Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Reviewed on , book by Matthew Desmond

You need to read this book. It’s deeply upsetting. Some chapters are tough to get through due to sheer distress. Every chapter you’re taken deep into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee and the crisis going on every day: evictions, drug addictions, lack of food, bathtubs filled with dishes, inhumane living conditions, children switching schools twice a year, neglect from family and government, and irresponsible landlords. Every page, it feels, there’s a new, real nightmare facing a poor family. Desmond, the author, spent time on the ground himself in the trailer parks and with the families to get a first-hand account. The book uses these stories to present the large-scale data to show that this is not an isolated problem in these families, or in Wisconsin, but rather something happening all over the country where it’s not uncommon to spend 95% of your income on housing. The Housing Crisis, as Desmond puts it. Evictions are more common than you think. The emotional stress they induce and its cascading effects are documented extensively in this book.