Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City – Andy-palmer.co.uk
This just won The Pulitzer Yay Evicted Poverty and Profit in the American City is probably the most important book that I have ever read If you are to read one non fiction book this year it should probably be this book This should be required reading in high school I learned about poverty and poor renters, the eviction process, and scumbag landlords.This book is about 8 families in Milwaukee These are both Caucasian and African American families The book is broken down into 3 parts They are real life stories These stories are so unbelievable that they read like fiction I cannot do this book justice The reason I read it was because of my friend Shelby She wrote a phenomenal review Here it is Please check it out Many of these families were spending up to 80 percent of their income just on rent This left little money for anything else The system was meant for families to spend up to 30 percent of their income on rent It s truly unbelievable and eye opening I listened to the audio version I would say the narration is about 4 Stars I wish there were two narrators instead of one The different voices all started sounding the same after awhile In all fairness, this is a tough book for a narrator to tackle and when he was telling the story and not doing the individual voices he did a great job The one character I identified with the most was Scott I think it s because he made me realize this could happen to me Scott was making 80k a year as a nurse at one point but became addicted to pain killers and then his life spirals down from there into harder drugs and homelessness Although there is hope for him, I m not giving spoilers so you are going to have to read the book to find out what happens to him His story made me realize this could happen to anybody Even if you have never been part of the welfare system you can still end up homeless.This is not a happy book but it is a very important one The author is Sociologist, Matthew Desmond, and he is an amazing person, too Please read this book and tell your friends about it There needs to be changes made to the welfare system in the United States People should not be living in filth and squalor like this with little chance of moving up Children should not be shuffled around from school to school, either The author suggests a universal housing voucher program made cost efficient We need change in the United States and we need it now Many thanks to my local friend Cindy for putting this book in my hands WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE Sherrena and Quentin always planned their vacations so that they were back before the first the month, when their days went long with eviction notices to pass out, new moves to manage, and rents to collect Because most of their tenants didn t have bank accounts, collecting rent was a face to face affair When Sheriff John walked into a house and saw mattresses on the floor, grease on the ceiling, cockroaches on the wall, and clothes, hair extensions, and toys scattered about, he didn t double check Sometimes tenants had already abandoned the place, leaving behind dead animals and rotting food Sometimes the movers puked The first rule of evictions, Sheriff John like to say, is never open the fridge When things were especially bad, when an apartment was covered in trash or dog shit, or when one of the guys would find a needle, Dave would nod and say Junk in , leaving the mess for the landlord Arleen s children did not always have food Arlene was not always able to offer them stability stability cost too much She was not always able to protect them from dangerous streets those streets were her streets Arleen sacrifice for her boys, feed them the best she could, clothed them with what she had When they wanted than she could give, she had ways, some subtle, others not, of telling them they didn t deserve it When Jori wanted something most teenagers wanted, new shoes or a hair products, she would tell him he was selfish, or just bad The Hinkstons expected from their landlord for the money they were paying her Rent was their biggest expense by far, and they wanted a decent functional home in return They wanted things to be fixed when they broke But if Sherrena wasn t going to repair her own property, neither were they The house failed the tenants, and the tenants failed the house While my heartstrings were being pulled yanked twisted..my mind was in a tug a war Poverty in America is horrendous.sad.ugly.and real The stories in this book made it clear families are living in filth, families are hungry, they are being uplifted time and time again the poor innocent children breaks your heart I actually felt bad for both sides though, too the tenants and the landlords I saw each story a little different the overall problem is a crisis and maybe the vouchers would work.but what s the answer to people living in the house as drug addicts My eyebrows raised when I thought about the women that had 3 kids by 3 different men I just think it s maddening.There are definitely people who run into very difficult times and need help but in some cases using drugs, buying cigarettes and lobster might not be the best example of being fully responsible in helping oneself My mind was split at times on the horrible problem Evicted addressesas it s natural to wish there was the right solution.but is there Landlords need to pay their bills but this book shows the MASSIVE CRISIS that an eviction can cause a person who is already living under the poverty line.Very disturbing problem this book addresses it latches on to all my anger frustrating and powerless feeling brain cells Evicted is eye opening ongoing EYE OPENING.but I m not sure I agree that the vouchers will