A Harvard Sociologist on Watching Families Lose Their Homes

The first time the sociologist Matthew Desmond rode along during an eviction, he was shocked by the suddenness of “seeing your house turn into not your house in seconds.”

“You see the mover reach past someone to turn on the lights without asking, then open the fridge, open the cupboards,” he recalled recently.

Touches of home are “obliterated instantly” and often just piled up on the curb.

And it doesn’t just happen once.

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