Today I met a true hero: a woman that works for Habitat for Humanity who shared her own story of poverty, and how ironic it is that she’s now working to build affordable housing.
She is the second person to recommend the book Evicted by Matthew Desmond. The book highlights the plight of tenants and landlords in poor areas of Milwaukee in 2008 to 2009.
She shared a quote from an interview by the author that really struck me. It made me think how much I, and others, take for granted having a roof over our heads.
“I always come back to the question of scale. Do we believe housing is a right and that affordable housing is part of what it should mean to be an American? I say yes. Then the question becomes how do we deliver on that obligation? I think taking this program that works pretty darn well and expanding it to all families below the poverty line is the best way to do that. These families spending 80 percent of income on rent would be paying 30 percent. They’d be saving and spending money on their kids. We know from previous research that when families get a housing voucher after years on the waiting list, they buy more food, they go to the grocery store, and their kids become stronger. The book goes into how much that would cost and how to do that. But first we have to recognize how essential housing is to driving down poverty and recognize that we can’t fix poverty without fixing housing.” – Matthew Desmond
Being interested in fighting food insecurity, this is most definitely on my list of “must read”. And volunteering for Habitat for Humanity is now on my bucket list.