About the book
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.
“Every condition exists,” Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote, “simply because someone profits by its existence. This economic exploitation is crystallized in the slum.” Exploitation. Now, there’s a word that has been scrubbed out of the poverty debate.”
There's a lot of of this country's housing situation I just wasn't aware about. I know a bit to do with Section 8 because I've got close family on it, but I was so uninformed that I feel ashamed what I didn't understand. I did already know we have an awful cycle of poverty. There's no way to get out of assistance without risking the future of your family, one bad emergency and everything goes to shit.
The focus on this book is specific on evicted families. Although it does bring up poverty, disability, and unassisted mental illness as key reasons. Mental illness, as mentioned in this book, applies to any mental disability that makes it harder for someone to function as they would if they were enabled person. It also includes addiction. All of those things are being exploited by the landlords. Those such landlords have admitted they make more money off of poor tenants with city housing then they would housing people who have stable living conditions. And how it's also cheaper to keep such housing in poor neighborhoods. This encourages segregation and keeps children of color from getting out of the cycle of poverty.
This book does not just focus on people of color though, but it does point out that black women have a higher chance of being evicted. And also how it is the black areas that are the cheapest and most dangerous.
After reading this, I had to do some research on local housing issues. I was sad to discover many issues regarding Houston's housing. The one that is getting the most recent attention is a complex that was being planned near where I live. It got the ax because the amount of blacks in the area would increase. And this is a common issue around the country, and it is incredibly disappointing and disheartening.
This book is a heavy read for the purpose that it exposes many issues that privileged people take for granted. I do appreciate the book and I think it is important to read. Although the author addresses the reason he chose to write the way he did at the end of the book, I still didn't particularly think it was the best of options, as it seemed more like I was reading a fiction story.