It’s March! Let’s read and discuss “A Lonely Occupation,” by Francesca Mari

An article on gentrification, race, and a new version of house-sitting

Welcome to March! I’m excited to announce that this month’s article is “A Lonely Occupation,” by Francesca Mari. It is a powerful piece worthy of our deep reading, reflection, and conversation.

Published in The New Yorker last December, the article explores the effects of gentrification, including how developers hire homeless people to house-sit empty homes undergoing renovation. Here’s my original blurb:

Augustus Evans is a 67-year-old homeless man who guards vacant houses in Los Angeles while real estate developers renovate and flip them for a huge profit. For the temporary shelter and $800 a month, Mr. Evans must promise not to leave the premises except for quick trips to the market. Doing so would endanger his relationship with Wedgewood, which certainly does not want to repeat last year’s public relations disaster, when Moms 4 Housing occupied its empty property in Oakland, drawing attention to the company’s gentrifying practices. (24 min)

Ms. Mari is a narrative journalist who lives in Providence, Rhode Island. Focusing on housing, conmen, and other abuses of power, Ms. Mari has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Texas Monthly.

I hope you’ll join me and fellow Article Clubbers in discussing this article! Our discussion will be on Sunday, March 28, 2:00 - 3:15 pm PT, via Zoom.

Are you new to Article Club? If so, welcome! We look forward to meeting you and having your voice in the conversation.

Are you IN? I hope so. If so, here’s what to do:

  1. Sign up by leaving a comment. Say hi, announce that you’re IN, and share with other Article Clubbers what drew you to join this month’s discussion.

  2. Read and annotate the article. (Here’s the original if you prefer it.)

Leave a comment

Coming up this month at Article Club
  • Monday 3/15: We’ll listen to the article, thanks to Article Clubber Jennifer.

  • Monday 3/22: We’ll hear Ms. Mari’s thoughts about the article.

  • Sunday 3/28: We’ll discuss the article with fellow Article Clubbers.

Questions? Share them in the comments or email me at