The objective of this article is to explore the situation of forced eviction from homes in Bangladesh and its implications in undermining poverty eradication. We argue that it should be considered as a human rights violation. Little is available in literature on forced eviction, and this article focuses on Bangladesh to illustrate a global problem. The main research question was how forced eviction from homes is related to poverty and violation of human rights. To answer this, the article focuses on the nature and causes of forced eviction and its impacts on the livelihoods of the evictees. We conclude that forced eviction arises from poverty, but is also a cause of poverty and human rights violations. We believe that while the study focuses on Bangladesh, the implications are international in scope. We outline a number of social work interventions which could address forced eviction and the struggle for respect of human rights. Our findings are relevant to policy makers, human rights practitioners, government and non-government organizations (GOs–NGOs), and social workers.


Religiosity and Posttraumatic Stress Following Forced Relocation

In order to examine the role of religiosity in situations of extreme stress, such as forced relocation, 326 Israeli settlers who were evicted from the Gaza Strip by the government were tested for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), intrusion and avoidance, and religiosity and religious support. Approximately 40% of the subjects suffered from PTSD. No correlation was found between PTSD and religiosity or religious support. However, among very religious people, high religious support predicted lower PTSD, while among the moderately religious, high religious support predicted higher PTSD. In addition, religiosity measures were positively correlated with intrusion and negatively correlated with avoidance.

Mental Health Impacts of Forced Land Evictions on Women in Cambodia

This research examines the mental health impacts of land evictions on 40 women in Cambodia based on interviews conducted in four Cambodian provinces. The results suggest that women subjected to forced land evictions display multiple symptoms of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Women who are forcibly evicted from their homes by the Cambodian government experience sadness, compulsive worry, difficulty in sleeping, difficulty in concentrating, emotional outbursts and a preoccupation with the safety of the family. Suggestions for assistance to this population are explored.


Traumatic Transitions: Homeless Women’s Narratives of Abuse, Loss, and Fear

This article presents traumatic experiences among 21 women residing in budget hotels after housing displacement. Framed in feminist and cumulative trauma theories, the purpose of this study was to explore types of trauma and adversity prior to and during housing at budget hotels. In this qualitative study, narrative and categorical content-analysis approaches were conducted to identify common themes across women’s narratives. Findings revealed trauma narratives of physical and emotional abuse, childhood maltreatment, loss, financial exploitation, sexual intimidation, eviction anxiety, environmental stress, crime exposure, and systematic subjugation. Trauma-informed intervention approaches for social work practice are outlined to promote women’s empowerment.


Fighting to forestall foreclosures takes emotional toll

I know I’m a man. I know I’m not supposed to cry, but it hurts,” he said.

Desperation cracks open the most private individuals, leading them to tell their financial woes to people such as Taylor who might be able to help them pull through.

That outpouring often makes the fight personal for the 17 foreclosure counselors at Family Services who are juggling more than 1,300 cases.

They’ve had anxiety attacks, they keep tissues on their desks, and many cope with their own financial difficulties while they work for an average of less than $30,000 a year.

There’s not a week that goes by that one of the foreclosure counselors isn’t crying over losing someone’s house,” said Debbie Kidd, who oversees the agency’s default counseling.

Stech, Katy. McClatchy – Tribune Business News; Washington [Washington]27 Feb 2009.

USA Today:  Foreclosures take toll on mental health;
Crisis hotlines, therapists see a surge in anxiety over housing

(Christine Note: Foreclosures involve the loss of a home, so the stress to an eviction is comparable.)

For more than two decades, the couple had lived in their three-level house, where the elms outside blazed with yellow shades of fall and their four golden retrievers slept in the yard. The town had always been home, with a lazy river and rolling hills dotted by gnarled juniper trees.

