Premieres Tuesday July 26, 2022 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV / Thursday July 28 at 10 p.m. on KPBS 2 / On demand with PBS Video App
When the coronavirus pandemic crippled the economy, tens of millions of Americans were at risk of being evicted from their homes, prompting an unprecedented temporary federal ban on evictions and a massive tax relief program. rents.
FRONTLINE and Retro Report present “Facing Eviction,” an intimate look at the experience of people across the country living through this precarious time – from tenants and landlords to lawyers and judges, as well as law enforcement officers who carry out evictions.
For more than a year, producer and writer Bonnie Bertram led a team of reporters and field producers as they reported on evictions across the country and found that the effectiveness of housing protections in the event of pandemic ultimately depended on how national and local authorities enforced it.
“A big part of a renter’s experience during the pandemic was entirely dependent on the zip code they lived in,” says Emily Benfer, who has tracked policy developments for Princeton University’s eviction lab.
Preview of FRONTLINE “Dealing with an eviction”
The documentary captures the harrowing experience of losing your home in real time. Viewers meet:
- Alexys Hatcher, single mother of a five-year-old daughter who lost her income and no longer has rent after the store she ran closed during the pandemic
- June Robinson, mother of an 11-year-old child whom the landlord considered a squatter
- Teresa Trabucco, whose financial situation changed dramatically when her son could no longer attend school in person, and the restaurant she worked at became take-out only
From New Jersey to Texas to California, “Facing Eviction” paints a portrait of the financial, legal and emotional turmoil evictions have on renters – many of whom are disproportionately people of color, women and have young children living with them.
“Facing Eviction” also examines those on the other side of the eviction equation — particularly smallholders, who own nearly half of affordable housing in the United States. her tenants by paying rent, she was forced to dip into her retirement savings to pay the taxes she owed.
The film also shows the role of the justice system in navigating pandemic eviction policies.
Related: What Happened To Poverty In America In 2021
“I have to visit moral obligation a lot more because legal obligation is black and white…. It ignores gray areas. You know, and that’s why I listen to both sides, because once you do that, that gray area is going to be exposed…. You know, the stakes are high,” Texas judge KaTina Whitfield tells FRONTLINE and Retro Report.
With federal and state eviction bans expiring and the final installment of government rent assistance, millions of Americans continue to live in fear of eviction. “Facing Eviction” is a timely and poignant look at a crisis many fear is reaching.
Millions of Americans cannot afford rent and only a quarter of those who need government assistance get it. What happens to all the others? For many, this means living in poverty. But figuring out who’s responsible is harder than you might think. In this episode of FRONTLINE DISPATCH, NPR correspondent Laura Sullivan travels to Dallas, where the city, low-income residents and a prominent landlord sometimes described as a sleepy landlord, become centerpieces of an age-old problem. a century and a half.
Watch at your own pace:
“Faced with eviction” will premiere Tuesday, July 26, 2022 at 10/9c on PBS. The documentary will also be available for streaming at pbs.org/frontline, in the PBS video app and on FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel.
A FRONTLINE production with Retro Report. The producer and screenwriter is Bonnie Bertram. The co-producers are Anne Checler and Erik German. The associate producer is Emily Orr. The main producers are Nina Chaudry and Frank Koughan. Retro Report’s executive producer is Kyra Darnton. FRONTLINE’s executive producer is Raney Aronson-Rath.