The fight for rent control is an increasingly uphill battle in Fresno, where the mayor and city council have said solving the statewide housing crisis means incentivizing development and courting reinvestment. Credit: Cassandra Garibay / Fresnoland/The Fresno Bee

Across the central San Joaquin Valley, hundreds of people faced lockouts, even during the statewide eviction moratorium, for nonpayment of rent — but some ZIP codes saw a much higher rate than others.

Fresnoland used sheriff lockout data, obtained through public records requests, and 2019 American Community Survey data on the number of renter households, to calculate the rate of lockouts per 1,000 renter households by ZIP code. Only areas with more than 1,000 renter households are shown in the maps below.

Here’s a breakdown of residential lockouts by county:

Madera County had roughly seven lockouts for every 1,000 renter households during the statewide eviction moratorium, from March 27, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021; a total of 112 lockouts were reported in the county which has approximately 15,776 renter households.

Fresno County had roughly six residential lockouts for every 1,000 renter households during the pandemic, with a total of 918 residential lockouts out of the 143,170 renter households.

While the eviction moratorium has ended at the state and county level, a moratorium for evictions related to nonpayment of rent is still in place within the city of Fresno.

Roughly five lockouts occurred for every 1,000 renter households in Kings County.

The rate of lockouts does not show the full picture of displacement – not all evictions result in a lockout; some eviction records are sealed, and some renters leave before an eviction is finalized in court.

“It’s shameful,” said Janine Nkosi, policy advocate with Faith in the Valley. “There needs to be a reckoning over this. These are just a fraction, a very small sliver of the actual number of people who have been displaced from their homes during the pandemic.”

Where did the most lockouts happen in the City of Fresno?

Within the city of Fresno, more than 40% of which is populated by renters, lockout data show that areas south of Shaw Avenue saw higher rates of lockouts than the city’s northern neighborhoods.

ZIP codes in north Fresno show lower rates of lockouts, with the 93720 ZIP code surrounding Clovis West High School recording the lowest rate of evictions in the city, at roughly three lockouts for every 1,000 renter households.

In comparison, the 93701 ZIP code – which encompasses the Lowell and Jefferson districts near the intersection of Highway 180 and Highway 41 – had the highest lockout rate.

Roughly 19 out of every 1,000 renter households in the 93701 ZIP code were locked out during the pandemic – nearly double the rate of lockouts in any other ZIP code within city limits during the eviction moratorium within Fresno.

Tania Pacheco-Werner, co-director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State, said the eviction divide, even during the protection period, shows that “policy does not always translate into practice if the policy isn’t well defined and really meant to work for the people it’s been designed for.”

Pacheco-Werner said that the 93701 area also consistently popped up as a hot spot for transmission and low vaccination rates in her research of COVID-19. She said that language barriers, lack of targeted outreach and poverty play a part in why it is a “hard-to-reach area” for both COVID-19 information and renter rights.

Pacheco-Werner said, “When we think about eviction moratoriums, which are really an important policy piece, if it doesn’t come with that targeted education for those that are going to have the most stacked against them, then those are the ones that get left behind.”

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Cassandra is a housing and engagement reporter with Fresnoland.