fix the problem. It is no surprise that Evicted was the University Wisconsin Madison s Go Big Red book read for 2016, a book chosen by the chancellor and worked into campus wide discussions and events Set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, it examines the lives of a number of people who deal with eviction and the property owners To those outside the state, it might be less obvious how state politics have played into the background of many of the people in Evicted but suffice to say, the once independent State of Wisconsin has fallen on conservative and judgemental times.At any rate, for non fiction book littered with references, it is extremely readable Done in a ethnographic style, it reminds me of Nickel and Dimed On Not Getting By in America Read these two back to back and I willguarantee you will go to bed thankful Like Enrich, Desmond tried to walk the talk by living in the trailer park he writes about by renting and living close to the subjects of the book, and by tailing the landlords as much as possible The last chapter of the book before the footnotes is an About the Project section that details his own history, his goals and his structure in writing the book I actually think it should be the first chapter, as it lends explanation and context to his sources and the style of writing For those who might be scared off by the voluminous footnotes, I recommend peeking at them many are actually commentary or elaborations on some of the personal details Definitely not one I would have wanted to read on Kindle.Unlike Nickel and Dimed, much of Desmond s material will be controversial, perhaps only serving to reinforce stereotypes about poor people In some ways, perhaps, this might be one of those books that says just about as much about the reviewer as the subject Being entirely honest with ourselves is hard, right , and it s easy to judge many of the people in the book Issue one, the simple one people without resources have high stakes and no cushion when they indulge or make mistakes as we all do For instance, I have a fat pile of COBRA paperwork waiting for me to read through it, and recently I spent 50 on chocolates for gifts for my personal references If I didn t deal with the COBRA paperwork, I d probably be fine unless I got in a traumatic car wreck , because I have prescriptions stocked, generally good health, financial resources and a job that will cover me in a month If a person in Evicted forgets to attend a caseworker appointment or forgets to file a change of address, they re screwed, because they will get no food stamps that month and have no saved resources to cushion them how can you save money when you only have 40 extra dollars a month Desmond does a decent job of making the costs of human indulgences clear, showing that the disabled, dishonorably discharged vet has exactly 40 dollars a month after rent, or that eating a lobster tail dinner means a month of ramen noodles Issue two, the complex one One of the most BRILLIANT and amazing things I ve read this year was an interview with Bruce Perry, psychologist about the long lasting effects of childhood trauma Read it here The essay talks quite a bit about what kind of constant physiological stress that does to the human brain, and how it changes learning and relationships Physiological stress can result in or even less reactive brain than one that has only smaller, intermittent amounts of stress leading to the million dollar question of how to we teach resilience A body that is always on alert because of safety issues, or a body that is always hungry is not one that will be in an environment of optimal function You see where I m going with this A majority of people in this story sprung from poverty They were born into it, had their brains wired by it, their coping skills and expectations structured by it They were set up to fail by traditional society Patricia s kids, the ones who are sharing a mattress on the floor in the living room Probably not going to be doctors and own the latest McMansion Not because they aren t capable of it, but their ongoing circumstances are going to continue to set them up to fail changing schools every time they move, missing school due to issues with housing resources, stress caused by having to find new housing every six months, the violence in the places they live, the lack of trustworthy relationships built where they live because how can you build them when you keep moving , and thus the cycle continues Desmond actually demonstrates impaired coping from ongoing stress when he shows how Arleen initially tries to deal with Crystal s generous but irrational moods and how Arleen eventually responds from a place of stress, anger and pride that makes the housing situation even worse I d even argue that Arleen was never set up to succeed in the first place from her childhood.Issue three, the other complex one addiction, that ongoing, ever present itch People will argue that heroin is a worse addiction I don t know you live long enough, you see addictions come in waves, like fads Meth was the rage in Wisconsin about ten years back Heroin is the hot drug these days Scott is the poster child for addiction in this book, a former nurse who got caught using and spiraled down You know how many sanctions are applied quarterly to nurses who use some kind of substance I d say over a hundred, at least WI Department of Regulation publishes a list of nurse sanctions and addiction related issues are by far the most common alcohol and drugs This is a horribly complex issue, and though Scott manages to rally after eviction, he falls again Now he s straight at the moment , thanks to a supportive recovering addicts residential housing program that also employs him You want to know about the homeless I