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.


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