July 20, 2021

We’re Not Moving Out: Building Inclusive Communities Across America

Affordable Housing Webinar Series

Vu-Bang Nguyen  (03:05):

Great. Well, thanks everybody for joining us today. My name is Vu-Bang. I'm a Program Manager with Exygy. I'm just going to be going over some items before we start introductions with our panelists. So, just, you know, we're going to be taking some time at the end, for our Q&A. So if you have any questions, feel free to leave it in the chat, on an ongoing basis. And then we'll go back towards the end to answer those. We'll be live updating, everything on Twitter, if you want to stay active on social media that way, our Twitter handle is @Exygy, which, my colleague will post, in a little bit. And just another reminder that we'll be recording this. This is part of an ongoing series related to Bloom Housing.

Nguyen  (03:48):

The piece of the portal that we developed that works on affordable housing, which we'll be discussing just a little bit today, shortly. So why don't we get started? So the reason why we're all here today is, you know, Exygy developed this affordable housing portal called Bloom Housing. It creates, an online, access point for folks to see available affordable housing listings and apply digitally for new opportunities. It also allows developers to manage applications as they come in. Through the implementation of this work, we realized that a lot of cities and counties have housing preferences, which provide access for folks priorities for folks who are from certain communities and populations to have a leg up on available for affordable housing when it's available.

Nguyen  (04:42):

And so one of these preferences that, different cities and counties have, is around displacement. So they want to protect their existing residents from being displaced. So certain neighborhoods that are at risk of being displaced, have this priority. Also folks who have been displaced from these communities that want to move back, have priority, for new housing as they become available. And so we wanted to step back and have a conversation around displacement and how, tools, especially digital tools, has been, have been helping folks who have been dealing with displacement. And so we wanted to bring in panelists from throughout the country in this case, Bay Area, Seattle and Tennessee, to talk about this. So for the next few minutes, we're just going to be introducing our panelists and showing you some slides from their work. And then we're going to go through some questions and then have a Q&A at the end. So let's get started. The first person is Cynthia Brothers from Seattle. Welcome if you could, describe the work that you do with Vanishing Seattle, and we'll pull up your slides in a bit.

Cynthia Brothers (05:45):

Great. Thanks to Vu-Bang. And, thanks Exygy for hosting this panel. Just really excited to be a part of this conversation today. My fabulous co-panelists. So my name is Cynthia Brothers. I'm the founder of Vanishing Seattle, which is a media project that documents the displaced and disappearing spaces of Seattle, and also celebrates the places Ithat give the city, its soul. This is just a quick snapshot of some recent posts that have, populated to my website. I will say that the focus of bashing Seattle is a lot broader than housing. I tend to post more on small businesses and community and cultural gathering places that are being pushed out. Although it seems that quite a lot of the small businesses are vanishing, due to demolition and development, other spaces into housing. But I will do posts on apartments and homes that are being demoed for other types of housing because you know, of course it's part of the ecosystem and the makeup of the city.

Brothers (06:54):

So I'll just share with you a quick example of a recent post that I've done on a couple of homes. Next slide, please. These are a couple of homes in the Central District, which has Seattle's historically Red Lined and Black community. And a lot of times I'll get this type of content just by seeing the notice of proposed land use action signs throughout the city, or folks will send me what they're seeing in their neighborhoods. And, I'll do a little research, look up city records about, you know, the houses that, or their residences that are there now. Any information I can find about folks who lived in them and then information about what is planned for that space. So what I posted on these homes, I didn't know this because it was not included in the historical report, but thanks to a comment left by the Black Heritage Society of Washington, they call attention to the fact that this was a long time residence of Frank Jenkins.