meet Frequently addicts of some sort There are housing programs and shelters, but you have to be sober to get in, or stay sober for long term housing, and many addicts aren t willing to leave their addiction There aren t good answers for this one The trailer park Desmond lives in shows a little what a group of addicts living together must be like, how one of the residents goes door to door looking for a fix and knows he ll find it.Issue four, the last complex one mental illness Way back in Reagan era haha, I know you kids don t remember that , there was a huge movement to de institutionalize people with severe mental illness There are reasons for and against, but the upshot is that each community has to deal with how to care for a population that may not be able to adequately care for itself An excellent article gives some of the facts and figures that my own experience has demonstrated I d say about half of the people I ve had to take care of with schizophrenia have stopped taking their medication, which is part of what lands them in the hospital It s a well known and vicious cycle for people who are able to get access to medication meds make people feel better and in control, so they decide to stop the meds because they are feeling so great OR, the medications make people feel shittier, so they stop taking them Either way, the result is uncontrolled mental illness Desmond has a poster child for this one too, Crystal, who despite a consistent SSDI check and support from her faith community, frequently ends up evicted due to fighting with other tenants.What is less easy to see is how many of the people in the book are political pawns Newly imposed trailer park management and local police response to nuisance properties show how political stances have real and unintended consequences contributing to eviction The City of Madison was dealing with this in the past several years as well, finally forcing one of the local slumlords into cleaning up his properties that resulted in many being placed on the market He like landlords in the book argued he was providing housing for people too poor to rent elsewhere, unable to get housing due to criminal history or prior evictions latest story All of that said, somehow the slumlords have squeezed hundreds of thousands of dollars out of their properties I think the Madison one has a portfolio of over SIX million dollars, much like the trailer park owner in Evicted while letting the tenants live in conditions you d be furious to see at the local shelter.Desmond has a few suggestions First, is research, because good policies should be informed by reality His studies were one of the few looking at eviction and poverty More documentation should be done on it s effects in the neighborhood and on longer lasting effects He mentions people who are evicted end up having higher levels of material hardships for up to two years after eviction His immediate suggestion is better court advocates and legal aid which is being cut for those facing eviction so that they can help prevent evictions and further needless homelessness His ethical suggestion is that we recognize housing as a basic human right, not a mechanism of exploitation As I mentioned in my own Madison example, while the slumlords may claim they are providing at least some kind of housing, they aren t doing it as a public service His solution is expanding housing vouchers for all low income families, not just a small number are eligible for a voucher that can be used for anywhere that is decent, modest and fairly priced I m not sure Desmond is recognizing the things he experienced with Sherrena the landlord commenting on how taking voucher families was a pain because the buildings had to be up to code This is the part where I also think he is ignoring the roles that addiction and mental illness play in housing as well Still, he s offering something as a solution, and in an area that has the potential to negatively impact both individuals and communities, it s worth trying a solution or three or twenty til we can get it right Overall, an excellent book that provides much information for consideration and discussion Highly recommended. I recalled that last year that author Roxane Gay was asked what was the last book that made you furious She said Evicted, by Matthew Desmond My God, what that book lays bare about American poverty It is devastating and infuriating and a necessary read So true I continue to think this book says oodles than Hillbilly Elegy A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis about poverty, class, and the American Dream I try to remember to sing this last stanza of Pretty Boy Floyd, the song by Woody Guthrie, the week we work on poverty in Introductory Sociology Yes, as through this world I ve wanderedI ve seen lots of funny men Some will rob you with a six gun,And some with a fountain pen.And as through your life you travel,Yes, as through your life you roam,You won t never see an outlawDrive a family from their home.Often this shocks students to consider the inhumane way we regularly treat each other, and that the it s just business attitude can drive many families into homelessness and shelter living The lyrics focus us on the nature of criminality, and whether acts are ethical even if legal, etc..The best type of qualitative, sociological analysis, Desmond tugs at our heartstrings until we ache with relentless story after story of people who are evicted from their homes Having a secure place to live provides us with human dignity, and most developed countries guarantee a place to stay by virtue of the fact of being a member of that society Not so in the wealthiest country in the world In the US, we can still remember Ronald Reagan with his arm around a homeless man, agreeing with