Like many people on welfare, Arleen finds that her housing costs take a big bite into what little money she receives. At one of the many places she and her boys move into, her rent takes a massive 88 percent of her $628-a-month welfare check. None of the other places she lives in are all that reasonably priced either, despite their dilapidated states and the rough, crime-ridden neighborhoods in which they are situated.
Later on in Evicted, Arleen needs to find yet another place to live. She meets with a landlord called Carol outside a plain, one-bedroom apartment that she's renting out. Arleen doesn't like the apartment or the neighborhood, or the fact that her boys would have to switch schools yet again, thus disrupting their already disrupted education. But she'll take the place anyway. “A house is a house for now,” she thinks.
Carol starts asking Arleen some questions about her background. During the course of the interview, she finds out that Arleen's on welfare. Apparently, Arleen is depressed and the authorities put her on welfare as she's going to see a therapist once a week. They're trying to have her do a job search, but at the same time, they're also getting her to apply for SSI, Supplementary Security Income, the largest welfare program in the United States.