I never realized the incredible disparity between the housing support for the wealthy and the poor until I read the Evicted Review. In Evicted, Matthew Desmond points out that low-income families do not get nearly enough support from the government in order to keep their homes. Already these families have to strategically plan how to live paycheck to paycheck, something that most kids at Friends do not understand. It seems to me that now there is an increasing number of families that are beginning to face this issue, as Desmond also acknowledges. That combined with housing that sucks up over 80% of people’s paychecks is a recipe for disaster. Evicted begins with a story of a mother, Arleen, who is forced to spend up to 96% of her paycheck on housing. With that number, it is impossible to supply other necessities for her children, such as food or medicine. It is impossible to live on such an imbalanced distribution of money. I also never considered the fact that eviction supported the growth and reinforcement of poverty. Families such as Arleen’s are then forced to find cheaper housing, which usually means in poorer places, thus supporting the growing poverty. Eviction affects every part of people’s lives. Not only does it then jeopardize custody of people’s children, or their jobs, but it also hurts people’s mentality. Knowing that you cannot support your own family, despite your best efforts, can be incredibly degrading and embarrassing. There is a stigma in this country against getting help. People look down on those who need food stamps, even financial aid in some cases. The cut-throat, hard-working vision of an American is still embedded in people’s brains. However, a society and economy that demands ridiculous prices for basic necessities in fact requires assistance such as this. Unfortunately, there is not enough funding for this assistance despite an increasing number of people needing help. People are beginning to realize that support such as financial aid and food stamps is essential to get by. However, I was also taken aback by the fact that the government supports wealthier people with the subsidization for their housing as Desmond points out. But, it makes sense that the US would favor the wealthier through tax breaks and mortgage interest deduction. Breaking the cycle of poverty is essential. Many times, once families slip into poverty, it is nearly impossible to climb out of it. By getting evicted, children lose their sense of hope at an early age, strengthening that boundary to break out of the vicious cycle.
I know much of this has not directly affected me. I have been fortunate enough to have a roof over my head, and to attend an amazing school. I have never opened the cabinets only to not find anything. However, eviction is becoming a real possibility for more and more families. Students at Friends, and families with similar socioeconomic status cannot take what they have for granted. Eviction can strike out of nowhere. More and more people are being forced to spend more of their incomes on housing, whether they make more money than low-income families or not. Evicted points out these issues and calls for action, and also includes painful stories meant to call for people’s empathy regarding the issue.