The neighborhood of Oak Park is known as a low-income area. Now, it is known as a place where up and coming events are happening and the locals are getting pushed out.
Recently, many residents of Sacramento have had to deal with rising rents as property values continue to rise. Mayor Darrell Steinberg addressed the problem by talking about ways to make housing more affordable in the city. According to newly released data, Sacramento rents jumped 9.3 percent in 2017, the largest increase in the country.
To further discuss this issue, and specifically to delve into rent stabilization and “just cause evictions”, the City is holding a public workshop on September 4th at 5 p.m at the City Council chambers on 915 I Street.
“We have to recognize that creating more supply is going to take some time, and we cannot ignore the plight of people who are suffering today,” Steinberg said. “These are people at risk for losing their apartments.”
Steinberg thinks a multiple-pronged approach is needed. The earlier workshop was about increasing the affordability of housing in Sacramento, where staff presented ideas for how to speed the construction of more affordable housing by reducing parking requirements and waiving fees, among other things.
Steinberg has been negotiating for months with housing advocates and labor and business leaders to come up with a plan that will shield renters from excessive increases. He believes that the talks will not put brakes on new units built.
A showing of City Rising will be playing for free at the Crest Theater on 1013 K Street at 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm on December 14th. After the screening of the movie there will be a discussion panel afterwards. RSVPing to this event is required, and you can find the link to tickets here.
City Rising is about gentrification in the United States. Gentrification is when businesses reinvest in an area that is typically of a lower class. To business owners, this practice is called revitalization.
Though this may sound good, many of the people who have lived in these areas for years get forced out of their homes because their rent is increasing too much, and the cost of living gets too high for them to pay.
In a previous article about the documentary itself, Jazmine Justice-Young got a quote from the documentary.
“The area, which used to be mostly, predominantly black… I go there and I don’t even see black people anymore,” Tanya Faison said in the documentary. “Our mayor has taken it and flipped it and renovated it. People are being criminalized. People are being paid to move out of their apartments.”
Whether you think of the practice of increasing rent to be Gentrification or revitalization, watch the movie and join the discussion about the practice with other people who are interested in the topic.
City Rising is a documentary featuring the effects gentrification has in California cities. Gentrification is the process of revitalizing a lower income area to meet the needs of the middle class, and it is typical that the current residents get displaced because they can’t pay the rising prices.
One of the cities featured in this documentary is Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood, specifically in the revitalized area rebranded the Triangle District.
Oak Park was originally a suburb consisting of predominantly white families and a handful of black and Mexican-American families until the 1940s. After World War II, community growth decreased dramatically, forcing white business owners and families to sell their properties. Minorities quickly settled into Oak Park after that because it was one of the few neighborhoods that allowed non-white homeowners.
By the late 1960’s the California State Fair Commission decided it would be better to move the fairgrounds into northern Sacramento, which was the primary source of Oak Park’s economic activity. The documentary explains how Oak Park’s continued economic decline increases crime rates and police presence and eventually adopted the reputation it had in the 1980’s.
This all changed in the 2000’s when the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency and the St. Hope Development Corporation collaborated in turning downtown into an economic engine, starting with renovating the Woodruff Hotel and Guild Theater into lofts and small businesses.
“This project is a much-needed catalyst that will boost the economy and vitality of the Oak Park community,” said former council member Lauren Hammond.
However, not everyone in the community agrees with that.
The founder of Black Lives Matter Sacramento, Tanya Faison, is concerned on how changes in the community will affect its current residents as newer residents begin to flood into the area.
“The area, which used to be mostly, predominantly black… I go there and I don’t even see black people anymore,” Faison expressed in the documentary. “Our mayor has taken it and flipped it and renovated it. People are being criminalized. People are being paid to move out of their apartments.”
Balancing the needs of residents while also trying to stimulate economic activity through a renovation is a struggle for cities, Manuel Pastor, director of the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity explained. “How can you get in the economic activity that you need to provide to your residents? Public investment is a sign of our public commitment to particular areas and particular people.”
The documentary KCET City Rising: Documentary on Gentrification and Displacement can be watched here.