John Williams once had a white-collar career as a political reporter and a $2,000-a-month apartment in suburban DC. Then he lost his job, fell behind on his rent to the tune of five figures, and was kicked out of his home by housing court. It was a "smooth, efficient, and surreal" situation that he uses as a backdrop for his in-depth take for Curbed on evictions in the US and the factors that may be contributing to this "portal to poverty," including gentrification. Williams explains that, thanks partly to the rising cost of living and stagnant wages, a dilemma once experienced mainly by the working poor is now hitting members of the middle class, who are being pushed out of housing as landlords and real estate companies boost rents to cater to a more upscale (read: better-paying upper middle class) clientele.
Williams details how the laws and data-gathering on eviction is scattered—each state does things differently—and how policies and affordable housing to address the problem are lacking. He notes that while there's no centralized government effort in place, certain cities, such as New York and Milwaukee, are dedicating resources to help people stay in their homes, as those who are evicted have been shown to suffer in myriad additional ways, including ruined credit, marred job opportunities, and poor health. "Helping people stay in their homes yields big dividends, not only for the city—which saves on welfare and emergency social services costs—but for tenants," Williams writes. As for his own situation, Williams lived with friends of friends for three years before finally getting his own place this year: a single room in a split-level home. His full piece here. (Read more Longform stories.)