In reality, only one in four families who qualify for housing assistance receives it. In the face of stagnating or falling incomes and soaring housing costs, eviction has become more commonplace in America than ever.
Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. They used to draw crowds. Eviction riots erupted during the Depression, even though the number of poor families who faced eviction each year was a fraction of what it is today.
Tenants face a confusing and impersonal system when threatened with eviction in New York City Housing Court. But programs like Poverty Justice Solutions are making a dent in the problem by targeting the issues plaguing housing court.
One of the last eyewitnesses to what it was actually like to be an Italian-American in Little Italy after World War II is being evicted by the very repository of this rich history, The Italian American Museum. It would be laughable, were it not so tragic. Evict her? They should hire her.
As Mayor de Blasio shared his vision for expanding New York City's affordable housing stock, many of us who have been involved in advocating for better housing conditions for the poor wondered, "affordable for whom?"
While evictions tell only a small piece of the story, it's clear that San Francisco has contracted full-blown heart disease. San Francisco lost so much of its talent and spirit from the HIV virus back in the '80s and '90s. This time it is caused by an economic virus of success.
Holding parents criminally responsible would constitute bad legislation, even worse public policy, and a distressing sign that we as a country have completely failed to understand the relationships among individuals, families, and public institutions.
Statistics don't reveal the faces behind the numbers. While trillions were lost in housing values the human cost, measured in lost dreams, dislocation, divorce, depression, suicide, addiction, is incalculable.