Thursday, March 8, 2018

Affordable Housing Crisis

A few resources I want to share as I do prep work for my Social Stratification course:

1. PBS documentary (55 minutes) that gives insights into the world of affordable housing development industry. Raises many important issues: rising rents but not rising incomes, residential segregation, policies regarding assistance for housing, and discrimination faced by people who try to use housing vouchers to help pay for their housing.

2. Q & A with Matthew Desmond. Here's an excerpt:
"I just think that without stable shelter, everything else falls apart. If you are a typical poor working family today, you are spending at least half of your income on housing costs, and sometimes you are spending 60, 70 percent of your income just on rent and utilities. Under those conditions, you are unable to buy enough food sometimes, to afford enough to be stable in the community. And you face eviction at a really high rate, which not only can result in you losing your home, but can result in you losing all sorts of other stuff, too, like your possessions, your school, your community."
3. Desmond's writing about the eviction epidemic in a New Yorker piece.

An excerpt:
"For decades, social scientists, journalists, and policymakers have focussed on jobs, public assistance, parenting, and mass incarceration as the central problems faced by the American poor, overlooking just how deeply housing is implicated in the creation of poverty. Not everyone living in a distressed neighborhood is associated with gang members, parole officers, employers, social workers, or pastors. But nearly everyone has a landlord."
"Women from black neighborhoods made up less than ten per cent of Milwaukee’s population but nearly a third of its evicted tenants. If incarceration had come to define the lives of men from impoverished black neighborhoods, eviction was shaping the lives of women. Poor black men were locked up. Poor black women were locked out."

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