Evictions are as bad for black women as prison is for black men | The Washington Post

Matthew Desmond is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Social Studies at Harvard.

Patrice is, in many ways, typical. A low-income woman, she’s struggling to find affordable housing in Milwaukee. The 24-year-old single mother of three shares a two-bedroom apartment with her mother, her three young children and her three siblings. It’s on the same block as abandoned buildings and memorials for victims of shootings. The back door does not lock, the kitchen window is broken, the toilet and shower remain stopped up for days, and the apartment crawls with roaches.

Despite the substandard conditions, Patrice was thankful for a roof over her head. However, after her $8/hour wages were cut, she fell behind on rent and was evicted. She and her children would join the steady migration of poor families in search of new housing.

It’s an all-too-common story. Low-income women are evicted at much higher rates than men. The reasons are varied, including lower wages and children, but one rarely discussed reason is the gender dynamics between largely male landlords and female tenants.

POOR BLACK MEN ARE LOCKED UP WHILE POOR BLACK WOMEN ARE LOCKED OUT.

In Milwaukee, where I conducted my research on this subject, 16 families lose their homes each day. That’s 16,000 people being forced out of 6,000 housing units every year. And those statistics don’t even account for informal evictions, like using strong-arm tactics or paying unwanted tenants to move. Even more disturbing, women from black neighborhoods in Milwaukee represent only 9.6 percent of the population, but 30 percent of the evictions.

Why? Low wages is one reason. Although women in high-poverty black neighborhoods are more likely to work than men, their wages are often lower than the wages of working men from these neighborhoods.

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Curated from www.washingtonpost.com

  • Tom Cuddy

    The market has failed in providing housing. That is clear. Anyone who owns housing is trying to get people who can afford high rents. This does not work because housing is a human need. We need to introduce the preferential option for the poor; high taxes on building luxury apartments and houses. Right now people who build reason priced housing rely on tax breaks and are usually specialists in low income housing. This needs to change. To build high income housing developers should pay high taxes, To build low income housing it should be easier. Rent control must be brought back also. I am a landlord, so conseravtives who accuse me of envy know where they can go.

    • Amen!

      There are almost 50K homeless in Los Angeles and the city has no way to help them. Rents have risen out of sight and the reach of young people whose salaries just can’t cover rent. I am seeing multi-generational living in places I would never have imagined. I am also seeing multi-family arrangements in apartments not designed for so many people.

      The minimum wage needs to rise to $20 in big metro areas and $15 in the rest of the nation.

      Affordable housing needs to be constructed. I see great promise in the Tiny House idea. Maybe that’s one way to go?

      Thanks so much for leaving a comment!