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National Housing Museum opens exhibition on eviction

As winter rolls on with cold, rain and snow, Dorothy Gale’s words in “The Wizard of Oz” ring true: “There’s no place like home.”

But according to a recent news report Housing has become unaffordable for half of U.S. renters, according to a study from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. This translates into 22.4 million renter households spending more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities (nearly half of whom paid more than 50% of their income on housing). The number of evictions is increasing and homelessness.

Just over 6,000 people experience homelessness, local figures show in chicago On a certain day in 2023. More than 35,000 refugees have arrived in Chicago since August 2022, and the city shelter all new arrivals.

Given such statistics, the National Housing Museum has launched “Evacuated,” a comprehensive exhibition that runs through March 10. Inspired by Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” the study sheds light on tenants. Eviction stories to start and provide space for dialogue about housing insecurity, its causes, and consequences.

Visitors to the exhibit can enter the four house structures to see statistics, videos, a nationwide eviction map, and family stories that illustrate different aspects of the eviction act, from the role of the court to who is most affected. There is also a sculptural object made of plastic-wrapped materials from an evacuated house. Lisa Yun Lee, executive director of the National Housing Museum, says the interactive exhibits aim to foster empathy and awareness by looking at the challenges individuals and families face to maintain a stable living environment.

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“This issue of housing insecurity weighs heavily on many of us,” Lee said. “’Eviction’ is an incredible window for us to understand not just the surface-level statistics of eviction in America, but also what it means for everyone to have a place to call home and the devastating impact of what’s happening. “It’s one of those things that affects everyone across America, but the exhibit makes clear that evictions affect Black women much more broadly than other people.”

New exhibition at the National Housing Museum on January 19, 2024

The traveling exhibition was there National Building Museum Before the pandemic and now, three educators descended on the site to talk to visitors. Educators are people who are evacuated, homeless and experiencing housing insecurity, Lee said. Educators answer questions and share their own stories. Other programming related to the project includes: evacuation meeting We’re discussing the Just Cause for Eviction campaign on January 31 with the Chicago Housing Justice Coalition.

Work continues in the field. Lee hopes the exhibit will be seen by many across generations, from school groups to policymakers, so that eviction is understood as a systemic problem, rather than an issue where individuals make bad choices.

Lee stated that Desmond stopped by to see the exhibition installation and stated that the stories told by educators make a difference.

“We are thinking about what is being done in Chicago and Cook County and how this exhibit can help develop creative policies regarding evictions,” Lee said. “It is the power of the people to oppose unjust laws. All these laws regarding eviction are on the books, and a group of concerned citizens are asking, ‘Hey, why is this the case?’ he has to say. It’s not like there’s just one bad guy. Eviction is a social and systemic problem that we must address.”

“Evacuation” continues Thursdays through Fridays from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturdays through Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. through March 10 at 625 N. Kingsbury St. It will be held at the National Housing Museum at; free, more nphm.org/programs/exhibits

drockett@chicagotribune.com

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