him that most people who are homeless choose to be so We tend to blame people for their own circumstances quite resolutely The cover is this book is powerful enough Indeed, I had it several days before realizing the picture was one of a wall of vacated home, showing the lighter places once pictures were taken off their hooks I had a number of students star at the book cover as it was here on my desk for quite a while, and they often asked about the picture, also slow to recognize it Our hesitancy to come to recognize and come to grips with the pain of a family, often, losing a home speaks volumes in itself Desmond brings us into the lives of many in Milwaukee during the time directly after the 08 crash and in the midst of the major home foreclosure crisis, and while he garners some sympathy for landlords, who reasonable only want to get paid for rent, what is clear is that no one can live a productive much less meaningful life while worrying how to provide shelter for yourself and your family.I was reminded of Michael Moore s lament that increasingly the working class became the Man , the landlord, as Rustbelt workers with good paying jobs through the 70s rented out basement apartments and invested in rental real estate Moore claimed this further separated the psychological perspectives as well as the actual living circumstances of the working poor renters from the lower middle class increasingly landlords themselves Please let me end with Hana s great review of Chain of Title How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street s Great Foreclosure Fraud that you can find here it is horrifying to learn that Trump has just appointed Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary, who personally benefited from the corruption of the foreclosure crisis in California In the US, we must be vigilant with ongoing crony capitalism that continues to gather the wealth of the 99% More and I m reminded of that old saying by Mellon the capitalist that it s during economic downturns when money flows back to its rightful owners. Whatever our way out of this mess, one thing is certain This degree of inequality, this withdrawal of opportunity, this cold denial of basic needs, this endorsement of pointless suffering by no American value is this situation justified No moral code or ethical principle, no piece of scripture or holy teaching, can be summoned to defend what we have allowed our country to become I begin this review with what is essentially the end of this book There is another piece after this that will have its own spotlight, but that quote above was the last paragraph of the epilogue And it was an epilogue I almost didn t listen to I believe there was an hour and forty three minutes remaining when the actual story ended I wasn t necessarily up for that I even considered it might be dead air How can an epilogue be that long Well, I would be remiss if I didn t tell you that the epilogue was mind blowing It was brilliant and in my opinion, the most important piece of this book, which in itself is a tremendous feat of research, dedication, drive, exploration and human kindness Herein lie the issues in laymen s terms along with some very intelligent and sensible suggestions for policy changes and steps toward solutions The story itself was devastating but necessary I live worlds away from what was described in these pages so the truth of it, the unforgiving honesty in the facts was equal parts shocking and depressing It is undeniable that the system is tremendously flawed The eviction process, the landlords, the tenants were all characters jockeying for position in a cyclical nightmare Although always interested, at one point I realized that one story blended into the next It became challenging to remember who was where, until I realized that it s truly such a blurtake out this person, insert that personand my heart broke a little bit In the section following the epilogue entitled About This Project, the author details how he collected the data and how the project has impacted him view spoiler Though it was mentioned on the book jacket that this was embedded research, I still found the most impactful statement to be I moved into Tobin s trailer park in May 2008 hide spoiler Matthew Desmond s research driven prose is a dazzling work of examination and insight Within these pages, the business and culture of evictions is dissected down to the very dollars and cents that uphold this thriving industry The judicial system and the role it plays is scrutinized, and the lives of 8 families are put on intimate display for readers to bear witness to Within the pages of Eviction, Desmond paints a clandestine portrait of the precarious lives of those living at and below the poverty line in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during the time of his research The survey into this little known world is done first hand, with the aid of a tape recorder, and thus is the most personal and complete look at modern American poverty that I have read in a long time Here, readers will follow the desolate, the addicted, the impoverished and the lords who shape their lives in these dangerous and volatile social environments called homes This book unveiled some of the most stunningly accurate vernacular and dialogue that I have seen anywhere, non fiction or fictionNote to self if you want to really capture the essence of a culture, use a tape recorderWith this simple technique, Desmond was able to capture the true personification of the frustration and despair, of their interactions and intentions, and, hence, the dialogue told a story all of its own within these pages It told a story of where these people came from and how they truly related to one another on a human level He captured the true swag