Chris was reading me an article about gentrification yesterday. One of the problems with gentrification is, although it makes the housing values rise in the neighborhood it also makes the property taxes rise. That means that the previous people who have lived there for a long time can’t afford to live there even if they own their houses outright.
If a neighborhood has become a tight community people who are less affluent have resources they can draw on. It’s more than just borrowing a cup of sugar. Sometimes you need a ride when your car breaks down. Sometimes you need to borrow an outfit for interview.
People who can buy a home and then fix it up have extra resources. It looks great after the home is fixed up. But the people who have been there for a while living in the houses with delayed maintenance are not just irresponsible. Maybe they’re very responsible. Maybe they don’t have the resources to do all the beautiful maintenance and upgrades.
Maybe their responsibility extends towards things of more immediate need than granite countertops.
So those people get pushed out. They must move because they simply cannot afford the taxes. California has prop 13 but most States do not have a property tax cap. People with less means get pushed out of gentrified areas into somewhere else. And their support system is broken causing a crisis.
Which may mean they need to rely on some form of public assistance. Which is why some people want to raise property taxes. It’s a bit of a cycle.
But I also wonder about communities. If you need an instant community when you are new to an area that has often meant going to a church. And churches that have strong communities are often fostered by charismatic personalities. That sort of despotic personality-whim based leadership leaves me shuddering. A bunch of insecure people in a new place are very vulnerable to spiritual manipulation.
But leaving that aside. Are churches those sort of support communities or are they another form of public assistance? Are they real communities or are they a committee that might grant you a dispensation of cash or help? What kind of community are our churches now?
How easy is it to fit in? It is hard to ask for help. it helps if you know you can grant some in return. Being uprooted can also upset the confidence that one day you could also help someone.
Communities are changing.