Evicted

Evicted

Poverty and Profit in the American City

Book - 2016
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"[The author] takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the 20 dollars a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind. The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, "Love dont pay the bills." She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas. Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America's vast inequality-- and to people's determination and intelligence in the face of hardship. Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible"--Amazon.com.
Publisher: New York , NY : Crown Publishers, 2016
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9780553447439
0553447432
9780553447453
0553447459
Characteristics: x, 418 pages ; 25 cm

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The Most Popular Items of 2018

We've run the numbers for 2018, and library staff has put together lists of the most popular fiction books, non-fiction books, and DVDs in the library's collection. In the fiction category, readers love Minnesota authors like John Sandford and William Kent Krueger, who each have two titles in the top 25. The non-fiction list is topped by this year's adult Read Brave title, Evicted. … (more)

Evicted Discussion Questions

Have you noticed eviction having an impact on your neighborhood? In Evicted, Desmond makes it clear that many factors coalesce around eviction. Which of these do you think is the biggest issue in Saint Paul? Which issues do you think could be most easily addressed? Desmond has suggested that a massive expansion of the housing voucher program could alleviate much of the housing crisis –… (more)


From Library Staff

AHCC Book Club: January 22, 2019.

West 7 Book Club: January 2019

Central Library Book Club: February 2019

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elijahschenk Dec 20, 2018

The hardest part about reading Evicted was coming to the realization that, more often than not, both sides, tenants and landlords, are only doing what is best for themselves financially, socially, or emotionally. In each of the followed characters’ story arcs, there is solid logic behind most of ... Read More »

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SPPL_ReadBrave Aug 28, 2018

Evicted by Matthew Desmond is the 2019 Read Brave nonfiction selection. A 2017 Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel, it follows eight Milwaukee families struggling to pay their rent around the 2008 financial crisis.


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Ricegirl1959
Jan 17, 2020

I found "Evicted- Poverty and Profit in the American City" a compelling read. I come from a single parent background and once we moved out of my maternal grandparents's house, we lived in apartments. However, I am from a smaller city in Ohio than some of the places that Matthew Desmond chose to focus on.

In "Evicted," Desmond puts a face on those stuck in the cycle of poverty. The reader comes away from Desmond's work, hopefully with a better understanding of the challenges, pitfalls, and the harsh reality of what life can really be like. Like anything else in our society, you have good landlords and those that should be forced to live in their own rental properties under the same conditions they impose upon their tenants. Just as there are good and bad landlords, the same can be said of tenants. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to make the system any better.

Just like life, there is no easy fix. It just takes the awareness, the compassion, and people willing to make a difference. And of course, there is the reality that there is no perfect solution. But Desmond's work is enlightening. Probably anyone who does not either struggle financially themselves or work with or love someone who does, will not have any idea of the challenges involved in finding a decent place to live that is affordable, a reputable landlord, and living in the black. For some families, that is not even a consideration merely because they are focused on day to day survival.

Cheers to Matthew Desmond and his research and his humanity in showing how the system is broken, how people suffer, and how others benefit financially from their suffering.

m
MaxCW26
Oct 24, 2019

Great book. Sad subject matter that is excellently researched and written about. A must read on a problem that is only growing in America.

w
wiildsage
Aug 13, 2019

Matthew Desmond's "Evicted" is, honest to God, probably my new favorite book. It somehow manages to be emotionally gripping (definitely cried a few times), unflinchingly factual, and cautiously hopeful all at the same time. It's so, so worth the read, and sparks a really needed conversation about housing as a human right in the United States.

YLPLTEENBOOKBLOG Jul 29, 2019

I was surprised when I read Matthew Desmond’s nonfiction novel, Evicted. Desmond, a sociologist, followed eight families in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as they struggled with poverty and eviction. I really enjoyed the way in which Desmond discussed the cycle of eviction. He explored all sides, working hard not to paint a particular party as the culprits of poverty. It was hard to read about the lifestyle that real people suffer through. I think it was really eye-opening to the ways in which poverty can occur. It is not necessarily self-inflicted and is a problem that is nearly inescapable. I think Desmond did a great job at explaining how multi-faceted eviction is. For anyone that wants to better understand a very different culture that exists in the lower class, Evicted is the right book to read. Emily, grade 12, of the Yorba Linda Teen Book Bloggers

Hillsboro_ElizabethH Jun 03, 2019

I read this book on the recommendation from the Library Director, and it is wonderful! It really sheds light on the housing crisis in America (who can afford rent these days, anyway?), and gives a voice to those who cannot afford it.

