The struggle between rent and circumstance is familiar territory for anyone who’s read about evictions lately. Three years ago, when sociologist Matthew Desmond’s award-winning book on evictions in Milwaukee came out, the narrative shed new light on how poor people survive in most American cities.

The book’s main characters, mostly African-American women, struggle to escape the complex cycle of poverty and substandard housing in their Milwaukee neighborhoods. As the stories unfold, small circumstances, like an unexpected funeral, or allowing a friend to stay on a couch, throw the book’s subjects into eviction courts, where added fees can lead to an endless cycle of instability.

Read More