of these neighborhoods, the soul and essence that can t be seen at first passing glance out of a car window The research in Evicted was expertly incorporated so that it read as fluidly in narrative as a fiction novel, and it was incorporated throughout, which was great, because it allowed the reader to absorb the information with illustrations of narration to make it easier and faster to digest It also allowed for a read that wasn t leaden with factoids, reading like a dry and tedious text book The lives he chose to chronicle and exhibit were harrowing and demonstrative of humanity s capacity to fail and to survive, to overcome and to find comfort in community It also pulled back the curtains on this booming industry that both exploits the poor and treats them as expendable members of society In Evicted, Desmond dissected a truth that goes back to the Civil Rights Movement when Fair Housing laws were enacted Stirring and emotional, this read holds a shiny mirror to the face of America Similar to the PIC Prison Industrial Complex the eviction process, nay culture, is a vicious and debilitating cycle with ripple effects into communities This expos displayed how crime and evictions go hand in hand, each leading to the other with alarming frequency, a form of institutionalized parasitism on the poor at the hands of the judicial system and slum lords in the instances where there are, in fact, slum lords Here, Desmond portrays both the crimes that lead to evictions and the evictions that foster a bed of crimes This work really appealed to me when I read its blurb, and it did not disappoint It was not a traumatically graphic read, but it was all consuming Vignette after vignette portrayed the mental and emotional anguish that living at the poverty line heaps on it dwellers so that the only reprieve came in the form of spirited dialogue and intimate conversations between those he chronicled and their family and friends and from the research that clarified the stats behind their suffering, which was interspersed throughout Other than that, there was no reprieve from the grief, struggling and suffering and, in a way, I think that that was not only the point of this read but, in many ways, an intellectual profit to the reader Within these pages, those who could never in their own everyday lives imagine such hardships will be transported over the imaginary line that exists in all cities the line between the haves and the have nots That is a line that everyone should cross at some time, so pick up this read preparing to take a journey Evicted gained itself a strong 4 stars I received a copy of Evicted Poverty and Profit in the American City from the publisher, Crown, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.The Navi Review Blog Twitter Instagram New York Times BestsellerFrom Harvard Sociologist And MacArthur Genius Matthew Desmond, A Landmark Work Of Scholarship And Reportage That Will Forever Change The Way We Look At Poverty In AmericaIn This Brilliant, Heartbreaking Book, Matthew Desmond Takes Us Into The Poorest Neighborhoods Of Milwaukee To Tell The Story Of Eight Families On The Edge Arleen Is A Single Mother Trying To Raise Her Two Sons On The 20 A Month She Has Left After Paying For Their Rundown Apartment Scott Is A Gentle Nurse Consumed By A Heroin Addiction Lamar, A Man With No Legs And A Neighborhood Full Of Boys To Look After, Tries To Work His Way Out Of Debt Vanetta Participates In A Botched Stickup After Her Hours Are Cut All Are Spending Almost Everything They Have On Rent, And All Have Fallen Behind The Fates Of These Families Are In The Hands Of Two Landlords Sherrena Tarver, A Former Schoolteacher Turned Inner City Entrepreneur, And Tobin Charney, Who Runs One Of The Worst Trailer Parks In Milwaukee They Loathe Some Of Their Tenants And Are Fond Of Others, But As Sherrena Puts It, Love Don T Pay The Bills She Moves To Evict Arleen And Her Boys A Few Days Before Christmas Even In The Most Desolate Areas Of American Cities, Evictions Used To Be Rare But Today, Most Poor Renting Families Are Spending Than Half Of Their Income On Housing, And Eviction Has Become Ordinary, Especially For Single Mothers In Vivid, Intimate Prose, Desmond Provides A Ground Level View Of One Of The Most Urgent Issues Facing America Today As We See Families Forced Into Shelters, Squalid Apartments, Or Dangerous Neighborhoods, We Bear Witness To The Human Cost Of America S Vast Inequality And To People S Determination And Intelligence In The Face Of Hardship Based On Years Of Embedded Fieldwork And Painstakingly Gathered Data, This Masterful Book Transforms Our Understanding Of Extreme Poverty And Economic Exploitation While Providing Fresh Ideas For Solving A Devastating, Uniquely American Problem Its Unforgettable Scenes Of Hope And Loss Remind Us Of The Centrality Of Home, Without Which Nothing Else Is Possible From The Hardcover Edition. Find all of my reviews at book This book was Per usual when I read a good hardcover, 1 I failed to watch my children play in their baseball games and instead kept my tunnel vision pointed directly at the book and 2 the flagging of the pages happened which made all of the parents around me give me the that b % be cray look Buuuuuuuuuuuut as also per usual, I m not really going to quote anything that I post it noted After reading Evicted I was left with one reaction If you really want to provide yourself a justifiable excuse to hate the human race, this is the book for you Evicted follows the lives of several people living in poverty and trying or not, as the case may be to get ahead From Sharrena the slumlord, to her tenants Lamar a man who lost his legs when they froze while he was high, and Arleen a woman who already lost children to the system, but is trying to hold