Yet just before lunch on Oct.23, the Donacas closed all their home’s doors except the one to the garage and left their 1981 Cadillac Eldorado running. Toxic fumes filled the home. When sheriff’s deputies arrived at about 1 p.m., they found the body of Raymond, 71, on the second floor along with three dead dogs. The body of Deanna, 69, was in an upstairs bedroom, close to another dead retriever.

“It is believed that the Donacas committed suicide after attempts to save their home following a foreclosure notice left them believing they had few options,” the Crook County Sheriff’s Office said in a report.

Their suicides were a tragic extreme, but the Donacas’ case symbolizes how the housing crisis is wrenching the emotional lives of legions of homeowners. The escalating pace of foreclosures and rising fears among some homeowners about keeping up with their mortgages are creating a range of emotional problems, mental-health specialists say. Those include anxiety disorders, depression and addictive behaviors such as alcoholism and gambling. And, in a few cases, suicide.

Crisis hotlines are reporting a surge in calls from frantic homeowners. The American Psychological Association (APA) and other mental-health groups are publishing tips on how to handle the emotional stress triggered by the real estate meltdown. Psychologists say they’re seeing more drinking, domestic violence and marital problems linked to mortgage concerns — as well as children trying to cope with extreme anxiety when their families are forced to move.

“They’re depressed, anxious. It’s affected marriages, relationships,” says Richard Chaifetz, CEO of ComPsych, a Chicago-based employee-assistance firm that is counseling homeowners over mortgage fears. “People tend to catastrophize, and that leads to depression. Suicide rates go up. We see an increase in drinking, outbursts at work, violence toward kids. Before, their houses were like ATMs,” as they rose in value. “Now, they feel trapped like a rat in a corner.”

Tenant evictions are a significant cause of homelessness. As evictions are a traumatic experience for those being evicted and involve high costs, preventing evictions is vital and should be part of local and national policy. In order to develop and implement preventive practices and policies, it is essential to know which interventions are effective in preventing evictions. However, little is known about these interventions. Therefore, a systematic search of the international literature, providing an overview of interventions to prevent evictions published in scientific journals and reporting on their (cost-)effectiveness, was conducted.

“Where are the social work interventions to address forced eviction and the struggle for respect of human rights” ?

Putting a price-tag on humanity: Development-forced displaced communities’ fight for more than just compensation

(Christine Note:  People who are forced to settle elsewhere are generally compensated, but experts explain that due to the severe losses, compensation for the property alone is not enough. In the case of the FLDS, however, they get no compensation at all. The FLDS have all the losses described below, plus many more. Regardless of who is to blame, the state has taken their homes and sacred sites – worth about $110 million at one time, they are forced to leave. However, one penny in compensation goes to assist them through this crisis. Rather, they get blamed for not complying with the state’s demands – it is a violation of their religious beliefs – resulting in little sympathy and no transitional services. Please remember that this is NOT the fault of the mothers and children, and they deserve support.)


In order to understand the bigger picture of what occurs to populations during and after displacement, and why compensation is inadequate to solve these problems, it is important to understand the specific impoverishment risks that displaced populations face. Forced relocation causes a vast array of negative economic, social and cultural consequences for the affected individuals, families and communities, including lack of livelihood opportunities, inadequate access to social services, marginalization, health and education risks, break up of kinship groups and communities, the loss of traditional skills, along with the mental stress of living in a strange place.

