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Fordham Urban Law Journal






The private rental housing market plays a critical, and often overlooked, role in shaping the lives of the poor and the surrounding community. This brief Article presents Matthew Desmond’s rich portrayal of low-income tenants and their landlords in his groundbreaking new book, Evicted, which shows how poor housing conditions and cycles of eviction impact poor families. The Article, which also draws upon Courtney Anderson’s work connecting housing instability with problematic student turnover at an elementary school, highlights the importance of story-telling. Without some sort of subsidy to cover the gap between the ability of the poor to pay for housing and the costs of construction and maintenance, the private market cannot supply additional affordable housing. Arguably, in such a reality, it is imperative that scholars make the choice Desmond made: to deliberately de-emphasize empirical studies and instead rely on stories to put human faces on the suffering connected to the existing structure of lowincome private rental housing.



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