Two Fresno State sociology professors researching housing inequality and evictions were invited to participate in the White House Summit on Eviction Prevention on June 30.

Drs. Amber Crowell, associate professor, and Janine Nkosi, lecturer, are members of a delegation representing the Central Valley. The professors, along with service-learning students, have worked with the grassroots community organization Faith in the Valley, housing leaders and others to lead efforts to combat the local housing crisis over the past several years.

Dr. Amber Crowell, associate professor of sociology

Dr. Amber Crowell

“What this invitation signifies is something really amazing,” Crowell said. “The work that we have done has been a true collaboration with community advocates, residents and Fresno State faculty and students, and one result of it all is that the Central Valley is now part of the national conversation on the housing crisis.”

The White House in recent days announced an aggressive push to change national housing policy and to find ways to distribute help to renters and prevent an eviction crisis as the nation pulls out of the coronavirus pandemic. Part of the effort is the virtual summit which brings together local government, judicial, legal and community leaders from 50 cities to develop community-specific solutions for vulnerable families.

Crowell, Nkosi and community partners will participate virtually in a public webinar and then break into private work groups to share action plans and recommendations.

Dr. Janine Nkosi, sociology lecturer

Dr. Janine Nkosi

Their past work includes a study on evictions in the Central Valley showing that the region does not have an adequate supply of safe, decent and affordable housing units to meet the needs of the community.

The Department of Sociology along with the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State and the Henry Madden Library announced in February 2020 the development of the Fresno County Digital Housing Data Repository. The online resource will provide the housing sector a centralized way to research, collect and submit data and analysis on housing, and to find information on health outcomes associated with housing segregation.

“We’re hoping to uplift the unique challenges and opportunities in the Central Valley,” Nkosi said.