Is it right to forcefully remove families out of their homes to improve the well being of the community’s economy and health? Well, some folks call it gentrification. Gentrification is when a certain land is improved to the comfort of middle-class folks. This, of course, is really effective and removes a family from there home while wealthier people come in and take over the place. However, by increasing the rent, more money goes to schools etc. Unfortunately, gentrifying poor areas breaks families apart and makes them very unstable financially, creating more poverty within the people.Shockingly, there have been some interviews and articles heavily frowning upon the idea of gentrification affecting a community in a horrendous way, specifically Oakland.

Firstly, gentrifying Oakland will help it on the long run and the people’s health matter the most because that’s what’s going to make them able to make an even greater improvement to the community., Emily Y. has been around Oakland for a long time. She has seen friends move out and move in. Emily Y. is a Youth Action Board member at HOPE (Helping Oakland’s People and Community) collaborative. Emily and her coworkers strongly believe in people’s health physically and mentally. By joining HOPE, they (myself included) focus on providing healthier choices for the people specifically in both West and East Oakland because there are more obesity rates reported in those areas/communities. She pointed out, “ … I come from a pretty stable family but I have seen lots of changes throughout Oakland itself. Like new shops being opened and more colored folks are having more jobs that lots of white folks were only able to to get” (Y). Emily has been in HOPE for a great amount of time that she sees People of Color are the folks who are most affected by in a beneficial way. Emily is vaguely saying that if People of Color are getting better jobs like White folks, that means that there is a well balanced distribute of money going into many different families. Meaning that everyone will have a better chance of affording fresh healthy foods.  Gabe, a coworker of Emily, also has seen some white folks move in “East and West Oakland separates both white and colored folks. Even though there are a lot of food deserts in both of those areas.” (Santiago). Gabe focused more on how gentrification might be helpful in some areas because food deserts heavily impact the people in the area for a long time because of the mental and physical well being of people. Healthy food is a great way to effectively combat obesity, diabetes, and/or strokes by choosing better options for an affordable price.

Benefiting the next generation

The gentrification’s economics assist the community in many ways. Most importantly, schools are the ones that benefit from having more money come in, which assists the young folks. Placing in more funds towards schools provide more available programs for high schoolers and greater experiences for middle school folks. Coline, an ex-after school teacher that worked for AIA, comments, “Oakland has actually changed a lot since I came here.” Coline stated this while she and I were having a conversation about how Oakland schools have been improving based on the surrounding neighborhoods. Surprisingly, she found it shocking that there are a lot of OUSD schools improving, but it takes a lot of time to notice the changes yourself. We, humans, adapt to our environment quickly. Sabba AIA made a quick statement that down on Seminary, there is some gentrification happening. Which is good because there are a lot of people who don’t have access to a close Walgreens.

On the other hand, some people say that gentrification causes people to move out. On February ninth, Olivia Allen Price declared in an article under the KQED website, “It’s nearly impossible to get an exact number of how many people are being displaced because we can’t know why everyone decides or is forced, to move.” Allen clearly confirmed that the exact number of people moving out aren’t recorded because there is no one to track it. Neither would the people who are moving out would say where they are moving into. Concludingly, saying that people have to move out based on gentrification is not a strong claim.

Concluding, what matters the most is to make a change that creates a greater benefit towards the next generations of children. Gentrification helps lots of areas grow by making them astonishingly better. Health itself is even more important. The ability to be healthy creates more opportunities for people who actually want to create even more changes to their communities.

Photo by Daniel Arauz


CC BY-SA 4.0 Is Gentrification Beneficial in the Long Run? by Josue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

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