For two years, Harvard University social sciences professor Matthew Desmond embedded himself in two poor neighborhoods in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. What he found was a sobering fact of life: One of the struggling residents’ biggest challenges was holding on to a place to live. Eviction was a persistent threat.
And it exacted a heavy toll. A transient existence is known to affect children’s emotional well-being and performance in school. For adults, eviction can bring depression and subsequent job loss, material hardship, and future residential instability. “We are learning,” Desmond says, “that eviction is a cause, not just a condition, of poverty.”
A recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” grant in 2015, he details his experiences and findings in a discussion of his revealing book Evicted. Co-presented by Rainy Day Books.