Regarding the May 22 Metro article “Shaw viewed as a model for affordable gentrification”:
Is it possible for a formerly lower-income neighborhood to remain integrated by income and race while being gentrified because of an influx of more-affluent homeowners and upscale businesses? Maintaining integration is imperative for combating inequality. A recent Harvard University study shows that poor children who live in more integrated communities have higher earnings when they are adults.
I am hopeful that the D.C. mayor’s important commitment to affordable housing and her $100 million budget proposal for housing will be used to promote integration. One way to maintain integration in changing neighborhoods is through affordable nonprofit housing development. Manna, the nonprofit where I work as development manager, has created and rehabilitated 300 homes for lower-income homeowners in Shaw since 1982.
Manna also just received a parcel at Eighth and T streets NW from the D.C. government to develop more homeowner units. A forthcoming study from Manna will show that our 1,000 homeowners have accumulated tens of millions of dollars in equity and have escaped intergenerational poverty and climbed into the middle class by owning homes in revitalizing neighborhoods.
Also needed is an intentional and comprehensive development strategy of nonprofit housing developers collaborating with the D.C. government to preserve neighborhood integration.
Josh Silver, Washington