Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Big families squeezed out of DC rental market; NYTimes article explores how past segregation sill affects wealthy black families

“Big families squeezed out?: the headline in the Tuesday Washington Post reads.  The subtext is “Affordable large apartments are vanishing as D.C. gentrifies”.  Online, Paul Duggan’s article reads “In gentrifying D.C., apartments for large families are quickly disappearing.”

The article concerned the loss of multi-bedroom apartments in older duplexes and low rise buildings around Brookland and Catholic University, but this is pretty much happening through northeast DC.  New condos go up, and the area becomes more appealing to singles and professionals.  Along Benning Road, a gay disco opens, with new condos and apartments nearby.  Along New York Avenue, old warehouses become SoHo-style condos with high ceilings.  But the crime in the area is still a problem, as poor people have no place to go (Prince Georges County).

Also, minorities have more children (helping keep the birth rate in the US near replacement level, unlike Europe), and are more likely to elder family members living at home.  When they own homes, they can build additions (like is common in Arlington).  Rental houses may have enough rooms, but new apartments will not.

The loss of affordable housing will certainly affect the ability to place immigrants or refugees (or asylees).  It also can exacerbate tensions among classes of people, more along income than just race.
Another important article is a booklet-length presentation in the Sunday New York Times, Aug. 28, “Affluent and Black, and Still Trapped by Segregation: Why well-off black families end up living in poorer areas than white families with similar or even lower incomes”, by John Eligon and Robert Gebeloff. with a lot of detail about Milwaukee. The writers say that this is about race, not just class.

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