Evicted Book Summary - Evicted Book explained in key points
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Evicted summary

Matthew Desmond

Poverty and Profit in the American City

4 (54 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

'Evicted' by Matthew Desmond is a powerful non-fiction book that provides an eye-opening look into the lives of low-income renters in America. It highlights the devastating effects of eviction on people's lives and the urgent need for policy change.

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    Evictions have become an everyday occurrence in today’s low-income neighborhoods.

    Here’s an all-too-common scene in cities and towns across the United States: clothes, toys and other personal belongings strewn across a front lawn or sidewalk – the scattered remnants of another family evicted by their landlord and forced from their home.  

    This year, the number of people left without a home after running into difficulties paying rent could reach the millions.

    You might think that a typical low-income family in the United States should be able to get by living in public housing or some form of housing assistance. But in reality, benefits like these are scarce; in fact, only one out of every four qualified recipients will receive any assistance at all.

    But when it comes to evictions, it can be hard to calculate an exact number.

    In Milwaukee, we know that over the course of three years, one-eighth of all the city’s tenants faced eviction. However, census data can overlook a lot of evictions, since a considerable number aren’t formally processed by the housing courts that handle disputes between property owners and tenants.

    No matter how you count it, evictions are a national problem. In 2012, New York City courts handled almost 80 eviction cases every day.

    That same year, one out of every nine individuals or households renting a property in Cleveland, Ohio, received an eviction summons to appear in housing court. And in Chicago, it was one in 14.

    But the housing situation in the United States wasn’t always this dire.

    Even though the struggle to come up with rent money is nothing new, it used to be rare for landlords to resort to evictions – even during the Great Depression. During the 1930s and 40s, records show that an eviction led to the kind of community resistance that would cause a scandal for the landlord.

    This is what happened in February of 1932, when a landlord tried to evict three families in the Bronx. A thousand people took to the streets in protest, and the New York Times made a point of noting that it would have been a bigger crowd if it weren’t for the freezing cold temperatures.

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    What is Evicted about?

    Evicted (2016) tells the heartbreaking story of the individuals and families who struggle to get by in the United States’ poorest cities. Despite their best efforts, many of these people have fallen into a vicious cycle of poverty that has left them at the mercy of greedy property owners who don’t hesitate to evict families at the slightest provocation. To take a closer look at the details of their lives, we’ll focus on the inner city of Milwaukee and the tenants and landlords who populate this deeply segregated area.   

    Evicted Review

    Evicted (2016) by Matthew Desmond delves deep into the overlooked crisis of housing instability and poverty in America. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • With meticulous research and intimate storytelling, it uncovers the heartbreaking reality of eviction and its far-reaching consequences.
    • The book sheds light on the structural inequalities that perpetuate housing instability, sparking important conversations about systemic change.
    • By putting a human face on the issue through real-life stories, the book captures the complex emotions and challenges faced by those in poverty.

    Best quote from Evicted

    Since 1995, the average price of rent has increased more than 70 percent.

    —Matthew Desmond
    example alt text

    Who should read Evicted?

    • Sociologists
    • Students of urban planning and political science
    • Local politicians, leaders and policy makers

    About the Author

    Matthew Desmond is a sociology professor at Harvard University and co-director of the Justice and Poverty Project. In 2015, he was the recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant. He is also the author of the award-winning book On the Fireline, and other books dealing with race and poverty.

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    Evicted FAQs 

    What is the main message of Evicted?

    The main message of Evicted is the devastating impact of eviction on low-income families.

    How long does it take to read Evicted?

    The reading time for Evicted varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Evicted a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Evicted is a thought-provoking book that sheds light on the housing crisis in America. It's definitely worth reading for its eye-opening insights.

    Who is the author of Evicted?

    Matthew Desmond is the author of Evicted.

    What to read after Evicted?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Evicted, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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