So the income gap in the District is apparently among the highest in the nation, according to a new census statistics.
And that’s partly because the African Americans who stayed in the District “were the poorest, who didn’t have opportunities to leave,” Peter Tatian, a senior associate at the Urban Institute’s Center on Metropolitain Housing and Communities, told the Post.
“The District does provide affordable housing in many neighborhoods, particularly east of the river, so there’s the opportunity to stay if you’re poor,” Tatian said. “But if you’re middle class, it’s a different story.”
This narrative might have been true in the past. But go to nearly any gentrifying neighborhood around the city and this is what you hear from poor people: Everyone wants us out.
Many say that it’s more difficult each month to find affordable housing.
A recent panel discussion in Congress Heights, for instance, was specifically about whether the infusion of new residents would result in the “eradication” of older residents who can’t afford rising rents as new businesses arrive. The event was sponsored by D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D), who is up for re-election next year.
New middle-class residents--some white, some black--are moving in and purchasing homes. That makes longtime residents afraid that they are being priced out of new developments and even their own homes as taxes rise. What seems like a bargain in such an expensive city to newcomers, is a fortune to the poor and elderly on fixed incomes.
“All you know is that they are not like you,” said Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Sandra Seegers, who is among several people seeking to unseat Barry.
Washington remains a city of disparities, the haves and the havenots. But more and more, it seems, the people on the bottom are worried that the District is fast becoming a place that only welcomes the affluent.
And that truly affordable housing is a thing of the past.
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