Evicted: Pulitzer Winner Discusses Poverty and Housing Inequality

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Princeton Professor of Sociology and Pulitzer winner, Matthew Desmond discussing his research on eviction and housing at UWEC. © 2017 Cole Edgell

By Cole Edgell

A Pulitzer Prize winning author and Professor of Sociology at Princeton University discussed the topic of poverty and housing inequality in the United States last night at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

“I tried to put myself in the shoes of the individuals and families facing these problems,” said Matthew Desmond, the author of award-winning novel, “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.’

In front of a sold-out crowd of 596 people in Schofield Hall, Desmond discussed his research and first-hand experience on eviction and how it affects poor individuals and families across the country, specifically in Milwaukee, WI.

Desmond focused his speech on a low-income family in Milwaukee. The mother, Arleen, and her two sons, Jori and Jafaris face regular eviction and live check-to-check to support themselves.

Arleen and her sons were forced to move regularly as result of their chronic evictions. Because formal evictions are recorded, it became difficult for Arleen to move into a safe location for her sons.

“An eviction can prevent you from moving into a safer area or into public housing,” Desmond said.

Although many evictions are formally documented, many evictions go undocumented, leaving the landlords with the opportunity to evict their tenants anyway they choose.

“Some are more forgiving and offer their truck and $200 dollars to vacate by the end of the week, while some landlords will shut off utilities or take the front door of the house or apartment off,” Desmond said.

Having a family can also affect your chances at finding a place to live after being evicted. Many landlords will decide not to offer their property to a tenant solely because of this reason.

“Family discrimination is illegal in the United States, but it’s a form of discrimination that not many people think about,” Desmond said.

About 30 percent of an individual’s income is a standard amount to pay a rent or mortgage, but impoverished families are regularly paying much higher than that. In the case of Arleen and her sons, Arleen paid 88 percent of her income to pay rent every month, leaving little funds to pay for clothes or food for her boys.

“Kids like Jori and Jafaris don’t eat, because rent eats first,” Desmond said.

Desmond also discussed the statistics of poverty and poverty assistance in the United States. Out of individuals who qualify for public housing and other related welfare programs, only 6 percent of those people receive public housing, about 20 percent receive some assistance for housing, and about 75 percent receive no federal help.

After presenting his research and experiences with Arleen’s family and a few others, Desmond went on to propose some solutions to dealing with eviction and the affect that it has on American families. He brought up the housing voucher program that assists people in finding public housing. The program has been shown to work for families by basing their rent off the 30 percent income standard, but the program only reaches a limited amount of families because of a lack of federal funding.

Desmond proposed that the funds acquired through homeowner incentive programs that directly benefit white middle- and upper-class Americans. Desmond believes that if those funds were allocated properly, they could work to end poverty and eviction in the United States.

“If poverty persisted, America, it’s not for lack of resources,” Desmond said to an applause from the crowd.

The hour long speech and question session seemed to have left the crowd of locals, students, and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff seemed to be interested in Desmond and his research.

“It was a powerful evening. UWEC is lucky to have the opportunity to have such a distinguished professor of sociology and Pulitzer Prize winning author come speak on campus,” Chancellor of UW-Eau Claire, James Schmidt said. “Desmond’s book was incredibly powerful. He broke down the problem of eviction and humanized it.”

Desmond said that poverty and eviction are synonymous with each other and it is crucial to be mindful of that when working on finding solutions to those problems.

“Eviction is a cause of poverty,” Desmond said. “We can’t fix poverty in America unless we fix housing.”

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Blugold Radio Grand Opening showcases Prince’s guitars

By Jenna Ambrosius

Blugold Radio celebrated the grand opening of their newly-built studio by holding a tribute concert to Prince and showcasing two of his guitars in the studio.

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Apple season in full swing at Ferguson’s Orchard in Eau Claire

By Clara Neupert

Authentic “autumn feelings” are hard to find amid busy work schedules and term papers, but a careful scout can find caramel apples and tractor rides nestled in Eau Claire hills at Ferguson’s Orchard.

Ferguson’s Orchard is a family farm that primarily harvests apples. A visitor can pick their own or buy them by the bag. For younger visitors — or those young at heart — the orchard offers animals, a rope swing, toy tractors and more.

The orchard is located at 6470 Balsam Road, Eau Claire, WI. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Apple season ends Nov. 5.

