Decade in Review: Neighbors change

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I was looking for another post but found the following posted July 22, 2003:

Pam, my next door neighbor has been saying she's going to sell/rent and move away for a while now. I saw her husband chatting with Sonny (evil, evil, evil African contractor) and I knew, they are serious about selling now. She wants more space, a yard for the kids to run around in, and she wants to get John, who is such a good kid, away from these bad chullun (children) who take advantage of John's goodness. Yup, no doubt, the kids around the neighborhood act like they have had no home training. Kwan, trouble finds that kid. I have had to pull him out of a fight and have observed him doing wrong. When I call him on it, he pulls the angelic act out and claim it wasn't him.

I hope they do not sell to an investor. I surely hope they don't rent it out to Section 8. I hope she doesn't rent it out, and hopefully she won't cause she was going off on Section 8 people, about how Drama Momma only pays $30 for rent, and how the children there misbehave.

Of course, the way things are going if she does sell it, most likely a white couple will move in. We have 6 white households on our side of the street already. One Hispanic family, one Howard University student group house with a range of minority students (if we become a student ghetto, I am soooo outta here), one bi-racial household (friends? Lovers? I have no clue), 1 African/Nigerian household (when he's in the country), and 8-9 African-American household, 2 of which are section 8. I love the diversity.

Pam and her husband did sell their house to my next door neighbors B & IT. I haven't really heard from or about her family since they moved to Maryland. Drama Momma also moved away. Mr. Rahman the Nigerian moved, selling his shell of a house to a developer. Kwan became a better kid, was very happy to go to KIPP. I haven't seen him lately, but his family still lives 'round the corner.

A number of people moved and were replaced by a new crop and some of them moved away, to be replaced by another set of neighbors. The neighbors of African decent have moved for various reason as far as I could tell, and the reasons can't all be pinned on the 'displacement' definition of gentrification. The Evil Landlady's house for many years rented to black families in crisis. Crisis is not known for stabilizing people and keeping them in one place. Crack makes it hard to remember that even though your rent is almost nothing due to subsidies, you still got to pay it. At other houses where I suspected they were Section 8 renters, the landlord had seemingly over extended his credit and lost the houses. Other houses, such as the Howard students, it was just part of people getting in and out of the landlording business, because in the end the property is just an investment. The housing market just made the option of selling what had been a rental, more attractive. Students, group house residents, and Section 8 renters are highly unlikely to buy the house they are renting when the landlord chooses to sell. Renters, and over 10 years most renters have been Afro-American, have little control over the matter of staying. Occupying owners, like Pam, Mr. Rahman, another guy who was a resident Realtor/flipper, and the guy who really lived in Baltimore (semi-occupying) sold when it suit them.

In ten years our side of the block has grown more racially diverse. We include South Asians, Asians, bi-racial group house and couples, a Latino family, black households and white households. Economically, possibly a little less diverse. As far as I can tell there are no more subsidized rentals on my side of the block and possibly none on the other, but not everyone needs to be on some public assistance. Our ranks include a teacher, a deli worker, many government workers, and a slew of people that I'm not sure what the hell they do. For I know them only in their relationship to me as a neighbor and not how much money they make or have in the bank.

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