WMC Action News 5: Pulitzer Prize winning author coming to Memphis to discuss on-going eviction problem

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WMC Action News 5: Pulitzer Prize winning author coming to Memphis to discuss on-going eviction problem

Featured on Action News 5

By Chris Luther

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Evictions are a topic of great concern among housing experts nation-wide as the economic crisis surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Although there’s currently a national moratorium on evictions through the end of the year, experts say the problem of evictions is not going anywhere.

Leaders at MIFA hope their event can lead to real solutions for Memphis, a city that has struggled with an eviction problem for years.

This Wednesday at noon, the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association is hosting its annual Our City, Our Story event, with a focus on the topic of evictions.

“Eviction often impacts families, it’s mothers with children who are often evicted,” Sally Heinz, President & CEO of MIFA said. “But it does more than impact those families, it really tears neighborhoods apart.”

The leader of the discussion is Dr. Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize winning author for Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.

Evicted is a non-fiction novel following the detailed and heartbreaking story of 8 families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads.

“It’s just a terrific book, also terrifying but he really is able to bring to life the struggles of tenants who are evicted but also of landlords,” Heinz said.

Housing experts say Memphis has struggled with an eviction problem for years. In 2017, Memphis had the highest eviction rate in the county according to a survey conducted by Apartment List.

That problem persists state-wide during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a study conducted in August by the Aspen Institute, between 35 and 52 percent of all Tennessee residents are currently at risk of eviction, the 2nd highest rate in the country.

“So many of our neighbors are in need, so many live month to month,” Heinz said.

MIFA hopes the discussion with Dr. Desmond can bring solutions and ideas to Memphis to keep people in their homes.

“I think if you can get everybody at the table then you can really come up with better solutions than working in silos,” Heinz said.

The Our City, Our Story event hosted by MIFA happens this Wednesday at noon.

For more information, including how to register for the event, go to: https://community.mifa.org/ourcityourstory