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A Blog Post from Tom Holmes

Tom Holmes

Quotes from the prologue to Evicted by Matthew Desmond.

3 Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare.

4 The marshals [doing the evicting years ago] were ambivalent about carrying out evictions.  It wasn’t why the carried a gun.

4 These days, there are sheriff squads whose full-time job is to carry out eviction and foreclosure orders.  There are moving companies specializing in evictions, their crews working all  day, every weekday.

4 Low income families have grown used to the rumble of moving trucks, the early-morning  knocks at the door, the belongings lining the curb.

4 Families have watched their incomes stagnate, or even fall, while their housing costs have soared.  Today, the majority of poor renting families in America spend over half of their income on housing, and at least one in four dedicates over 70 percent to paying the rent and keeping the lights on.  Millions of Americans are evicted every year, because they can’t make rent.

4 In Milwaukee, a city of fewer than 105,000 renter households, landlords evict roughly 16,000 adults and children each year.  That’s sixteen families evicted through the court system daily.

5 Between 2009 and 2011 more than 1 in 8 Milwaukee renters experience a forced move.

5 Eviction’s fall out is severe.  Losing a home sends families to shelters, abandoned houses, and the street.  It invites depression and illness, compels families to move into degrading housing in dangerous neighborhoods, uproots communities, and harms children.

5 This is among the most urgent and pressing issues facing America today. . .

5 For decades, we’ve focused mainly on jobs, public assistance, parenting, and mass incarceration.  No one can deny the importance of these issues, but something fundamental is missing.  We have failed to fully appreciate how deeply housing is  implicated in the creation of poverty.