Well today after getting my hair done, I went to the Shiloh Baptist Church Family Life Center’s Forum on Gentrification. It was a good step on the part of the Family Life Center to have something of a dialog, which despite nearly falling into chaos*, where different opinions voiced themselves. Hopefully, some Shiloh groups and community members can come together again to improve communication, find out what we can agree on, and work together on that.
I really did not take any decent notes. Except a notation about something Alex Padro, one of the panel members said about who gentrification really hurt were the people in boarding houses and people in single family townhomes. Shaw has the highest concentration of subsidized housing in Ward 2, with Lincoln Westmoreland, Foster House, Asbury Dwellings and some other places. And, if I remember right, the tenant groups have long covenants that keep the housing affordable to them. So whatever happens in the real estate market, their fine. However, found out that the United House of Prayer, which had/has a fair amount of affordable housing is going market/ luxury rate.
Also it was good to meet/see people I mainly know from the online experience, Ray and the man behind OnSeventh. The great thing about neighborhood blogging is at some point you are going to run into people off-line. Oh, and I stand behind what I said about libel. If there is anything that I have typed that is untrue (outside of an opinion) bring it to my attention, and if it is false, I will retract it or adjust it, basically try to make it right. I am not hiding behind a blog, believe me, you can find me if you put some effort in it, like emailing me, or wandering over to a BACA meeting. At some community gatherings, some people (Scott Roberts) are more than happy to point me out.
After the forum I did talk to some folks who were members and volunteers for Shiloh. There are a few ideas that I hope some who can act on these ideas can work with. One is getting new Baptists in the area to join. Second is doing a better job of advertising different missions that can help people in need in the immediate area take care of immediate needs, like a food pantry and a benevolence fund, and if a person needs to tap into it right this minute, how they would get connected. Third, have a church presence on one of the civic association committees, like Ebeneezer Baptist is with BACA.
I’ve been typing this up between dinner and had a nice long conversation with a fellow with a Shiloh justice ministry spin-off, the Urban Housing Alliance, who was at the forum. Long and short of it, because I really want to get back to dinner, what’s going on with Shiloh and the properties and the official justice ministry to address issues is complicated. This is the part where I don’t want to be bothered with the infighting because I have to side with my family members who are Shiloh members and supportive of current leadership. But the fellow made a good point of some failings with current leadership and some of the problems we are seeing.
Anyway, due to issues related to the infighting & parking, the Urban Housing Alliance will be meeting at a friendly location for them, 4311 R St, Capitol Heights, MD October 20th from 10:30AM to noon. ‘Cause I asked, why out in Maryland? It seems they also meet in DC as well and their goal is to provide services, free of charge, to DC citizens (I gather from the discussion) to cut property taxes, lower rents, and hold on to homes.
UPDATE: Off Seventh has more here and here.
*I say the same thing about my church’s screamy baby service with kids squirming and not providing the expected answers when the priest does the kiddie focused sermon.