[Self-Promoting Post] New Article: Ezra Rosser, Laying the Foundation: The Private Rental Market and Affordable Housing, 44 Fordham Urban L.J. 499 (2017). Abstract below:
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 low-income private rental housing.
Note: This article and my Yale L.J. Forum article are closely linked. This one is the more traditional book review, the other one is more an argument about exploitation. If you are planning on reading Evicted but haven’t yet, I would avoid reading the Fordham Urban L.J. article because it includes a much longer summary of the book (the Yale L.J. Forum article on exploitation does not give away as much of the plot so it doesn’t really matter if you haven’t read Evicted yet). Of course if you are not going to read Evicted, then I might start with the Fordham Urban L.J. article because it does give the broad stories of the major characters in the book. Of course, like all law review articles, both are likely to get read by maybe one other person, so this is all too long a description already… =)