A Ward 4 resident protests against gentrification. (Courtesy photo)

Gentrification is notably the number one cause for the displacement of low-income and Black residents in D.C. But how does gentrification happen? And what are the examples of gentrification causing longtime District residents to be pushed or priced out of their homes?

Why are some neighborhoods targeted to gentrify, and what are the long-term adverse effects of gentrification on building and sustaining wealth for Black D.C. residents?

Residents in Wards 7 and 8 have watched economic and housing growth across the city, and they are bracing themselves for a shift that is storming its way to their doorsteps. They foresee a takeover of what was once an affordable community to live in despite what others have historically viewed as neighborhoods that are geographically, economically, and racially unattractive.

Times have changed though, and neighborhoods in Wards 7 and 8 are quickly becoming the hottest real estate markets in the city.

Gentrification in D.C. has reached its last frontier.

The Washington Informer, in partnership with the Center for Public Integrity, announces a year-long journalism study to determine the factors causing Black and low-income residents, including seniors, in Wards 7 and 8 to lose their homes. The project will also explore the sources of information and public or private resources to help residents save their homes.

Our House: Keeping Homes Black-Owned in D.C.’s Ward 7 and 8 is a year-long journalism project that will include a series of articles about gentrification, tax sales and foreclosure published in The Washington Informer, a bi-weekly e-newsletter, community events, data reports, and personal testimonies from residents to determine to what extent property tax sales – also known as the “gentrification tax” – are impacting homeownership among African American families in Wards 7 and 8. The project will also examine the short-and long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic moratorium on mortgage foreclosures soon to be lifted in D.C.

“I am extremely excited to engage in this work that will address a critical issue – gentrification – that has played out across the District and how it is displacing residents east of the Anacostia River,” said Washington Informer Publisher Denise Rolark Barnes.

“This project will provide a newsletter offering a one-stop source of information about gentrification and resources available to help residents keep their homes,” Barnes added. “Data research and analyses provided by CPI will deliver added value to residents, community groups, policymakers, elected officials and financial institutions that play critical roles in the preservation and gentrification of Black neighborhoods.”

Interested in learning more about black homeownership?

In The Washington Informer’s annual Homeownership Issue published Thursday, June 10, in recognition of Home Ownership Month in June, readers will find the project’s first survey soliciting residents’ perspectives on gentrification and its impact on their neighborhoods. The Informer has also launched the Our House landing page, where the survey and other information is posted on The Informer’s website at www.washingtoninformer.com. Readers can also sign-up for the Our House Newsletter to be delivered bi-weekly by email.


WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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