Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Nikki Luke

Committee Members

LaToya Eaves, Nicholas Nagle, Solange Muñoz


COVID-19 has exacerbated preexisting inequities in Knox County, Tennessee. The disruption to employment caused by the pandemic has imposed a great financial burden for many individuals who rent housing. The primary relief that was afforded to renters during the pandemic was enabled by a federal eviction moratorium order, where covered renters could defer payments to avoid eviction while the moratorium was in effect. Some additional rental assistance was provided to local governments through the federal CARES Act pandemic relief package. Despite these provisions, many people experienced housing crises in Knox County, where over 3,000 renters have faced eviction filing from March 2020 – April 2022. The COVID-19 health crisis has emphasized flaws in the United States’ racial capitalist system and intensified socioeconomic inequalities as renters have been neglected and those with the means to own property have been protected. The constantly looming threat of not only contracting a deadly virus, but also being (re)submerged into the process of eviction burdens renters. In Knox County, Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM) acted to pave pathways towards housing justice working on anti-eviction efforts during COVID-19, disseminating information to tenants facing the threat of eviction and supporting them throughout the eviction process. The project examines the multi-layered rental housing and displacement landscape from many perspectives and current and potential pathways towards a more just housing system. Using mixed-methods, I attempt to capture and analyze the many perspectives of those burdened by eviction and those involved in anti-eviction infrastructure in Knox County, Tennessee using community geographies and housing justice methods.

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