After spending years interviewing tenants and landlords and reporting on urban evictions, Matthew Desmond reached a conclusion that surprised him: Conventional liberal and conservative explanations that heap blame on everything from deindustrialization to out-of-wedlock childbirth overlook the actual root causes of poverty in this country.
Standing at the front of a small music classroom, David Perry rested his clarinet in his palms, glanced to colleagues Yevgeny Yontov and Bora Kim, and then uttered a word that seemingly had nothing to with the scales behind him or instrumental terms scrawled on a nearby wall.
Tyrese Dejesus ran onto the stage of Hill Central and lifted both hands in the air. He puffed out his chest and took a quick, deep breath. Then he looked out into a swelling audience, ready to make an announcement.
“I am not a poet!” he declared.
His peers raised their eyebrows and cocked their heads to listen closely. A few looked as though they were ready to call his bluff. Others waited to hear more.
Key pieces of the city’s Hill to Downtown project are underway, and a dilapidated housing complex is closer to being empty and ready for redevelopment. Meanwhile, the city might start charging more to inspect landlords’ apartment buildings.
When Jeff Moreno became a Livable City Initiative neighborhood specialist for the Hill, he tried to get someone to clean up a fenced lot near the end of Rosette Street. At first he didn’t know the identity of the nuisance landlord; it turned out to be the state Department of Transportation.