on to her two youngest, to Tobin the owner of a trailer park and Lenny the property manager of sorts, to Scott a former nurse who got addicted to drugs and couldn t stop the downward spiral, to Larraine the resident looney tune of the park Matthew Desmond immersed himself into the lives of these people living with them rather than just conducting a few interviews and going back to his comfortable lifestyle The story he presents is one that reads like a novel rather than non fiction Filled with dialogue and experiences rather than statistics it was a truly un put down able read and it allowed me the opportunity to confirm what I ve known for quite some time now Every single person in this story was despicable in at least one way, shape or form and made it impossible to ever really feel sorry for them You want to side with the landlord who is getting screwed over by tenants who don t pay the rent, but manage to buy dope, smokes and booze but at the same time you want to kick her ass for charging people to live in uninhabitable conditions literally, a house she was charging 600 for was CONDEMNED You also want to feel for the mother who has 20 left to her name after paying rent until she opens her mouth and proves she believes she is owed something for doing nothing and takes advantage over and over again of ANY generosity shown to her You feel for Larraine, because obviously she is in need of some mental health services until she becomes one of the oldest clich s in the history of the food stamp recipient who spends her entire month s sum on one lobster and king crab dinner I could go on and on The lesson to be learned here is glaringly obvious The system is broken It s been broken since the Five Points were built in the 1800s and it s not getting any better Evicted didn t spend time getting preachy or even offering up than a couple of suggestions on how to potentially relieve some of the pressure on the impoverished It just laid everything out there in black and white and that is maybe the most compelling argument of all Review copy received from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. Wow, this is a powerful look at what it means to be poor in America The book follows eight families in the Milwaukee area, all facing eviction problems Some of the families are white, some are black, some have children All of them struggled to pay the monthly rent, which seemed ridiculously high for the broken down places they got 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 70 percent to paying the rent and keeping the lights on Millions of Americans are evicted every year because they can t make rent.Matthew Desmond, who is a sociology professor at Harvard, spent time living among the families and following their routines He also interviewed and followed two landlords His research and writing took years, and it shows in the quality of his work.I listened to this book on audio, but I m glad I had a print copy to refer to because there were dozens of amazing passages I marked There were things in this book that made me gasp in shock Several times I swore at the injustice of it all In the end, Desmond offers some possible solutions to improve the housing and eviction problems in this country Evicted reminded me of two other great books about class and poverty Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrereich, in which she sees how challenging it is to work and survive on minimum wages and Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo, which follows poor families in a slum in Mumbai Evicted is a worthy addition to the research on poverty, and I highly recommend it What Made Me AngryI m going to rant a little about some of the issues I learned from this book One part that made me drop the F bomb because I couldn t believe the insanity of it, was how tenants in the inner city can actually be penalized and evicted if they call 911 too many times In this book, a young woman named Crystal hears a neighbor woman being beaten by her boyfriend, and Crystal calls 911 But the Milwaukee Police determine that too many 911 calls have come from Crystal s apartment, and they notify the landlord in this paragraph I ll call her a slumlord, since she exploited her tenants and did next to nothing to make the urban properties livable The slumlord tells police she ll evict the tenants, which is eventually what happens Desmond says this problem happens ALL THE TIME He says battered women face a devil s bargain Keep quiet and face abuse, or call the police and face eviction What The Fuck Oh I almost forgot the most enraging part At one point, the Milwaukee police chief held a news conference to address the high number of women who ve been killed in domestic violence incidents, and he expresses disbelief at how few of the victims contacted the police department You ve got to be fucking kidding me Guy, it s your department s own backward policies that are helping to kill those women I was also furious about how the slumlords exploited their impoverished tenants, and refused to invest any money in the properties to make them livable It was deplorable behavior And the fact that the slumlords claim they re helping the tenants, and trying to do good in the neighborhood, is seriously questionable.There was also an eye opening section on the poverty mentality, and how those who are deeply impoverished aren t necessarily poor because they throw money away, but they throw money away because they are poor Those in deep poverty lack hope that their situation will ever improve Their argument is What s the point of saving a few dollars by denying myself a few luxuries such as cable TV, or a nice dinner if I m always going to be broke, and always struggling to make the rent They re trying to live in color for just