How did Matthew Desmond meet the individuals he interviewed in Evicted?
Evicted is made up of Matthew Desmond’s firsthand observations of the urban poverty he witnessed while he was living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The events in Evicted take place from 2008–2009, the time period directly after the US housing market crash and the beginning of the Great Recession. While studying for his PhD at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Desmond begins his field work and moves into the College Home Mobile Park. Here he meets Scott, a former nurse who struggles with drug addiction. He also meets Larraine, a middle-aged woman who suffers from fibromyalgia, and Pam and Ned, two crack addicts. When Scott, Larraine, Pam, and Ned are all evicted from the mobile home park, Desmond and his friend Woo decide to look for an apartment in the North Side of Milwaukee. When they find an apartment, their new landlord is Sherrena Tarver, the owner of several inner-city apartment buildings. Through Sherrena, Desmond meets several tenants that live in Sherrena’s properties, including Arleen, Lamar, Patrice, Crystal, and Doreen. Ultimately, many of the individuals Desmond meets are evicted from their apartments because they cannot afford rent. One such individual is Arleen Belle, whose welfare check cannot cover both rent and utilities for the run-down apartment she shares with her sons. Eventually, Sherrena takes Arleen to eviction court, and Arleen’s sons are sent away to live with other family members.