Evicted by Matthew Desmond (A Book Review)


I have worked with low income families in the welfare system for the past 15 years. I have seen firsthand how poverty devastates parents, children, and communities. It is difficult to sit with individuals that have lost hope and can’t seem to overcome barriers such as lack of education, housing instability, childcare issues, transportation and employment problems.

Housing instability is one area I have not had much experience with since we generally refer clients out to the agencies that handle that. I am familiar with homelessness and know many people, including my wife, that work with organizations that serve the homeless population. The impact of housing on individuals and families is brought into clear focus with Matthew Desmond’s new book.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City brings the reader into the daily lives of both landlords and tenants of low-income housing. This well researched book provides a close look at the cycle of housing instability from both sides of the fence, those being evicted and those doing the evicting.  Written in an easy to read style, Desmond enters into the personal lives of landlords and the business side of housing, showing how money is made from people with no money. The eviction process and its effects is described in detail, making it understandable how housing instability perpetuates itself. Desmond also enters the lives of the evicted and we get to hear their stories and feel their pain.

If you are interested in learning more about poverty and housing barriers for the poor, this book would be a good place to start. Packed with real life stories about real people and events, this book will educate you on this issue plaguing our nation. Desmond also provides a large note section at the end of the book for anyone wanting to do further reading and research on the topic. I thought I had a good grasp on this issue until I read this book.  This is an area that the church can and should be more involved in. This will involve getting our hands dirty as we help broken families and communities in getting out of the cycle of housing instability and restored.

I received this book from  Blogging for Books in exchange for  an honest review.