Health and Housing: Consequences of Eviction for Ontological Security

Authors: Caroline Smith*, Florida State University
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Geography and Urban Health, Gender
Keywords: Emotional Geography, Eviction, Hyper-Commodification of Housing, Ontological Security, Suicide
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Proteus, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The U.S. housing trend of rising eviction rates threatens the well-being and ontological security of U.S. residents. The problem is particularly salient to poorer households and minorities, especially gender and sexual minorities for whom U.S. housing policy lacks uniform housing protections. Evictions compound the residential alienation already experienced by marginalized groups, a type of alienation exacerbated by commodification of housing. For residents, the residential alienation and decreased ontological security that emanates from the commodification of housing and the attendant threat of eviction might manifest psychologically or physically–through stress, anxiety, or even death. The relationship between eviction and suicide risk, in particular, reveals the deleterious impact of eviction on well-being, and represents further health risk for gender and sexual minorities, for whom suicide rates are already higher than average. The health risk for special populations resulting from eviction demands a significant change in the current U.S. housing model, which could only fully realize via the adoption of a human rights framework for housing. I seek to explore this relationship between eviction, alienation, and suicide, with special attention given to the transgender community. I will also consider possible solutions to this humanitarian issue.

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