Deepening Our Roots The housing crisis in our communities is part of a deeper problem; we're working to address the systemic issues.
By Vincent Jones
SUMMER 2019 | SUITELIFESOCAL.COM
From South Los Angeles to Oakland to Long Beach and beyond, California’s historically black neighborhoods are being hit hard by the housing crisis. In community organizations, churches, and family functions, we hear stories of how neighborhoods are being turned upside-down by displacement and gentrication. Unfortunately, the California dream is becoming a nightmare for a growing share of African Americans who are locked out of the abundant opportunities available in our state due to a lack of affordable housing options. At California YIMBY, we’ve been working hard to make sure that the people in Sacramento hear what we’ve been feeling in communities of color for decades: a disparity in housing opportunities for black and Latino families. We’re also working diligently to contribute to the solution with reforms at the local, regional, and state levels that could ensure housing equity isn’t just a catch-phrase for debate, but an actual principle and practice in how our communities grow. There’s no denying the depth of the crisis. In Los Angeles, we’ve learned that over 30% of people experiencing homelessness are African American - despite making up just 9% of the population. In Oakland, the black population has fallen from its high of 47% in 2000 to 31% today - a loss of 27,000 African Americans during that time. The reality hidden behind these numbers doesn’t just happen on its own. Inaction and, at times, intentional efforts to change the complexion of neighborhoods lead to these results. A history of racial redlining - the practice of legally prohibiting black families from living in certain neighborhoods established long-standing patterns of neighborhood segregation that continue to this day. Indeed, Berkeley, California, home to a rich history of black activism, pioneered the practice of drawing lines around neighborhoods of singlefamily homes and saying “No Blacks Allowed.”