Brothers (07:53):

Next slide please. So I did a little research into Frank Jenkins and did a follow-up post about him, and he was an extremely influential local labor leader and activist for 50 years. He was a longshoreman and he opened a lot of employment opportunities and equity for workers of color along the waterfront. And, after I shared this post, it got a lot of traction. I was contacted by the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union of which Frank was a leader for many years. And they along with members of Frank's family and other activists decided to organize, as a result of seeing this post organize a rally in front of his former residence on Juneteenth to call attention to his significant contributions to local Black history and labor history. So that was just one example of how, you know, when people share their stories and local knowledge on the Vanishing Seattle platform, it helps kind of uncover and amplify and share, these important local histories that are, many feel are being lost to, this, you know, rampant, developments and so-called progress. There's interest in saving the house. But unfortunately that probably won't happen at this point because all of this was left out of the historical record. But anyway, there's an example of some of the, activity that happens on the platform. And I'm happy to talk more about that later. Thanks. Great. Thank you, Tim, if you could talk about Urban Displacement.

Tim Thomas (09:29):

Sure. Thanks again for having me. It's just a real pleasure to be here. My name's Tim Thomas, I'm the research director for Berkeley's Urban Displacement Project. And a lot of the work that we do is around producing tools to help understand where gentrification, displacement and exclusion are occurring, but we also work a lot on policy recommendations and what works, what areas are doing it well, things like that, we just recently, just finished a year-long project called the housing procarity risk model in response to COVID-19. Largely what this project does is it allows us to understand where are the highest risks of displacement and eviction for post pandemic neighborhoods. So by and large, this tool is used to try and help cities kind of see where vulnerable populations live, where displacement, eviction, and as well as long-term poverty may proceed after the pandemic recession.

Thomas (10:35):

And, I'm happy to talk to anyone that's, you know, , interested in hearing more about this project, but, next slide, please. One of the things that we've seen in this is that housing procarity, which is kind of defined as resilience to economic shocks, there are, across 53 metros that we analyzed 41% of all households inside those 53 metros live in moderate to high eviction or displacement risk neighborhoods. Next slide please. And to, Cynthia's point, and I'm sure you'll hear a lot more on this panel, that there's a huge racial equity issue in housing. We see that 73% of all Black renters live in moderate to high eviction or displacement risk neighborhoods across these 53 states. So this kind of, these details, you know, the purpose of this is so we could help local and state and federal agencies try to direct resources, to areas that are in need.

Thomas (11:37):

Next slide please. In addition, you know, one of the things that it highlights in particular, this shows Atlanta a lot of the high risk of these locations, as you can see, if you know Atlanta well at all down on the south side of Atlanta is largely where much of the Black segregation has occurred in the South. And, because of the legacies of segregation, the legacies of Red Lining all these dynamics related to housing, there's also current day, procarity persisting in these areas. This happens across every single city that we see, South Chicago, all these other areas, South Seattle, where Black displacement is happening in other spaces like that. Next slide, please. In addition to this work, we also produce tools on identifying where gentrification and displacement and, exclusion are. And I'll talk a little bit more about those different dynamics, later on, but I'm just very excited to be here. Thank you.

Nguyen  (12:40):

Great. Thank you, Tim. Dominique, would you like to talk to us about Tennessee?

Dominique Anderson (12:46):

All the time, every day. Thank you so much. So I'm Dominique Anderson, Executive Director of the Tennessee Affordable Housing Coalition.We're roughly 300 thought leaders and practitioners spanning housing authorities and finance real estate education, and bore to create a unified voice across Tennessee on the affordable housing issue. Next slide. And so we do three things at a really high level, which is connect, educate, and advocate. So we connect our members at virtual hybrid and in person events to foster collaboration and strategic partnerships. We're often creating conversations across for-profit and nonprofit sectors to create more safe, healthy, and affordable housing. Next slide. We also focus on, education. So we educate. We educate, and so we're offering educational opportunities via annual meetings and conferences on our YouTube blog, brown bag and affordable as well as speakers and thought leaders at monthly meetings.

Anderson (13:55):

And then my final slide, there we go. Okay. And so we also advocate, there are other organizations, like, for example, if you all are familiar with Urban Land Institute, it's amazing organization. I sit in a lot of, I am a chair of various things, committees throughout ULI, but one of the things that we really hang our hat on is the opportunity to advocate. So we take the voice of our body, to the Tennessee legislature for things like Day on the Hill. And, we represent this voice of the body in pressing affordable housing policies to legislative bodies, locally, regionally and beyond, and outside of the affordable housing coalition, I'm also a consultant in affordable housing and social impact strategy as well as community building through Dominique Anderson Consulting. Thank you. Glad to be here.