a little bit Of course, it s easy for those of us with a financial safety net and loved ones who could help us in times of trouble to look down on those at the bottom and frown on them But unless you ve been so low that you have no hope for tomorrow, it s difficult to judge those in deep despair.Great Passages Evictions embroil not only landlord and tenants but also kin and friends, lovers and ex lovers, judges and lawyers, dope suppliers and church elders Eviction s fallout 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 Eviction reveals people s vulnerability and desperation, as well as their ingenuity and guts 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 It was next to impossible for people to survive deep poverty on their own If you could not rely on your family, you could reach out to strangers, make disposable ties But it was a lot to ask of someone you barely knew There was always something worse than the trailer park, always room to drop lower Substandard housing was a blow to your psychological health not only because things like dampness, mold, and overcrowding could bring about depression but also because of what living in awful conditions told you about yourself Poverty could pile on living it often meant steering through gnarled thickets of interconnected misfortunes and trying not to go crazy There were moments of calm, but life on balance was facing one crisis after another The home is the center of life It is a refuge from the grind of work, the pressure of school, and the menace of the streets We say that at home, we can be ourselves Everywhere else, we are someone else At home, we remove our masks The persistence and brutality of American poverty can be disheartening, leaving us cynical about solutions But a good home can serve as the sturdiest of footholds When people have a place to live, they become better parents, workers, and citizens. This is definitely not Good Times I didn t realize until I read the afterward that the author of this book put himself right into the middle of the people he portrays lives He gave them rides to look for houses, he even loaned them small amounts of money at times He admits that he misses living in the trailer park among them This book I hope people get it and read it I ve been on a smart book kick lately and I ve starred them all pretty highly but this one is just amazing Desmond knocks it out of the ballpark You can tell he puts his whole heart into telling these stories.Now the stories..they are real people You have to keep reminding yourself of that as you read this book because no one is perfect, they all mess up and the writing is so good that you feel like you are just reading a really good work of fiction.Set in Milwaukee, he tells the stories of families.Lamar, who has no legs Takes in all his boys from the neighborhood and they work to help him just try and get ahead.Scott, a nurse from the trailer park He gets addicted to drugs and ends up homeless because he can t see past the addiction and feels so overwhelmed with all that he would have to do in order to just get clean and hopefully get his nursing license back.Scott had gotten high with Pam and Ned shortly before they received their eviction notice and had moved in a hurry Scott figured they had gotten what was coming to them In his old life, before the fall, he might have been sympathetic But he had come to view sympathy as a kind of na vet , a sentiment voiced from a certain distance by the callow middle classes They can be compassionate because it s not their only option, he said of liberals who didn t live in trailer parks.Vanetta, she is waiting on her court case because she and a friend robbed some women at gunpoint because she needs to support her children.Sherrena and her husband, landlords in the ghetto They get frustrated with the people they rent to and sometimes try and help but it s a vicious circle They feel like the people they try to help just want to take and take They don t want to have to spend out the money to fix anything in their properties because why bother It s just going to get destroyed again.Tobin, runs a shabby run down trailer park He doesn t have time to listen to excuses Just give him the money.Arleen, she had lost her older children to foster care and is struggling to hold on to her remaining two but it seems like the odds are always stacked against this woman She broke my heart It seemed like when things would go well for her that it was just a matter of time When Jori wanted something most teenagers want, new shoes or a hair product, she would tell him he was selfish or just bad When Jafaris cried, Arleen sometimes yelled, Damn, you hardheaded Dry yo face up or Stop it, Jafaris, before I beat yo ass I m tired of your bitch ass You could only say I m sorry, I can t so many times before you began to feel worthless, edging closer to the breaking point So you protected yourself, in a reflexive way, by finding ways to say No, I won t I cannot help you So, I will find you unworthy of help.Larraine, she frustrates the people around her with her inability to manage what little money she does get My aunt Larraine is one of those people who will see some two hundred dollar beauty cream that removes her wrinkles and will go and buy it instead of paying her rent To Sammy, Pastor Daryl, and others, Larraine was poor because she threw money away But the reverse was true Larraine threw money away because she was poor.This book gives perspective We need some changes in welfare reform Don t think it couldn t happen to you eitherIt made me very appreciative of what I have Booksource Blogging for Books in exchange for review. Reviews for this book are pretty high and I completely see why My friend Joanne s is another that found this book amazing.