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Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
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Archive: Other Books > Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond - 5 stars

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Ellen | 2330 comments Author Matthew Desmond certainly took on a daunting task: to document Milwaukee's landlord/tenant relationship among the poor and destitute. It seems to be not uncommon for some of these people to be spending more than 80 percent of their income for rent and what they get for that money is often far below what would be considered decent housing. Broken plumbing, mold, broken windows, sagging ceilings, roaches and rats are just a few of the horrible conditions some of these people must deal with. Evictions are common and often the few belongings the people have managed to hold on to are removed from the residence and piled on the curb, no matter the weather, unless they can afford private storage fees that increase monthly. The landlords of these places do not want to rent to those with government housing vouchers as that would mean regular inspections. Nor do they want to lease to those who have been evicted which creates a whole 'catch-22' scenario. Arrest records, drug convictions and even having children can keep these desperate people from finding a home. Several of the women in this book have called 80-90 landlords in one day trying to find an apartment to rent and when they do it is often a squalid building that may only be their home for a short while before they are evicted once again.

It is difficult to say that I really enjoyed a book when it is one that makes me furious and sad all at the same time. Admittedly, some of the subjects in the book do not help their own cause when they are spending their government assistance dollars on drugs, alcohol or unnecessary items. In grudging defense of the landlords, they need to make a profit. Where is the happy medium between these opposing sides? The author offers several solutions most of which involve governmental vouchers which would offset 70 percent of the rent. But landlords are not required to accept the vouchers so unless the landlord is willing to have their properties inspected, that is not going to happen. This is such an eye-opening book and a very worthwhile read.


message 2: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 485 comments Ellen wrote: "Author Matthew Desmond certainly took on a daunting task: to document Milwaukee's landlord/tenant relationship among the poor and destitute. It seems to be not uncommon for some of these people to ..."

This sounds like a heartbreaking book to read.


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