Nguyen  (14:45):

Great. Thank you, Dominique. So yeah, so we're going to jump into the questions now. The first question is a bit of context setting, you know, realizing that we have decades worth of sort of policies that have led us to this point, including Red Lining and urban renewal. The first question is what are the immediate conditions or systems, that are causing today's gentrification displacement issues? And we'll start with Tim.

Thomas (15:09):

Yeah. You know, what's interesting right now is that over the past 20 years, we've gone through some very unique, recessions, particularly housing related and, you know, with the 2008 housing crisis, it impacted mortgage, folks in, onto the pandemic recession that, occurred after a massive increases in rent where homelessness and eviction and displacement started becoming very, hot topics. And, this change in dynamics in housing and economics has kind of led to, you know, the spark and trying to understand how does gentrification work as we all know, as we're all interested. And what's interesting that we have found in a lot of our research is that displacement actually of low income households actually precedes gentrification. So spaces that you're seeing that are quote unquote, being gentrified, have already displaced a lot of the vulnerable population that could not afford to live there.

Thomas (16:12):

And what's interesting is where are those people going? By and large, you know, again, like I had mentioned before this falls along the lines of race and equity, and what we see often is that areas where displacement is happening, the folks where they're heading to the destinations, are areas where a lot of eviction are happening and, for low-income households. And so setting up this idea or trying to understand that displacement actually precedes gentrification is an important point. But in addition to that in and above gentrification, on the other end is the idea of exclusivity. So in other words, there's a lot of places that people just can't move to because they can't afford to, I kind of call this highways of migration. You think about the number of tracks that low-income households could actually move into. They're actually very limited. And so it's important for us to try and identify where those spaces and try to protect them.

Brothers (17:11):

I'll just jump in, to comment about what folks are seeing in Seattle, that is contributing to gentrification and displacement. I mean, I think no surprise, the growth of Amazon and big tech has been like a huge factor, and contributing to the widening, you know, wealth and income disparities, luxury and speculative predatory developments, and just, you know, all these things that are contributing to, increasing on affordability in Seattle, you know, housing, but also just, you know, otherwise around cost of living. With a pandemic, you know, this idea in reality of disaster gentrification also seems to be pushing a lot of folks out from homes and small businesses. It doesn't seem like it's really slowed down, the pace of development, especially luxury developments. And then there just seems to be a lack, there's definitely a felt urgency on the ground, but in terms of really tangible transformative interventions, resources, policy solutions, it just seems like it's not keeping up with the pace at which folks are being pushed out.

Anderson (18:35):

You know, it's funny, I'll jump in, you know, as we talk about, the pace, it's a really great segue into thinking about, you know, Nashville. I think, I don't think you can have a conversation now where somebody doesn't bring up Nashville, everybody's moving to Nashville. Like literally Nashville is closed. I just want, I don't know if you want to here, but it's closed. We can't take any more visitors, right? So it became a chase, the it city for so long and became the it city. That caused a hundred people a day roughly to move into Nashville. And, it wound up displacing longtime residents in areas that are majority Black or poor, right? Because here two areas that have become so hot North Nashville and East Nashville. One was, you know, historically majority Black one was, it had a different economy, so a poor economy, a more middle working class economy.

Anderson (19:30):

Oftentimes inside of East Nashville, you can swing the pendulum the other way and go west to Memphis. And there's a lack of education and access to education, supporting renters' rights and home ownership. In both cities, the wage disparities and housing costs, outpacing wages really caused the, the largest brunt of that displacement. The Eastern part of the state has a more aging population. So while they may not need those new homes, there are people that want to age in place in their homes are just older and, you know, not affordable in, in that respect.

Nguyen  (20:06):

Great. Thanks Dominique. And I think I'll, we'll stay with you for the next question, which I think everybody would want to hear based on what you said is, you know, what are folks doing in your region to combat combat displacement?