Since housing is a basic human right, how can we do this to those who need it the most, and how can they live in the deplorable situations they're forced to live in?

s
seanreinhart
Apr 21, 2019

🏘️📚🌧 Housing is a basic human need. It irrevocably shapes our lives and our destinies. It also can be a lucrative and, at times, cruel and devastating business. This landmark nonfiction work tells eight stories of families who were swept up in the process of eviction. Along the way, the book sheds new light on the myriad social currents, large and small, that have brought American society to the brink of an alarming housing crisis. The people whose stories are told within— tenants and landlords alike— are expertly brought to life though the author’s masterfully descriptive and empathetic writing. I was completely engrossed in this astonishing book. The stories it tells seem so familiar yet they reveal something new about who we are as a society; about power, privilege, and the meaning of home. 📖

IndyPL_LoriO Mar 27, 2019

This heartbreaking and hard to put down book is an eye-opening look into the affordable housing crisis affecting so many lives today. I particularly enjoyed the author’s ability to tell the stories of his subjects without making himself a character. He acknowledges that there is no simple solution to the lack of affordable housing, but does offer an afterward with some solutions, including expanding the voucher system. Highly recommended.

d
DavidSpencer99
Feb 23, 2019

I found this book both enlightening and frustrating. Blending respectable authorial skills with awesome first-hand observation data, Desmond exposes the raw and painful lives of Milwaukee residents who can barely afford their rent. These people need help but don’t get it from family, friends, or social services. Every failure sets them up for the next one. The detailed analysis moved me like a well-developed novel does. So, I was more than a little frustrated by the conclusion he draws from it: that a universal voucher system is the cure-all. That money would be better spent reforming the system, making it possible for social workers to coach renters on their lifestyle/habits and getting better rules for the landlords to adopt on pain of prosecution.

j
jmreid1220
Dec 29, 2018

On Barack Obama's Top Books of 2017

elijahschenk Dec 20, 2018

The hardest part about reading Evicted was coming to the realization that, more often than not, both sides, tenants and landlords, are only doing what is best for themselves financially, socially, or emotionally. In each of the followed characters’ story arcs, there is solid logic behind most of their actions, even if the action (i.e. an eviction of a family with children) seems so heartless with all the visibility and drama that accompanies it, or seems unwise (i.e. buying up lobster with the whole month’s allotment of food stamps). I think Desmond’s focus on the logic behind every person’s decisions prompts the reader to question the overarching systems keeping things difficult and unequal for people seeking safe, affordable housing. I like how he frames a safe place to live as a right rather than a privilege or something to be earned. The overarching problems hurting families and communities include racism, lack of built housing in many locations, generational cycles of poverty, and our government’s decision not to offer universal housing vouchers to all who would qualify for them. Evicted makes it clear that these sorts of issues are the ones we need to tackle in America, before blaming individual landlords for just thinking about their bottom line, or blaming tenants for an apparent lack of personal responsibility. I appreciate how Desmond offers tangible solutions in his epilogue, instead of leaving off in a totally depressing way; I always like when books are able to do that.

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wiildsage
Aug 05, 2019

wiildsage thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

lvccld_judi Jul 24, 2018

lvccld_judi thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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shayshortt
Apr 20, 2017

If incarceration had come to define the lives of men from impoverished black neighborhoods, eviction was shaping the lives of women. Poor black men were locked up. Poor black women were locked out.

s
shayshortt
Apr 20, 2017

There are two freedoms at odds with each other: the freedom to profit from rents and the freedom to live in a safe and affordable home.

Summary

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shayshortt
Apr 20, 2017

Between 2007 and 2009, the American housing market was shaken by the subprime mortgage crisis, in which banks foreclosed on millions of homeowners who could not keep up with their rapidly inflating mortgage payments. But another group of people is deeply affected by the trauma of displacement on a more regular basis: the renting poor. Many of these families are spending between fifty and seventy percent of their monthly income on housing, and even a small crisis can easily cause them to fall behind on the rent, making them subject to eviction. Sociologist Matthew Desmond takes the reader into two of Milwaukee’s poorest neighbourhoods, one predominantly white, the other mostly black, and spends eighteen months examining what happens when landlords evict those who have fallen behind on the rent.

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