On The Media — The Scarlet E: Unmasking America’s Eviction Crisis


Tonight, a hundred million
renting Americans will come home and lock their front doors
against the vapors and the dark. Doors might even keep those out — for a while. The real challenge is ensuring
the most vulnerable among us even have doors. “Hello, sheriff’s department, eviction.
Come to the door.” We have an eviction crisis. We’ve had one for a long time. And too often we’ve failed to grasp what it is, and what it isn’t. It’s not a jobs crunch. It’s not for lack of housing supply — at least, not always. Nor is the problem worst in our hottest markets; it’s also where you least expect it. It does follow the path of our racist housing history — but don’t imagine anti-discrimination
measures alone can fix it. Eviction isn’t just a frantic landlord’s last resort; often, it’s the first. And it’s not a problem easily addressed, but it is something we can solve. We have to. “We woke up that morning … they knocked on the door and say we gotta get out.” “Like, just get some clothes on and leave.” Eviction sucks all calm from life, trailing chaos in its wake. And it eats children most of all. “Every time every time they say, try to kick us out, “I say, ‘Why?’” Why? I’m Brooke Gladstone, host of WNYC’s On the Media, with a new series, “The Scarlet E: Unmasking America’s Eviction Crisis.” We’ll probe the causes
and cures of a national epidemic. Listen at onthemedia.org.

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