A PHS 795 student came across an article that recalled our discussion of Evicted in the context of neighborhoods, social networks and health. They write:
Quality in question: Buffalo landlord is linked to multiple housing code violations in University Heights
Evicted – a book from which we read a chapter to prepare for lecture 3 – details the magnitude of the housing crisis in Milwaukee. Millions of U.S. renters live in sub-standard housing out of fear of eviction. If tenants harp on unfilled maintenance requests, landlords evict them. If tenants withhold rent until maintenance is conducted, landlords evict them. If tenants alert authorities about illegal housing conditions, landlords evict them. You wonder why these renters stay if conditions are so awful? As told by Evicted, 1 in 4 poor renting families already spends 70% of their income on rent. Additionally, discrimination keeps poor, black, or previously-evicted families from renting safer neighborhoods.
I think this article from The Spectrum is important because it affirms that this housing crisis is not confined to Milwaukee. Poor housing conditions are endured by millions of Americans across the country. It also illustrates for those who did not digest Evicted in the past week – as I have – the type of issues faced by renters. For example, the landlord in this article blatantly disregarded his tenants’ safety, failed to fill maintenance requests, blamed his tenants for the housing conditions, understaffed for property maintenance, and passively threatened to fill the space with new – perhaps, less difficult – renters. I feel it necessary to share with my classmates that it is actually rare for landlords and property staff to be held accountable for their exploitation of tenants – as told by Evicted. As Evicted eloquently reveals, advantageous people have made millions by overcharging for dilapidated housing. There is no adequate checks to keep the needs of renters and the earnings of landlords in balance.