Continued Reading: Evicted: Poverty And Profit In The American City By Matthew Desmond

Here is more from the book:

From Page 47:

“In Milwaukee and cities across the country, as affordable rental stock has been allowed to deteriorate and eventually disappear, low-income families have rushed to occupy cheap units. Nationwide, vacancy rates for low-cost units have fallen to single digits. Lenny’s (the office manager) office phone rang before the newspeople came, and it rang after they left. The month the story aired, the trailer park had zero vacancies. “The park is filled up,” Lenny said with a chuckle. “And we still got people calling.” The rent rolls that Lenny kept for Tobin showed that in an average month only five trailers sat vacant, which would put Tobin’s vacancy rate below 4 percent. The high demand for the cheapest housing told landlords that for every family in a unit there were scores behind them ready to take their place. In such an environment, the incentive to lower the rent, forgive a late payment, or spruce up your property was extremely low.”

From Page 76:

“Between 2009 and 2011, nearly half of all renters in Milwaukee experienced a serious and lasting housing problem. More than 1 in 5 lived with a broken window; a busted appliance; or mice, cockroaches, or rats for more than three days. One-third experienced clogged plumbing that lasted more than a day. And 1 in 10 spent at least a day without heat. African American households were the most likely to have these problems—as were those where children slept. Yet the average rent was the same, whether an apartment had housing problems or did not.”

From Page 149:

“In Milwaukee, renters with housing vouchers were charged an average of $55 more each month, compared to unassisted renters who lived in similar apartments in similar neighborhoods. Overcharging voucher holders cost taxpayers an additional $3.6 million each year in Milwaukee alone—the equivalent of supplying 588 needy families with housing assistance.” is focused on landlord greed, renter’s desperation, poor decision-making and very little self-discipline as well as weak government decision-making and intervention. I know there are numerous other factors (too many to mention), but to me it is this combination that is causing this housing crisis in America.

This is a must read in understanding part of what is really happening in America in the housing sector and the growing inequality that we and our leaders face.


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