Kyle Nelson Headshot

Kyle Nelson

Postdoctoral Researcher in Sociology, University of California-Los Angeles
Former Chapter Fellow, Los Angeles Unified SSN
Chapter Member: Los Angeles Unified SSN
Areas of Expertise:

Connect with Kyle

About Kyle

Nelson's research focuses on how laypeople navigate state bureaucracies tasked with implementing housing and homelessness policy. His dissertation explored these dynamics in LA County tenants' rights clinics and eviction courts, and his postdoctoral research extends this inquiry into how low-income Veterans access VA homelessness services. Nelson is also a staunch advocate for tenant protections and public data accessibility in LA as Senior Policy and Research Analyst at Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, a steering committee member with the Keep LA Housed Coalition, and a longtime member of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project-LA.

In the News

Guest on UCLA Housing Voice, June 1, 2023.
Quoted by David Wagner in "In Eviction Court, Most LA Landlords Have Lawyers And Most Renters Don’t," LAist, May 20, 2023.
Interviewed in "Protecting Renters From Eviction: LA City Council Takes Action," KCRW, January 24, 2023.
Guest on All Things Considered, NPR, December 6, 2022.
Quoted by Liam Dillon in "Eviction cases in California projected to double," Los Angeles Times, January 20, 2021.


"Centering the Institutional Life of Eviction" (with Michael C. Lens), in The Sociology of Housing, edited by Brian J. McCabe & Eva Rosen (The University of Chicago Press, 2023).

Specifies a distinction between research on eviction's "individual life" and "institutional life." Unlike the former, the latter involves attending to the people, policies, and settings that shape the eviction processes in state bureaucracies and its outcomes in ways that provide policymakers with insights into how to craft eviction prevention interventions.

"Evictions: The Comparative Analysis Problem" (with Brian J. McCabe, Eva Rosen, and Phillip Garboden). Housing Policy Debate (2021).

Draws on fieldwork and administrative records from Baltimore, Maryland; Dallas, Texas; Los Angeles, California; and Washington, DC— to identify how procedural and legal contexts differ by place, and the ways that these processes shape both eviction’s institutional life and its underlying social meanings. Identifies how the problem of eviction is no longer hidden in the housing literature, the explosion of eviction research has introduced a comparative analysis problem.

"Spatial Concentration and Spillover: Eviction Dynamics in Neighborhoods of Los Angeles, California, 2005–2015" (with Ashley Gromis, Yiwen Kuai, and Michael C. Lens). Housing Policy Debate (2021).

Discusses how the  lack of sufficient affordable housing in Los Angeles, California burdens many renter households with the threat of an eviction. Mentions how research has identified individual- and neighborhood-level sociodemographic correlates of eviction, but the uneven distribution of sociodemographic characteristics and housing conditions across neighborhoods likely produces broader patterns of spatial clustering in eviction prevalence across local areas.

"The Neighborhood Context of Eviction in Southern California" (with Michael C. Lens, Ashley Gromis, and Yiwen Kuai). City and Community 19, no. 4 (2020): Pages 912-932.

Analyzes California eviction court records for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties between 2005 and 2015. Finds that evictions are much more likely to occur in neighborhoods with higher poverty rates and/or shares of African‐American individuals than in neighborhoods with rising rent or income levels. States that court‐based evictions are much more likely to be found in areas with low‐income households and racial minorities than areas experiencing rapid neighborhood change.

"The Microfoundations of Bureaucratic Outcomes: Causes and Consequences of Interpretive Disjuncture in Eviction Cases" Social Problems 68, no. 1 (2021): 152-167.

Describes how eviction transforms landlords into plaintiffs and tenants into defendants, turning everyday troubles into legal problems. Explores as tenants navigate this transformation, they struggle to defend themselves in ways the legal system considers appropriate. Shows the legal system facilities "interpretive disjuncture," which why so many tenants in Los Angeles default, or lose their case before their first court date.