Evicted is an ethnographic study of tenants in the low-income housing areas of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Matthew Desmond, a Harvard sociologist, narrates the story of eight families clinging to the edge of low-wage employment.
Arleen Belle is a black, single mother who falls behind on rent. Her landlady, Sherrena Tarver, moves to evict her and her boys, a few days before Christmas. Arleen is left into the coldest Milwaukee winter on record to find her family a new home. In a short period, she rents several squalid apartments, faces evictions, crashes with friends, and is forced to live in shelters.
Through Arlene's story, Desmond provides a ground-level view of evictions, one of the most urgent issues facing America today. Evictions trap America’s poor into a cycle of poverty, ill-health, and instability. Single mothers, like Arleen, are the worst sufferers. They bear the cost of running the house and the responsibility of raising children. They are paid less than men for the same amount of work, and they are often unable to make deals with landlords.
Arleen's story transforms our understanding of the centrality of home and determination in the face of hardships.