matthew desmond

matthew desmond


intro’d to Matthew here:

A Harvard sociologist on watching families lose their homes

Original Tweet:

The first time the sociologist Matthew Desmond rode along during an eviction, he was shocked by the suddenness of “seeing your house turn into not your house in seconds.”


Mr. Desmond, an associate professor at Harvard, has spent the last eight years studying evictions from seemingly every possible angle. His research has made him a rising star in the field and last year won him a MacArthur fellowship, the so-called genius grant.

Now, with “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” to be published on March 1 by Crown, Mr. Desmond aims to bring an overlooked aspect of American poverty and inequality to a broader audience.

not available via overdrive..added to books to read list –

evicted – thank you library

“We’ve tended to look through housing to things like neighborhoods or gentrification,” he said over lunch at a deli near Bronx Housing Court, where he was about to offer a reporter a tour. But the difficulty of finding and keeping a roof over one’s head — for many families in eviction court, rent consumes as much as 80 percent of their income, he writes — has become “not just a consequence of poverty, but a cause of poverty.”


“Just as incarceration has come to define the lives of low-income black men, eviction is defining the lives of low-income black women,” Mr. Desmond said.

incarceration .. poverty.. living spaces.. money less ness.. et al..

Evicted,” which closely follows eight families and their landlords, both black and white, mostly keeps the data to the endnotes. Written with the vividness of a novel, it offers a dark mirror of middle-class America’s obsession with real estate, laying bare the workings of the low end of the market, where evictions have become just another part of an often lucrative business model.


He sits with tenants while they debate whether to hold back rent money to pay for food or a relative’s funeral, and visits warehouses where the possessions of evicted families are held — if they haven’t just been dumped by the curb.

“There is always a lot of kids’ stuff,” Mr. Desmond said. “Seeing that piled up in the snow is really disturbing.”


“The things you’re closest to are often the things you know least about,” he said.


“Even growing up the way I did, I was shocked by the level of poverty I saw as a college student. I thought the best way to understand it was to get close to it on the ground level.”


Mr. Desmond, who has created a website,, which gathers information about housing groups across the country, makes no bones of the advocacy component of his work.


next day this:

Please buy a copy of Matthew Desmond’s (@just_shelter) new book Evicted. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Original Tweet:


Urban Sociologist 2015 MacArthur Fellow

on immersion to figure out a new picture of poverty/housing

there’s a lot of capacity to do something major about this..

a nother way

for (blank)’s sake


2015 – Dalton Conley and Matt Desmond discuss his research on eviction patterns and the housing crisis

eviction goes on record.. like a criminal charge…

if family has experienced an eviction.. experience downward drop of neighborhood.. excluded from benefits.. leads to job loss

presence of children leads to greater probability of eviction – we attribute that to the landlords.. not the courts.. for landlords.. inconvenient.. child protective services come in, police come in, kids flush things down toilet…


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