Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond:
When Sheriff John walked into a house and saw mattresses on the floor, grease on the ceiling, cockroaches on the walls, and clothes, hair extensions, and toys scattered about, he didn’t double-check. Sometimes tenants had already abandoned the place, leaving behind dead animals and rotting food. Sometimes the movers puked. “The first rule of evictions,” Sheriff John liked to say, “is never open the fridge.” When things were especially bad, when an apartment was covered in trash or dog shit, or when one of the guys would find a needle, Dave would nod and say, “Junk in,” leaving the mess for the landlord.
John hung up the phone and waved the movers in. At that moment, the house no longer belonged to the occupants, and the movers took it over. Grabbing dollies, hump straps, and boxes, the men began clearing every room. They worked quickly and without hesitation. There were no children in the house that morning, but there were toys and diapers. The woman who answered the door moved slowly, looking overcome. A sob broke through her blank face when she opened the refrigerator and saw that the movers had cleaned it out, even packing the ice trays. She found her things piled in the back alley. Sheriff John looked to the sky as it began to rain and then looked back at Tim. “Snowstorm. Rainstorm. We don’t give a shit,” Tim said, lighting a Salem.