EDS at Union Community Read | Spring 2022

Poverty and Profit in the American City

Categories: EDS at Union

Decent, affordable housing should be a basic right for everybody in this country.
The reason is simple: without stable shelter, everything else falls apart.” —Matthew Desmond

Each semester, Episcopal Divinity School at Union selects a book that serves as a guiding focus for discussion on justice issues that are critical for faith communities. For Spring 2022, EDS at Union has selected the Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond. Desmond’s book has been hailed for “transforming our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of twenty-first-century America’s most devastating problems.”

America is unmatched by any developed democracy
in the depth and extent of its poverty. —Matthew Desmond

Matthew Desmond is the Maurice P. During Professor of Sociology at Princeton University. In 2015, he was awarded the MacArthur “Genius” Grant for “revealing the impact of eviction on the lives of the urban poor and its role in perpetuating racial and economic inequality.” He is the principal investigator of The Eviction Lab at Princeton University, which creates data, interactive tools, and research to help neighbors and policymakers understand the eviction crisis.

As we enter into the holidays, we hope you will:

  • Purchase  |  Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City and spend time in January and February reading the text

  • Save the Date  |  March 10th from 6-7:30 PM ET for Matthew Desmond’s public address for the EDS at Union Community Read Lecture. We will be sharing more information about this event in the coming months.

  • Read  |  Matthew Desmond’s article in The 1619 Project “In order to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start at the plantation.”

EDS at Union is thrilled to be able to welcome Matthew Desmond to campus in March. We hope you enjoy reading this book over the coming months.

About the Book

This landmark work of scholarship and reportage takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind. Purchase the book.