Poverty and Profit in the American CityBook - 2016
Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare; today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary. Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge: all are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind. Desmond transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem.
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A readalike for Hillbilly Elegy
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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.
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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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