Phase I Construction at Bartlett Yard

RodneySingleton

On Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 5:33 PM, Kerrick Johnson  wrote:

Rodney, we must be careful when talking about community development to distinguish between the physical place, and its people.  Are we trying to develop the housing stock and the real estate market by driving prices up, or are we trying to meet the needs of a neighborhood’s occupants?  The vast majority of Fort Hill residents are renters, and most of the people displaced (by new homeownership!) over the last decade have been renters.  Creating more rental opportunities in fact meets the community’s needs, and creates for its members new opportunities.

Your emphasis on homeownership is dangerous in that it often implies importing homebuyers from other neighborhoods who will make the neighborhood less affordable for people who already live here;  often these homebuyers are subsidized to do so.  You may be encouraging subsidized gentrification!  Saying you want more homeownership does not instantly turn residents of Roxbury into eligible homebuyers, but does serve the market interests of the very small minority of Roxbury residents who are already homeowners.
We must not be tempted to conflate the interests of an enclave of pioneer homebuyers with the logic of civil rights.  Replacing renters with homeowners does not advance the cause of social justice, it merely protects your home’s value.  Transforming renting families into property owning families is real social justice, and real community development.  It is a process that is far more complex than berating the Bartlett Yard team for meeting the current market’s real needs.  If we as a community want to pursue a social justice/community development agenda, let’s engage in the rigorous dialog the subject requires.
Regards
Kerrick

 

Subject: Re: Phase 1 Construction at Bartlett Yard must include Wealth-Building through Home Ownership

Kerrick,

Transforming renting families into property owning families is real social justice, and real community development.” Absolutely! Sadly, we’re not doing that at $400K per unit. It’s hard to realize the mobilization from renting to buying and we rarely take the opportunity to have the substantive dialog around driving the cost down to make owning a home more accessible to the roughly 80% of families in Roxbury who cannot afford to buy.
We just never get there!
Increasingly, we pay rent to rent to someone else, deal with failing schools and a work and business environment that excludes the vast majority of us.
If we’re developing our community, we must deal with all of the above!
Thanks for the perspective and would love to change the paradigm!
Regards,
-Rodney

 

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