What challenges does Arleen face when trying to get approved for subsidized housing in Evicted?

In Evicted, the challenges that Arleen faces when trying to get approved for subsidized housing include the small number of eligible housing units, the high deposit required, her unstable situation, and her low income.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Matthew Desmond’s Evicted, Arleen Belle faces numerous challenges in her quest to achieve occupancy of a housing unit that is subsidized by the city of Milwaukee. The interconnected relevant factors include the scarcity of eligible housing and the requirement of a large deposit prior to her moving into the apartment, should she be assigned one. The overall instability of her situation is another obstacle, which is closely related to her low income.

The fact that relatively few housing units are eligible for the subsidy program means that there a very long wait list—more than 3,000 people—are waiting for their assignments. If she were to eventually reach the top of this list and be assigned a unit, the Housing Authority would require one month’s rent as a deposit before she could assume occupancy.

Living on the public assistance that she receives to support her children, Arleen cannot save enough to pay a deposit. She also cannot afford to pay market rents, so she often makes temporary, shared arrangements and continually moves between residences. Her unpredictable schedule contributes to her missing appointments, which provides justification to case workers to reduce her monthly amount. This, in turn, further reduces her ability to secure public housing.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team