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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:

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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

Kyle Nelson quoted on evictions and homelessness levels following the expiration of pandemic protections by David Wagner, "What Drove This Year's Spike In LA Homelessness? Tenant Advocates Say It's 'What We Were Afraid Of'" LAist, June 30, 2023.
Guest to discuss two eviction types in Southern California — court-based “at-fault” evictions and administrative “no-fault” evictions — including the different motivations behind them, where they’re distributed, and how we might prevent them on UCLA Housing Voice, Kyle Nelson, June 1, 2023.
Kyle Nelson quoted on the impact of eviction court on the homelessness crisis by David Wagner, "In Eviction Court, Most LA Landlords Have Lawyers And Most Renters Don’t" LAist, May 20, 2023.
Guest to discuss evictions following the expiration of housing protections in Los Angeles County on All Things Considered, NPR, Kyle Nelson, December 6, 2022.
Kyle Nelson quoted on how anti-eviction rules have guided landlords by Liam Dillon, "Eviction cases in California projected to double" Los Angeles Times, January 20, 2021.
Kyle Nelson quoted on not having an answer to the puzzle of landlords simply expanding efforts to evict tenants outside the courts and attempts to beef up legal aid to low income residents and being paid off by Matt Levin, "A California Housing Crisis Mystery: Rents Are Way up This Decade, but Eviction Filings Are Way Down" Cal Matters, January 8, 2020.
Kyle Nelson quoted on seeing an increased rate in Ellis Act evictions that take rent-controlled units off eviction cases having risen to nearly the same levels as before the market, by Ariella Plachta, "LA Tenants Rights Activists Take Clash Over Ellis Act Eviction to Landlord’s Studio City Home" Daily News, April 4, 2019.


"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.

"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.

"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.

"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.

"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.