Friday, February 19, 2010

Milwaukee's brand-inner city evictions

A few weeks ago the Milwaukee Common Council voted to establish a committee to assess public perceptions of Milwaukee and develop a brand to promote the metropolitan area.

The task force better get to work before our well-earned reputation as a city that's tough on poor folks generates any more publicity.

Today's New York Times has a feature article and the accompanying photo on evictions in Milwaukee.

It reports:

On Milwaukee’s impoverished North Side, the mover’s name (Eagle) is nearly as familiar as McDonald’s, because Eagle often accompanies sheriffs on evictions. They haul tenants’ belongings into storage or, as Ms. Smith preferred, leave them outside for tenants to truck away.

Here and in swaths of many cities, evictions from rental properties are so common that they are part of the texture of life. New research is showing that eviction is a particular burden on low-income black women, often single mothers, who have an easier time renting apartments than their male counterparts, but are vulnerable to losing them because their wages or public benefits have not kept up with the cost of housing.

And evictions, in turn, can easily throw families into cascades of turmoil and debt.

Just a few years ago we were told that w-2 would help break the cycle of poverty and enable poor parents to become self-sufficient.

The promises are long forgotten. Many of the politicians who made them have retired or returned to lucrative private life. But the havoc they wrought remains.

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