 

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Job Shadow with Tina Hanley

Tina Hanley Beauty Manger at Sephora inside JCPenney
©2017 Kiersten Clifford

By Kiersten Clifford

Tina Hanley is the Beauty Manager at the Sephora inside JCPenney at the Oa

kwood Mall. She has been in the position for four months. Previously she had been the Senior Education Consultant (SEC) and the Operations Consultant (Ops) at the La Crosse location before transferring to Eau Claire for the Beauty Manager position.

While the Beauty Manager of Sephora is not a career in journalism, it is something that I could possibly see myself doing in the future. It is always good to have a backup plan.

The Beauty Manger is in charge of many aspects of the store. She is responsible for the scheduling, for the shipments of products that come in, for making sur

e that all associates are properly trained, and an extensive list of other things.

She is currently working on hiring temporary associates for the holiday season, a task that she is taking very seriously. She runs a small, but close-knit team and making sure that the new hires will fit in.

“Making sure that your team is blending well together is something that I didn’t really think of when I first started this job,” Hanley said. “I’m lucky to have a group of girls that are so close but it also makes it a little bit more challenging to hire people that will fit in.”

When I was sitting with Hanley she was explaining the application process to me, as well as the training that the new hires would have to complete before they could be on the floor.

She was also going over the scheduling something that she says is the most difficult part of the job. She showed me the application that she uses. Everyone has their own lives outside of work and making sure that they all can somehow fit into the times that she needs them is more work than she had been expecting.

Hanley also had me attend a meeting with her that she had with the hair salon manager. They talked about the best way to make sure that customers from the salon were shopping in Sephora and vice versa.

I learned a lot from my time with Hanley. The job is made up of a lot more than I would have realized and we didn’t even really get through all of what she does. We only made it through what she was needing to do that day.

While I don’t think that being the Beauty Manager of a Sephora inside JcPenney is my dream job it is a practical thing to think about. I love makeup and want to stay in the realm of it in my future career and if I have to start out as a Beauty Manager then at least I know now what the job entails.

Listen to Hanley talk about her daily life as beauty manger below.

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UW-Eau Claire Women’s Volleyball hosts Nike/Eastbay Fall Classic

This gallery contains 8 photos.

By Rachel Schmidt The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire hosted the Nike/Eastbay Fall Classic Sept. 15-16 at McPhee Physical Education Center. Seven teams participated including the Blugolds.  

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Evan Hong: Job Shadow with Bob Bradovich

By Evan Hong

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WQOW Sports Director Bob Bradovich in his office. ©2017 Evan Hong

Since 9th grade, I’ve been interested in the world of sports journalism. After becoming involved with TV10 on the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire campus, I was able to hear from various professionals about their experiences in the profession, one of those being Bob Bradovich, who is the Sports Director for WQOW 18 here in Eau Claire. Right away when I heard about this assignment, I knew I wanted to shadow Bob and hear more from him about his line of work.

Bob Bradovich has held the position of sports director at WQOW since its creation in 1996, but prior to that, Bob didn’t have a clue what he wanted to do for a living. An undergrad at Carleton College, Bob was a pre-med major, but said he lost interest after he found out he had to deal with organic chemistry. With the help of some of his baseball teammates at Carleton, Bob was persuaded to get into TV, and eventually landed his first job at a small station in White Bear Lake, MN (my hometown, ironically). To earn more hands-on experience, Bob pursued a master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. From there, he earned jobs at smaller news outlets in Vermont, Iowa, and eventually at WQOW. During his career, Bob says he has done play-by-play sports commentary, hosted a sports TV show, and has taken many other ventures.

The first thing Bob did when I went into the studio was give me a tour of the place. I was surprised to see how small the studio truly is, because typically you would think they would have large, vast areas to work with. He said many news stations are in smaller and cozier buildings. I saw the TV sets, production room, and news rooms, and I was amazed by the amount of technology they have throughout the studio.

After walking through the studio, I was able to see Bob work his magic on editing programs and prepare for his newscasts later that evening. He gave me lessons on how to use the program, as it will be something I’ll do in the future. Bob said that many of the sports team members go out on their own and shoot highlights, along with doing their own editing for their packages, which is something I am currently doing at TV10. As an up and coming sports broadcaster at TV10, I wanted to ask Bob for some advice on how to become a better broadcaster. He told me to be ready for what I am going to say, have many notes prepared, and most importantly to be yourself. Bob says that by taking the ideas of others and meshing it into your own style, you will succeed in the business, and have the potential to meet many of the most polarizing athletes in the game.

I was very pleased with my time spent with Bob. He was very open to answering my questions and giving me advice about my future. I hope one day to follow the career path he has chosen, and who knows, maybe I’ll even work for him.

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