Anderson (20:17):

You know, the access to, and focus on education for things like home ownership and tenants rights and rights and responsibilities and policies. And there's a great organization in Nashville. That's doing work with neighborhood organizations to help them understand policy and stoning and all these things. And they do an academy. I did it last summer and it's great. It's really great information. So if you're a neighborhood organization that wants to be empowered, it's a great place to start. Employment, business, mentorship education. So for example, THDA Tennessee Housing Development Agency has a program in Memphis where they have three high schools, they're teaching them soft skills and construction. And so when those youth come out of school, they graduated and all have jobs, right? So that is empowering the youth, that's empowering communities of color and that's helping the economy, and then knowledge, knowledge surrounding policy and zoning practices as well as neighborhood empowerment. And so again, in Memphis Center for Transforming Communities, CTC does a lot of organizing and boots on the ground work there are organizations in East Tennessee, also doing boots on the ground work and education inside of, just really marginalized communities across Tennessee.

Brothers (21:37):

I'll jump in for what I've seen in Seattle. I mean the city has a really rich history of resistance and protest and organizing luckily all of our organizers haven't been priced out yet. So yeah, we've got a lot of really great, great groups that are trading their own models around staying rooted, that are very community and culturally centered. Both for residents and for small businesses and services, looking at alternative models for ownership like cooperatives and land trusts. I think this might be getting put in the chat, but it's probably just most makes no sense for me to shout out a few groups that are doing great work here now. Clear The Land, they just recently successfully bought a 12 bedroom house, for transitional and permanent housing for queer trans people of color.

Brothers (22:33):

The Chinatown International District Coalition, AKA Humbows not Hotels, I'm also a founding member of that group that does a lot of anti-displacement work in Chinatown International District. King County Equity Now in Africatown Land Trusts, doing a lot of work in, Seattle's Black community around land ownership and self-determination, and right to return. Chief Seattle Club, doing a lot of work around Indigenous housing, interim community development association. And I'd say something that, like a common thread amongst all of these groups is that they are, you know, very much community driven and keeping in mind, we have a holistic approach I'd say around the importance of, culture and identity and, yeah, just, you know, creating safe, accessible spaces for folks in their, in their own communities as directly impacted people.

Thomas (23:35):

Yeah. I, you know, I think just kind of following up on Cynthia's comment too, that one of the most powerful things that has prevented a lot of gentrification displacement are the local community-based organizations or CBOs, San Francisco in particular. I mean, I think that they're just a great model on an intersection between strong CBOs and, willingness to enact policies that protect tenants, in particular, the Mission District has, you know, several groups that are, the Mission District is mostly Latin X and Black diverse population out there. And, they, you know, a lot of these groups have just been very, very intense and trying to push and, show what the disparities are in terms of displacement, eviction, and all those kinds of risks in this kind of works well, partly because of the history back at activism in San Francisco, but also because of the willingness of the city itself and the county to push policies that try to address these issues.

Thomas (24:48):

So for example, these policies have long lasting effects in reducing displacement. I always think that San Francisco should have gentrified a lot more than it did, but it was because of the policies and the activism that really helped stem that tide.You know, for example, we did an analysis recently on pandemic evictions, and we found that in the nine county Bay Area, there were about 500 sheriff lockouts. So that's after notice and after filing and, you know, that's not a lot, but it's quite a bit, but what was interesting as we saw in San Francisco and Oakland two places that had the highest levels of policy, protections for tenants, as well as, active groups, helping tenants, there were a couple of dozen, evictions there, but in, you know, San Jose, there were over a hundred and Contra Costa there over a hundred and then Sacramento in the city alone had 500. And what was very distinct about that is the level of protections in each of those spaces, seeing that the higher rate of, policy protections really reduced pandemic evictions and will likely continue to reduce those risks of displacement in the future too.

Nguyen  (26:12):

Can you tell us what some of these policies are? Maybe the more obvious ones are maybe the ones that are just difficult to implement locally?

