In Jason DeParle’s powerful book review of Matthew Desmond’s “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” DeParle paints viewers with stark before and after scenes of eviction. His review calls attention to the growing number of low-income households paying for rent with half of their income or more, and how this is also affecting lower middle class households. DeParle shares the story of Arlene, who spent 96 percent of her welfare check on an apartment but still could not afford keep the lights on. This resulted in her children being taken away by child welfare.
“Decent affordable shelter is a primal human need, and its disappearance is one of the most troubling results of growing inequality,” DeParle writes. DeParle notes that the shortage of low-income housing does not get the political and media attention it deserves. How can this be, when shelter is a primal human need? When neighborhoods are transient with people moving in and out, this can take a toll on the local school systems, employment opportunities, and crime.