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caroline-harrison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sherrena Tarver is the landlord of several of the individuals in Evicted, including Matthew Desmond, the author. Sherrena was originally a teacher, and she met her husband, Quentin Tarver, when he pulled her over at a traffic stop. After several years together, Sherrena was feeling dissatisfied with her job and attempted to start a daycare business. When her daycare venture failed, Sherrena set her sights on real estate and began purchasing run-down properties in urban Milwaukee. Sherrena quickly discovered that she could make a lot of money renting to poor black individuals. Apartments in the run-down inner city can often be rented at the same rates as properties in nicer areas. However, inner-city apartments do not have to be well maintained, because prospective tenants are poor and desperate for any type of housing. In fact, many poor or black individuals are completely shut out from nicer neighborhoods, where buildings often reject individuals with past evictions or criminal records. Sherrena’s real estate business quickly grew, and she began to manage multiple properties. Her husband, Quentin, eventually left his job as a police officer to become a property manager in their new buildings. Sherrena is not wholly uncaring, but it is impossible to ignore the fact that she profits from the misfortune of her tenants. Ultimately, Sherrena evicts Lamar, Arleen, Patrice, Doreen, and Crystal.

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