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The Problems We Don't Talk About

And although the problem is huge—just like illiteracy---it is a social issue that we don't talk about.

Obviously, people get evicted because they cannot pay the rent. In most cases, the people live in abject poverty. According to the book, we're in a situation where more than half of all poor renting families are spending at least 50% of their income for rent and a quarter of poor families are spending 70% or more. The standard mortgage/rent payment should be approximately 30%.

I can't help think about the role of illiteracy in evictions. We know that illiteracy and poverty go hand in hand. Are people signing rental agreements that they can't read? Probably. Are they going to renters' court, unable to comprehend the paperwork? Most likely. But even more fundamentally, how can good literacy facilitate economic stability?

With strong literacy skills, the risks of poverty and ultimately eviction are far less likely. As far as what we can do right now in terms of helping to promote adult literacy as a means of decreasing evictions, I am not exactly sure. Some cities have created neighborhood legal groups that can help tenants, specifically those with literacy issues. If you are reading this, you probably know that most literacy groups are always looking for volunteers so please contact your local provider (listed on main page of website for Literacy New York). To help those facing eviction, author Matthew Desmond has formed a movement and is welcoming support, http://justshelter.org/