loading...

Gentrification, Schools and Affordable Housing: What Does the Community Think?

by Shilpi Paul

image
Big Bear Cafe

“What gentrification often comes down to is that people don’t know that they weren’t supposed to sell their homes,” declared Milan Griffin, one of the panelists at a discussion on Thursday night at Jackie Lee’s Uptown Lounge, a bar in Brightwood.

The discussion, dubbed “The Rent is Too Damn High! Gentrification’s Impact on Affordable Housing and Quality Schools,” was part of a series organized by the Humanities Council of DC in an effort to create real conversations about the impact that gentrification can have on a community. Griffin, the Director of HomeFree-USA, an organization that teaches working class families how to build wealth and increase their self-sufficiency, was joined by civil rights attorney Allison Brown and Empower DC’s Daniel del Pielago.

“We can’t blame the gentrifier,” explained Griffin, a native Washingtonian who nonetheless considers herself a gentrifier in her new neighborhood. She encouraged the group instead to think about how to educate the community about financial health.

Not blaming the gentrifier was a theme that emerged several times, though Griffin warned that new residents who move into neighborhoods but don’t meet their neighbors and “say hi” may be outcasting themselves from the community. An Eckington resident (and native Washingtonian) talked about the Bloomingdale-Eckington divide. “Eckington is full of long-time residents, while Bloomingdale is the new Soho,” she said. New Bloomingdale residents pay a premium to move in and then demand certain things immediately, like a safe neighborhood, ample retail and good schools. Eckington residents, she felt, also wanted those things, and should not blame the new residents for making them happen.

Charter schools — which are publicly funded but privately run — were also a big topic of discussion. “It’s a tale of two cities in DC: the rise of the charter, and the decline of local schools,” said Del Piegalo. “The city has not done any planning to determine how the two systems can coexist.”

Del Pielago mourned the loss of resources funneling into neighborhood schools with the rise of charter schools. “We’re seeing the loss of the local school as the community gathering place,” said Del Pielago, a concern that was echoed by the panelists. Griffin wondered if the city was simply frustrated by their inability to fix the education system, and was eager to “outsource” the problem to charters.

Charter schools are also lottery based, and the panelists cautioned against the loss of “by-right” schools that a child is entitled to attend by virtue of their residence.

Audience members with children spoke up; one Ward 5 resident who wasn’t yet comfortable sending his daughter to a local school asked what he could do. The panelists encouraged parents in that situation to send their child to whatever school is best for the family, but to continue working to make the local schools better (much like Evelyn Boyd Simmons, the mom we wrote about recently who, though she is the Vice President of the Garrison Elementary PTA, sends her kids to Oyster-Adams Bilingual).

Ultimately, Griffin and other panelists felt that the rising tide of DC was a good thing. “When I was in fifth grade, my teacher did not even show up,” said Griffin. “The current school system is better than it’s ever been. I’m just very concerned that those who have lived here for generations will not take advantage of the improvements.”

The next discussion in the series is this coming Thursday, the 27th, at Tabaq Bistro on U Street. Entitled “Is it Renaissance or Gentrification? Examining the role of Public Policy and Economic Development,” panelists will include former Mayor Anthony Williams and Washington Post reporter Jonathan O’Connell.

Similar Posts:

See other articles related to: gentrification

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/gentrification_schools_and_affordable_housing_what_does_the_community_think/6059

0 Comments — Be the First!

Join the discussion

UrbanTurf now requires registration in order to post comments. Register here, or login below if you are already registered.

Click here if you forgot your password.



DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Ballston
Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Clarendon
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Rosslyn
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
Shirlington
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
Huntington
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
Parkfairfax
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »

Maryland

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Annapolis
Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bethesda
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
Potomac
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
Wheaton
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Hyattsville
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Bloomingdale
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
Brightwood
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
Burleith
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
Crestwood
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
Georgetown
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
Kalorama
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
Palisades
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Petworth
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
Shaw
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Takoma
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Tenleytown
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

Brookland
New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
Deanwood
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Eckington
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
Langdon
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
NoMa
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Rosedale
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
Trinidad
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Woodridge
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Hillcrest
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