The risks captured in the forced relocation model include: a) landlessness; b) joblessness; c) homelessness; d) marginalization; e) increased morbidity and mortality; f) food insecurity; g) loss of access to common property resources; and h) social dis-articulation. In addition to these risks, loss of access to education is also included in this study, as it was a major risk factor in the analyzed case studies.
The World Bank’s guidelines on forced resettlement (Operational Policy 4.10) place an unequal emphasis on compensation: compensation is mentioned 19 times in the document, whereas development for resettlers is only mentioned four times (Scudder 2005b).
(Note: Even the World Bank acknowledges that forced resettlement requires compensation)
The four major categories of compensation necessary to assist affected communities and stem further impoverishment post-displacement include: moving compensation, compensation for lost assets, compensation for lost income and compensation for common property resources (CPR). Ninety-two percent of the projects provided compensation for lost assets, just over three-quarters of analyzed projects provided compensation for lost income and only 54% provided compensation for moving costs. Although some compensation might have been provided for lost assets and lost income, this compensation, if it did make it to the recipients’ hands, was rarely sufficient for affected individuals and communities to avoid increased impoverishment.
The most problematic compensation category was common property resources, for which compensation was provided in only half of the projects. The majority of surveyed experts also agreed that most projects fail to compensate for the loss of common property.

The majority of these families were forced to abandon their rural lifestyles
and move to neighborhoods and slums outside urban centers, where they sank deeper into impoverishment (Fernandez-Caamano and Johnson 2003:19).
Christopher McDowell, professor in the Centre for International Politics, School of Social Sciences, City University, London, noted in the survey, in most cases compensation is insufficient because: “most land is acquired in locations occupied or used by people who are already poor or are dependent on land and other assets including community property for their livelihoods and compensation is typically insufficient not reflecting the full market replacement value, paid only partially and late and does not account for the full range of losses occasioned by land acquisition and relocation.”

For these communities, almost all of the surveyed experts agreed, just compensation fails to adequately resettle the displaced populations and compensation alone is unable to restore or improve affected persons’ livelihoods.’ Even though just compensation is a must for people affected by development projects, it cannot be the basis for successful resettlement; it is not an effective instrument alone in mitigating displacement’s negative effects. In essence, because displacement “goes beyond mere physical deprivation or property losses, to virtually the total decimation of the fabric of the affected societies… the word ‘compensation’, for the loss of property… is totally inadequate and out of context with the reality of the loss suffered by people” (National Working Group on Displacement, India 1989:119).

Resettlement Action Plans (RAPs) are the guidelines created for project
developers to follow to resettle affected populations, with compensation generally being the central focus. Therefore, successful implementation of the RAP is vital if just compensation is to be achieved. It is becoming more common for project developers to hire social scientists to research and write RAPs.
(Note: To my knowledge, no social scientists were hired to study the life impact of the state’s decision to decimate a religious community, nor have their been Resettlement Action Plans considered for the FLDS.)


To ensure that displacees receive due compensation and other amenities and are successfully resettled, local and national governments need to be fully committed to the process. Without political commitment, successful resettlement is impossible. However, only 34% of analyzed projects showed political commitment to resettling displaced populations; the typical view held by governments is seeing poor and indigenous communities as a hindrance to a project, as a mere object that stands in the way between them and the profits and power wielded from so-called development. Often governments make promises to affected communities to put on a public display of good will and commitment, but these promises are usually empty and thrown by the wayside along with the individuals they were supposed to assist.
Maldonado, J. K. (2008).  (Order No. 1461438). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (304684391). Retrieved from
Communities express different spatial and relational links with their origin and actual neighborhood. Community bonds and psychological aspects must be considered as central in the development and implementation of displacement or reconstruction strategies post disasters.

Community Area as a Meaningful Personal Space

The meaning that places have for people can run deep in their psyche. Places are not just physical settings of everyday experiences but carry a psychological significance for individuals. They help people to understand who they are in relation to others and to understand the world around them (Proshansky et al., 1983).

Memories and life experiences shape the way that people perceive places and contribute significantly to the development of their attachment to them (Rubenstein and Parmelee, 1992). Individuals’ attachment to specific places contributes to the development and preservation of the identity of individuals (Rowles, 1983; Twigger, 1994). Disruptions in place attachment can cause a sense of loss and grief (Fried, 1963) and can have detrimental effects for communities. The weakening of attachment makes people less willing to invest in their area by improving their houses and can make them more likely to leave (Ahlbrandt and Cunningham, 1979).