Thomas (26:19):

Yeah. You know, we, kind of adhere to a, this model, we call the three P's, tenant protections, preservation of existing affordable housing and production of affordable housing. And depending on where you're at, what city you're in, you know, or what type of neighborhood you're looking at, you know, policies kind of work differently. So for example, in a renter city, things like just-cause is very effective. In fact, we've, just released a recent study through our director, Karen Chapple looking at just cause versus rent control and just-cause has a lot of protections that protect really vulnerable populations, whereas rent stabilization, it helps, but it can also it helps different groups across different classes, so low income, middle income, things like that. Other kind of recommendations, we have a policy tool that lists, just a whole glossary of anti-displacement policies, including rent stabilization, rent review boards and mediation, single room occupancy, preservation, condominium conversions, foreclosure assistance, a whole list of things. One of the big things too, is this idea of, inclusionary zoning or, you know, some cities have been taking on this idea about single family zone housing, trying to convert that to multi-family zone housing. So, happy to talk more about that.

Nguyen  (27:53):

And yeah, just do a quick plug on Karen Chapel for folks. There are folks from Toronto on this chat, and it was just announced that Karen's moving over to the University of Toronto and opening up. Is it going to be, I assume, a similar type of school of cities and, similar to the Berkeley project

Thomas (28:11):

That's right. Making it international now

Anderson (28:19):

That's, very interesting. I liked the focus on policy and zoning. I think that's something in Nashville and in Tennessee that we're really focused on. I know that inclusionary zoning didn't make it, it got voted down in Tennessee, so that was kind of a hit to the affordable housing community. One of the things that we've had great success with are community benefits agreements, and that's really helped with all of the, developers that are coming into the cities, right? And for example, this major league soccer, you know, came to Nashville and wanted to build a soccer stadium. And there was a, stop by a group called Standup Nashville that said, listen, if we're going to build this stadium and we need to have this community benefits agreement, and it was a legally binding document, and we wanted to make sure that there were jobs and local jobs and all of these things in that same spirit of community benefits agreements has happened in Memphis.

Anderson (29:18):

And I would say Eastern Tennessee as well, but there, the projects haven't been quite as polarizing that have been, put out, also there is an alignment with neighborhood organizations. For example, I worked with a group called South Nashville Action People or SNAP, a hot area, Wedgewood Houston— it's a hot community for development and it's an, you know, great location in the city, but we had to take a stop against a lot of the development that was happening and really have conversations. And in my work in so many places, I sit in that middle between development and organization or community and try to help a voice that's heard on each side. And so that's been very helpful, with moving equitable development and equitable growth. Then also really great relationships with council people has been has been incredibly helpful and the zoning offices that we've made a lot of headway with creating real intentional conversations about equitable growth.

Nguyen  (30:17):

Great. And we've talked a lot about, about the tools,that folks have talked about as well as the community organizing piece. Are there ways to sort of connect both of them, to have a more holistic approach? Cynthia, do you want to answer this one first?

Brothers (30:33):

Yeah. And I'll just say quickly in response to, Dominique earlier comment about community benefit agreements. I mean, I think that's something that we really want and need in Seattle. A lot of the groups that I've talked to our work with this has been a big push because right now it's just kind of up to the discretion of developers to be like, oh, sure, yeah, we'll give you that or not. And without anything on paper, to really hold them accountable to that. So I think that would be extremely helpful as well as updating some of these, codes in historic districts that, might be concerned with protecting like Asian character, for example, in the Chinatown International District. But it really requires, I mean, it's, it's outdated. It's from like the mid seventies when Seattle was a very different place in terms of economics and, you know, real estate.

Brothers (31:23):

And so an update and overhaul is really needed, and a push to include provisions for equity, as opposed to like, you know, just what is,what kind of building material are you using? So thank you for raising that. I mean, in terms of, how, like I try to interact with Vanishing Seattle and some of the, you know, on the ground organizing efforts I mean, at this point I think the number of followers that Vanishing Seattle has across platforms is about like 80,000. So, you know, and I don't consider myself like an expert in, you know, all these neighborhoods or policies or like needs of the various communities of Seattle. So, I'll trust, just try to amplify, you know, the stories, the efforts, the campaigns that are existing, pushes by, you know, organizers to try and to get land, to try and, fundraise, try and get the attention of decision makers to get support for their projects or, you know, just to raise more public awareness and support, for these types of issues.

