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In the book Evicted, author Matthew Desmond perseus the lives of eight families in which are all renting units from landlords in places such as trailer parks and apartments. These eight families consists of a double amputee father, two single mothers caring for their children, couples who have a child on the way, along with a young woman who has recently got out of foster care. Eviction has an effect on many things such as the family, community, along with so much more.
Eviction has many effects on the family, community, landlords, as well as tenants.
Evictions can cause loss. Families not only lose their homes, but often families lose their belongings, which are auctioned off or taken by movers, and many families can’t afford to regain their possessions. Children of evicted families lose their schools as well as the family loses the community they were once apart of. This causes it to be destabilizing for everyone. After eviction, families are pushed into worse housing along with worse neighborhoods.
In these new neighborhoods often times there is higher poverty rates as well as higher crime rates then the the evicted families were dealing with before. Eviction can also cause families to lose their source of income. One reason for the loss of jobs can be because of having to relocate to a new area. Along with another reason being the stressful situation of being evicted. Lastly, eviction is often known to cause health problems as well as suicide. “Between 2005 and 2010, suicide attributed to evictions and foreclosures doubled around the country.
” (suicide article)
There’s a lot less data how it affects communities, but we’re seeing that evictions can fray the fabric of a community. We have some evidence in Milwaukee that neighborhoods with higher eviction rates have higher violent crime rates the next year. We kind of see that as evidence of, of kind of a ripple effect or a destabilizing effect of evictions on entire neighborhoods. And then landlords. One cost that’s often talked about with landlords is just the financial cost of evictions, the cost of tenant turnover. The cost of evictions varies a lot, but it could be for landlords an expensive process as well. Among the costs for landlords as well is the emotional costs of an eviction.
Home is the center of life. It’s the wellspring of personhood. It’s where we say we’re ourselves. Everywhere else we are someone else, but at home we remove our masks. Home is where children find safety and security, where we find our identities, where citizenship starts. It usually starts with believing you’re part of a community, and that is essential to having a stable home. This is why without stable shelter, everything else falls apart. Arleen and her children getting evicted on a day that was one of the coldest days in Milwaukee history — it was 40 degrees below with the wind chill. Being on evictions and seeing these people’s faces, just being overcome with the fact that their home was no longer their home. Along with eviction comes a lot of generosity, a lot of humor and a lot of spunk and courage in the face of adversity. There’s a scene in the book that always moves me. It’s of these two women, Vanetta and Crystal, in a McDonald’s. They were homeless and they were eating lunch, and they saw a boy walk in. He didn’t go to order, he went around looking for scraps at the table. He was hungry. These two women, who were homeless, pooled their money, bought him lunch, gave him a hug and sent him on his way. Those moments showed me just how clearly people refuse to be reduced to their hardships. I would call it having heart.
Even more wrenching are the broader consequences. A single eviction has the power to “destabilize multiple city blocks,” as trust between neighbors evaporates and communities are effectively shattered. (70) Many evictees harbor resentment towards their new neighborhoods and fail to realize that their new living conditions are more than a temporary setback: most landlords refuse to accept anyone with an eviction record. As time drags on, self-worth drops. Depression and suicide climb. Children flit from one school to the next. The fear of eviction in itself forces horrific decisions. In the book’s most stomach-churning chapter, Desmond finds that women in situations of domestic violence are less likely to report their abusers to the police. Such 911 calls are designated “nuisances”—the same label as noise complaints and loud arguments. Three nuisance calls in the space of a month result in a citation to the landlord, whose usual solution is simply to evict the problem tenant—even when her attacker does not live with her. Many women are thus faced with what Desmond terms a “devil’s bargain: keep quiet and face abuse, or call the police and face eviction.” (192)
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