Matthew Desmond, author of the award-winning book Evicted, about rental housing and poverty in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was in town last week to discuss his work. He gave a lecture sponsored by the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, and here’s a chart from his presentation.
The point of the chart is pretty clear. Through programs like the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction, Federal assistance props up homeowners far more than it does renters, who are almost always much worse off economically. It’s a terrible set of policy priorities that comes at a huge cost for people struggling to get by.
Speaking personally, I can vouch that Desmond’s book is very well written and lovingly captures the desperate struggle for housing that exists in Milwaukee and any city with huge racial equity gaps. It’s definitely worth a read!
Or if you prefer, just watch this lecture. Desmond connects his work to public health conversations, and all the lessons here apply almost as well to cities like Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Duluth, or many other places in Minnesota.