Milwaukee, like most large cities, has a surfeit of substandard housing rented to struggling families, and people with histories of drug addiction, and criminal behavior. These families and individuals can spend as much as 70 percent of their income just to keep a decaying roof over their heads. You also have the landlords. Their lot isn’t easy either. Properties have mortgages, taxes, and repairs. When tenants default, the landlord must cover the expenses and often evict the tenant.
The stories in this book are heart wrenching. Young mothers with small children who can’t find enough money to feed the children properly and pay the rent. These people are trapped in low paying jobs, or confined to public assistance. As the author points out, it’s not always easy to get and keep public assistance. There are also drug addicts and ex-convicts struggling to get clean and keep a place to live.
This is a very powerful book. I found myself rooting for the families trying to pay the rent, feed the children, and stay out of trouble. If you wonder what life is like in the inner city, this book may not be an eye opener, but it will make you think.
I highly recommend this book because of the insight into people trying to make a living and the problems of both landlords and tenants. Evicting people is hard, but the author depicts a culture in which it is inevitable that evictions will occur and where landlords will also suffer.
The author has a solution. I don’t know that it’s workable. I do know that what he portrays is a very complex societal problem. It’s a situation we should all be aware of because in the end it affects all of us.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.