Brief conversation with the roommate. We were talking about gentrification and she did feel bad about people who couldn’t afford to live in the city. As an example of the group that couldn’t afford housing she mentioned the starving artists. I jumped on her, forget the starving artists, what about the single mom with 3 kids?
I’m of the p.o.v. that the starving artists, young workers and students from middle class backgrounds who speak out about how bad gentrification is and against those of us buying houses and upping the market, are just as much to blame. The single mother of three, or the working class family they don’t add to the tide of gentrification, until they sell and get the hell outta Dodge (ie move to PG County). It’s the near cluelessness of what role the starving artist/ punk kids/ whatevers play in the gentrification. They are canaries in the mine.
Then there is the other side. Those of us who bought and feel kinda bad about the gentrification but that feeling kinda goes away when we think about the equity in the house. Or it instantly goes away when some ‘bama neighbors start shooting off bottle rockets near midnight or honking the horn at 3AM or trashing the street then it’s evict ’em all, & let G-d sort ’em out.
Chatted with my neighbor. He informed me that the garden style apartments between P & Q Sts along 7th Street NW. It’s where Bettye, the friendly Washington Post Express person who passes out the paper at the R St side of the Shaw metro, lives. She and her neighbors are going to lose their home. Why? Well the property is privately owned and the owner is not renewing the Section 8 contract. His own feelings are mixed, as are mine. We like Bettye. The apartments are fine and don’t seem to be trouble and the property seems clean. However we know that it would be a fruitless battle to get a private owner to NOT tear down the apartments to build a luxury high-rise/multistory and make millions of dollars. Of course same neighbor waved his hand over the Asbury Dwellings at 7th and Rhode Island and said, “They should do something with this..” I replied, “Its housing for old people.” Don’t mess with the old people.
We want the neighborhood to get better. We know that the “better” will be borne on the backs of the poor. We just hope that many will be able to survive the storm.
Gentrification & Guilt
How to stave off gentrification guilt (warning strong language!)
Gentrification: Artists and Yuppies Working Together
Race and Community (touchy-feely but in the end good)