Weathering the Storm, Article 2

Gentrification and Redlining Series
by Erin Runnels

When it comes to discussing the causes of gentrification and redlining, fingers are pointed in all different directions about who’s responsible for the issue and fixing. Unfortunately, people who need help and are affected by it the most end up getting thrown into the crossfire of the blame game. Due to not getting the full scope of the situation, some people blame residents living in the deteriorating home for not taking care of it, but the reality is there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes.  

Picture this: The landlord is nowhere to be found and refuses to get things fixed in the house. The resident who lives there is stretched thin working two jobs just to pay rent and the monthly bills; let alone a leaky pipe under their kitchen sink. They’ve tried applying to the city’s home repair program, but it gets bombarded with hundreds of applications once a year and only a few actually get help because the requirements are so strict. At the end of the day, they still have to pay rent and make enough to cover their basic needs every month. And on top of all that, rent has been increasing due to inflation from COVID-19’s financial blow to the global economy.  

This is the living situation for many who live in the Bertrand neighborhood. While new modern apartments, unique restaurants and coffee shops are being built around them, they’re being priced out of their home because they can’t afford to keep up with the drastic changes. What is happening around Frazier is called gentrification and every year new buildings keep closing in on native residents, leaving them concerned about their future.  

This usually occurs when wealthy people move into poor neighborhoods and drive up the cost of living. As a result, residents are displaced from where they’ve spent their entire lives. When people are priced out of their neighborhood, they have to start all over again in a new environment. This is a huge inconvenience for them since moving costs money and time they most likely don’t have. 

When it comes down to getting to the root cause of the problem, it’s not about who should take the blame, it’s calling for accountability and positive change from those who created the environment in the first place.