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Evicted : poverty and profit in the American city
2016
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Genre
NonFiction
Political
Topics
Poverty
City life
Family
Urban development
Sociology
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  Library Journal Review

Realizing that "poverty (is) a relationship," Desmond (social science, Harvard Univ.; Racial Domination, Racial Progress) reflects on the eviction process after spending more than a year living in Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, and one with a history of segregation. He tells stories of families facing eviction alongside the perspective of their landlords, neither glorifying the poor, nor vilifying the landlords. Finding no data on the frequency and causes of eviction, Desmond designed a study to survey Milwaukee's rental population. He found that one in eight renters had experienced "involuntary housing displacement" and were spending significantly more than 30 percent of their income on housing. The fieldwork and the survey led to his recommendations, which include offering a universal housing voucher program, regulating landlord profit margins, and providing legal counsel for those facing eviction. Extensive notes also make important points surrounding this relevant issue. VERDICT This resource is highly recommended for academic libraries as well as public-policy advocates seeking to understand issues relating to the lack of affordable housing.-Karen Venturella, Union Cty. Coll. Libs, Cranford, NJ © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Gripping storytelling and meticulous research undergird this outstanding ethnographic study, in which Desmond (On the Fireline), an associate professor of sociology at Harvard, explores the impact of eviction on poverty-stricken families in Milwaukee, Wis. Living first in a rundown trailer park with predominantly white tenants and then in an African-American inner-city neighborhood, Desmond conducted fieldwork by observing and asking questions of his neighbors; later, he collected extensive data about eviction specifically in the private rental market. The book reveals the concentrated suffering of people repeatedly faced with the loss of their homes. He shares the stories of Lamar, a double amputee raising adolescent boys; Scott, who tries to conquer his heroin addiction and return to his nursing career; single mom Arleen, her sons, and their cat, Little; and five other families. In one gut-wrenching scene, Desmond shadows a moving crew as they evict numerous households in one day, finding in one tenant's face "the look of someone realizing that her family would be homeless in a matter of hours." Desmond identifies affordable housing as a leading social justice issue of our time and offers concrete solutions to the crisis. Agent: Jill Kneerim, Kneerim and Williams. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
New York Times Bestseller<br> <br> From Harvard sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America <br>   <br> In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond 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 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.<br> <br> 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 don't pay the bills." She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.
Table of Contents
Author's notep. xi
Prologue: Cold Cityp. 1
Part 1Rent
1The Business of Owning the Cityp. 9
2Making Rentp. 20
3Hot Waterp. 32
4A Beautiful Collectionp. 44
5Thirteenth Streetp. 53
6Rat Holep. 64
7The Sickp. 80
8Christmas in Room 400p. 94
Part 2Out
9Order Some Carryoutp. 111
10Hypes for Hirep. 134
11The 'Hood Is Goodp. 144
12Disposable Tiesp. 158
13E-24p. 167
14High Tolerancep. 177
15A Nuisancep. 186
16Ashes on Snowp. 197
Part 3After
17This Is Americap. 207
18Lobster on Food Stampsp. 215
19Littlep. 227
20Nobody Wants the North Sidep. 242
21Bigheaded Boyp. 255
22If They Give Momma the Punishmentp. 259
23The Serenity Clubp. 270
24Can't Win for Losingp. 282
Epilogue: Home and Hopep. 293
About This Projectp. 315
Acknowledgmentsp. 337
Notesp. 343
Indexp. 407
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