Stout conducted a study regarding the costs and benefits to the City of Baltimore (and to the State of Maryland) if it were to provide attorneys to low-income tenants facing eviction. Stout concluded that the benefits associated with providing attorneys to low-income tenants far exceed the cost of providing attorneys.
The study found that the costs to the City of Baltimore associated with displacement and disruption arising from the eviction process are abundant and can be disastrous to low-income families already struggling to make ends meet and seeking stability. Research demonstrates that the displacement and disruption arising from the eviction process often leads to: job loss, poor performance in school for children, physical and mental health issues, increased city shelter and other emergency housing costs, increased administrative burden for courts, negative impacts on credit scores and the ability to re-rent, and the deterioration of communities when people must move away from their support systems. Research further demonstrates that the eviction process is particularly harmful for communities for women and communities of color.
Stout estimated that an investment of $5.7 million in a right to counsel for Baltimore tenants facing eviction would yield $35.6 million in benefits, or costs avoided to the city and state.
The benefits of preventing tenants from experiencing displacement or disruption arising from eviction leads to: reductions in shelter costs, hospital costs (emergency room and inpatient), mental health costs, juvenile delinquency, and the number of eviction cases. Moreover, improvements related to tenant living conditions, court efficiencies, educational outcomes, community stability, confidence in the justice system, exercising of tenants' rights, and the preservation of affordable housing stock are also realized.