Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City Quotes

Matthew Desmond

Quotes

“Lamar's labor was cheap, but he knew there were better deals to be had. When the plumbing broke, the roof leaked, or rooms needed painting, savvy inner-city landlords did not phone plumbers, roofers, or painters. They relied on two desperate and on-hand labor pools: tenants themselves and jobless men.”

“If poverty persists in America, it is not for lack of resources.”

“Our cities have become unaffordable to our poorest families, and this problem is leaving a deep and jagged scar on our next generation.”

“For almost a century, there has been broad consensus in America that families should spend no more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Until recently, most renting families met this goal. But times have changed—in Milwaukee and across America. Every year in this country, people are evicted from their homes not by the tens of thousands or even the hundreds of thousands but by the millions.”

“Poverty was a relationship, I thought, involving poor and rich people alike. To understand poverty, I needed to understand that relationship. This sent me searching for a process that bound poor and rich people together in mutual dependence and struggle. Eviction was such a process.”

“Eviction is a cause, not just a condition, of poverty.”

“It was an old tradition: landlords barring children from their properties. In the competitive postwar housing market of the late 1940s, landlords regularly turned away families with children and evicted tenants who got pregnant."

“The Hinkstons expected more of their landlord for the money they were paying her. Rent was their biggest expense by far, and they wanted a decent and functional home in return. They wanted things to be fixed when they broke. But if Sherrena wasn’t going to repair her own property, neither were they. The house failed the tenants, and the tenants...

(The entire section is 625 words.)