It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to be evicted, perhaps because the impacts of evictions are so wide-ranging. Household items are put on the curb and lost if the evictee can’t afford a storage unit. Having an eviction on one’s record makes it harder to rent a decent place to live. Constant movement to different housing leads to children falling behind in school, jobs lost, mail and benefits misdirected, and community bonds being broken. Research has also found that evictions can even lead to depression and suicide.

Research study

Author Matthew Desmond, a Harvard sociologist, followed eight families and their struggles to find and remain in decent affordable, private housing. The author—whose family was evicted from their home in Arizona during his childhood, giving him first-hand knowledge of this problem—immersed himself in the world of the urban poor in 2008 and 2009, living in a trailer park, and then in a rooming house in one of the poor areas in a trailer park. At the start of his journey, Desmond clearly identified himself as an author and let his subjects know that he was writing a book about them.


The subjects of the Pulitzer-prize winning Evicted have many obstacles to overcome—poor housing stock, a high percentage of their low income going to rent, hardened landlords, family issues. Over the course of his research, Desmond became close to the book’s subjects. He helped them move, went to church with them, slept at their houses, babysat their children, and accompanied them to eviction court.

What happens after eviction?

What happens after an eviction? Former tenants may become homeless; move to a shelter; live with friends, relatives or strangers; or move to less costly housing. In Milwaukee, the government housing assistance list has been frozen at 3,500 names for four years, leaving many still waiting for help. But even this meager chance at assistance isn’t available to many of the subjects of Desmond’s book because of their eviction records.


Facts, figures, and proposed solutions aside though, seeing eviction through the eyes of those who have experienced it is an invaluable benefit to any reader of this book. Real estate pros who read this book will discover the scope of the eviction problem, both in Milwaukee and the United States. Also, Desmond recently launched a website to share the findings of his Eviction Lab(link is external), a project out of Princeton University that compiles millions of records to provide a better understanding of the impact that the eviction crisis has on local communities. Use the lab’s search, maps, and rankings to see how your area fares.Source

Source: NAR

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