Historically Black neighborhoods fear gentrification will push people out

Posted at 3:00 AM, Apr 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-30 08:01:35-04

New developments popping up in historically black parts of Lafayette are sparking concerns for the people who live there.

"Whenever an area gets redeveloped and has new investments in it, people become interested in it. And those who have the means, move in. And the tactics and strategies used, usually lead to those who actually live there, being pushed out," says Bishop John Milton, Esq.

In neighborhoods close to downtown known as 'The Block' and 'La Place' leaders say unpaid taxes, liens, need for repairs and foreclosure are all reasons people are losing their homes.

"We have people in my district that are losing homes that have been in their families for generations for factors that are sometimes beyond their control," says Councilman Glenn Lazard, Dictrict 5.

Once the owner is out and the property for sale, it can be purchased and developed, which could drive up the cost of nearby homes, making them, in many cases, inaccessible to the people who have long been living here.

The fear is if the properties in these neighborhoods are bought the long-standing history and culture will be lost.

"It is very crucial to me that we do everything in our powers to not only help people remain in their homes but help people to acquire their own homes," says Lazard.

"Sometimes people are in a state of hopelessness. They don't know what they can do about it. They don't have the money, they don't have the credit, but they don't know that the alternatives are out there," says Milton.

Saturday at the Domingue Center, local leaders will have answers to some of these questions and actions neighbors can take to maintain their homes.

The event is Saturday, May 1, from 9:00 am to noon.

Anyone who lives in an affected neighborhood who is looking to sell property, worried about foreclosure, or stands to inherit a home nearby is invited to attend. Government resources, churches, and housing development organizations will be available to offer assistance.