Gentrification and Affordable Housing Essay

Gentrification and Affordable Housing

In South Florida, people belonging to low-income group have been suffering from a shortage of affordable housing schemes for a long period of time. The dwindling housing stock is compelling the poor to take some degree of risk while attaining some decent and affordable housing unit. Black community is the worst hit by this crisis, as gentrification forcing them to leave their neighborhood to accommodate the wealthy and the privileged.

            The crisis is worsening day after day but the officals of the local governments do not give much heed to the problem, and instead of increasing the number of affordable units they only contribute to the crisis. “Far from being an ally in the fight for decent human housing, the government, in the pockets of wealthy developers looking to become even wealthier, made the crisis worse”. (Anthony, 282)

To address this gruesome issue, the local commnity organizations tried in vain to cause a meaningfully impact on public policy through engagement. The surface of issues the poor and under-priviliged face up to are gentrification, however, as the system and structural questions imply, the fundamental issues are really land and power. “We must fundamentally change the power relationship between people and land in order to avoid being segregated into and gentrified out of our land, at the whim of those who benefit from our misery and the officials who do their bidding”. (Whoriskey, A1)

The effected people did everything under the sun to engage decision makers with a combination of talk and pressure, relying on logic, statistics and appeals of conscious, urging a public policy which benefits the common good. “Elected officials dissed them, the media ignored them and the people suffered. Nonetheless, it cannot be said that the community did not work within the system to seek meaningful change. They tried that route, in good faith and over time. The system failed them, and, therefore, they can not rely on it to solve their most fundamental problems”. (Connerly and Smith, 63)

As gentrification and the housing crisis have re-emerged in public discourse, spurred by the exposure of scandal inside Miami-Dade County government, it is clear that three distinct issue areas exist:
Corruption: Government officials and developers engage each other in immoral, unethical and illegal ways. Corruption prevents the public from getting the most for their tax money and officials from making decisions with the best interest of the people at heart. Corruption is a severe and pervasive problem in South Florida government and business life. However, it is important to recognize that corruption did not cause the shortage of affordable housing; it only exacerbated an existing crisis. (Carlson and Mathur, 20)

Economic and Social System: Corruption and public policy aside, the real question is this: does the economic and social system directly benefit from maintaining a permanent underclass? If so, is the system itself capable of providing that class with housing and social services? The structural issue of the relationship between poor Black people and the land they occupy, but do not own or control, is at the heart of segregation and gentrification. (Carlson and Mathur, 20)

Works Cited

Anthony, Jerry. “The Effects of Florida’s Growth Management Act on Housing Affordability”

            Journal of the American Planning Assocation 69 (Summer 2003) 282-295.

Carlson, Daniel and Mathur, Shishir. “Does Growth Management Aid Affordable Housing?” in

Anthony Downs (ed.) Growth Management and Affordable Housing: Do They Conflict?,

Brookings Institution Press, 2004, 20-66.

Connerly, Charles E. and Smith, Marc. “Developing a Fair Share Housing Policy for Florida”,

            Journal of Land use and Environmental Law, 12 (Fall 1996) 63-102.

 Whoriskey, Peter. “Cities Find Ways Around Affordable Housing Rules”, Miami Herald, March

            8, 1999, p. 1A.