Matthew Desmond’s book should be required reading for a nation that often looks away and ignores the poor among us. Evicted is based on the fieldwork and research Desmond conducted over many years, and the book focuses on several families and their struggles to find safe and suitable housing in Milwaukee.
“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.”
One cannot look at the problems of poverty and eviction without also considering the topic of race and Desmond notes, “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.”
The stories in Evicted are compelling and filled with heartbreak and sadness, but also hope, and Desmond offers readers potential solutions to deal with the lack of acceptable and affordable housing options for the poor, along with an invitation to get involved at justshelter.org.
After being confronted with the harsh reality of inequality, a lack of opportunity, and the needless suffering by so many of our neighbors, we are asked to consider our responsibility for the poor and what we envision for America. Desmond concludes, “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.”