North, West, Point Breeze residents feel effects of gentrification
Baba Bob Shipman | 02.01.2010
Obama's stimulus money not getting to the inner city home owners. The white flight to the suburbs, left decaying properties that were relined by banks. Residents were unable to receive standard loans, when the loans did come in the predatory and helped to cause the housing crisis nationally.
And gentrification isn’t something that’s taking place just in Point Breeze. Residents of West, North and Southwest Philadelphia have equal cause for concern.
Mayor Nutter made a announcement that Development Permitting Process improvements to the permitting process stated it will make it more efficient, clear and affordable.Community residents, business owners and small contractors to take advantage of came out last week, to late for those in the community to play catch up.
Background by Larry Miller, Philadelphia Tribune Staff Writer:
Long-time residents of Point Breeze in South Philadelphia have argued that urban gentrification is happening to them in the worst way.
The process of gentrification is defined as “the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.”
It is a process the residents of Point Breeze are deeply concerned about as they have witnessed the urban renewal taking place around them.
To them, in the not too distant future, a community of poor African Americans and whites that was allowed to deteriorate in the past, will become a patchwork of trendy eateries, upscale shops and luxury homes.
They said when that happens, Point Breeze, one of Philadelphia’s oldest African-American communities, will be gone. Concerned Citizens of Point Breeze, a growing anti-gentrification movement in South Philadelphia, is fighting to stop market rate housing from pushing out poor and working-class families.
They told The Tribune this week that an influx of federal stimulus cash had not been allocated to help them rebuild their homes but to re-develop the community, raise the property taxes and eventually price them out.
And gentrification isn’t something that’s taking place just in Point Breeze. Residents of West, North and Southwest Philadelphia have equal cause for concern. “The Cecil B. Moores, David Richardsons and Leon Sullivans are gone,” said Wayne Rahman, president of the Sister Clara Muhammad Community Development Corporation. “Our primary concerns are with the lack of political leverage within the affected communities and the strategic processes with the Philadelphia Planning Commission and the Re-development Authority. There is not enough participation from the South Philadelphia African-American community. There is no open door policy regarding their plans. Point Breeze, the 30th Ward, is the mother of gentrification for South Philadelphia. These are some serious issues.”
Rahman said the members’ concern is an influx of federal stimulus dollars funneled through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
“This stimulus money comes at a time when we’re very concerned about gentrification in the neighborhood,” said Betty Buford, president of Concerned Citizens of Point Breeze. “At both 1741 Federal St. and 23rd and Alter Street, residential properties are on the market for $300,000. At 1737 Manton St., a penthouse is being built that will be in the high $300,000’s. How can low income people stay in Point Breeze with those houses coming up all around them? In just one year, from 2008 to 2009, the median home sale price in Point Breeze has gone up 45.7 percent or $29,500.”
Buford said RDA and the City Planning Commission were going to have a meeting that the community only got a whiff of. They waited to see if the community would be notified, but that didn’t happen. At an Oct. 6 meeting, it was made clear that community involvement was non-existent, Buford said.
READ MORE by Larry Miller, Philadelphia Tribune