Although this explosive book hit the streets, so-to-speak, six weeks ago, I am just now posting it on this site. I quickly ordered the book from Amazon after reading a few reviews – and then contacted the author directly, who suggested that we meet during his next visit to L.A. (Soon after, I found an email from the publisher in my “to respond to” file offering a complimentary issue of the book.)
As described in a New York Times review by Barbara Ehrenrich (In ‘Evicted,’ Home Is an Elusive Goal for America’s Poor, FEB. 26, 2016), If a family’s income after rent is in the two-digit zone, there’s a powerful temptation to skip a month’s rent to buy groceries or pay a utility bill to keep the heat on. If you have complained about non-working drains or holes in the wall, the landlord has one less reason to cut you any slack. You may get a chance to protest in court, though 70 percent of the tenants summoned to court do not show up — because they couldn’t miss work or find child care or perhaps didn’t even receive the summons. It is at Milwaukee’s eviction court, where the tenants are black women and the landlords’ lawyers wear “pinstripe suits and power ties,” that Desmond has an epiphany:
“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.”
There is not much more I can say in response, because this is, in fact, very true. And while the life stories the author depicts in all their grittiness and glory are stories of a just a few desperate lives and the battle that must be waged each day for them to simply survive, the point of the author’s exposure of a deep, dark secret that plagues the lives of lower-income men, women, and children in this country, is hard to miss. Mostly minority and mostly working hard every day to keep a roof over their heads, vast numbers of people today are precariously housed, if that, and the numbers are growing daily! More on this later.
Tanya Tull – President/CEO, Partnering for Change