Brothers (32:33):

So, again, like when, you know, with, Queer the Land you know, try to just the work that they're doing and direct people to support them in ways that they feel would be most helpful, whether that's, you know, donating land or pro bono work or, just straight up fundraising, or with CID Coalition, they had a Boba Not Kota campaign against this new, luxury condo you know, just trying to share and amplify, you know, the work that they're doing or demands that they have. And, I know this is less about housing, but there's also several cultural venues that like the ShowBox that have been, threatened with demolition, for you know, luxury high-rises. So, sometimes, managing style can be helpful for educating folks about what are the existing tools to save significant places like landmarking to the landmarking process or mobilizing people to, show up and, provide comment at city hall and things like that around advocacy.

Thomas (33:43):

Yeah, I think, I, I think Cynthia's work is very powerful because it's like one of the three legs of the stool of trying to get policy done. There's, you know, folks on the grounds that, know what's going on and, just visualizing that is as important as doing massive quantitative research and policy makers, developing laws. You know, I think, I was part of legislation in Washington state on eviction, tenant protections in 2019. You know, largely what we found was massive racial disparities in terms of who gets evicted. One of the counties Pierce county, just south of King, , where Seattle is located and Pierce counties, where Tacoma is located, we saw that 18% of the Black population had had an eviction filing, in five years. That was one in six Black adults being named in that. And just showing that disparity was massive and huge, really helps capitalize, , to policymakers the depths and need for this issue.

Thomas (34:49):

But it wasn't just that it was the stories, that were being provided by the tenants groups. And, you know, of course the policy makers making laws and, you know, we've, believe very strongly in ground-truthing a lot of our work in addition to this, just to honor, local communities and make sure that we're, you know, doing this right. So that mixed methods approach isn't necessarily what academics go to first. We definitely believe that, you know, we can try to head in the right direction and we can ask really good research questions, but if it's not for CBOs and policymakers helping us work with us on these things, we, we can ask better questions now because we understand what's going on on the ground. A lot of the tools that we've produced been used by multiple cities across, you know, the US, particularly in California, we've done a lot of work, you know, all the way from the governor to the Senate, to, you know, to local jurisdictions and cities.

Thomas (35:51):

I just mentioned Washington State, you know, the eviction research we've done at evictions that study, has helped change some laws there as well as in Baltimore City. Really, you know, it's trying to provide tools for local, stakeholders, to show things that you just can't unsee, you know, showing these massive disparities is very important through data and visualization. And sometimes it's done with a quantitative lens, and a lot of times it's done with, you know, just a qualitative lens, like what Cynthia has worked on.

Anderson (36:33):

Yeah, I think that if there's absolutely there has to be multiple touches to this approach to really, to look at the tools and the holistics. The key is the holistic approach. You know, I think we often look at the symptoms and we work on the symptoms, but you don't solve the cause the root. And so, you know, there's a middle between the organizing that happens and the people who do the building and have the funds, right. And so I think like organizations, I used to work with the CDFI and, Community Development, Finance Institution in Nashville, and they had a pocket of money, right. A bucket of money that they had to figure out what to do. And when we looked at organizations like Rebuilding Together Nashville that worked on, homes that were in disrepair and they're historically people of color, senior citizens, elderly, community members, or, people experiencing physical challenges that pot of money was now put into a partnership to help individuals, put about $60,000, actually $80,000 in the community, which is a historically Black community to fix up the houses.

Anderson (37:46):

A lot of those elderly individuals had people that were experiencing physical challenges that lived in their homes with them. So we put ramps in and kitchens and all these things that made the houses safe, healthy, and affordable. Then looking at how do we get that down payment assistance in so that all communities can see home ownership as a reality. And then on the other side of that, how did the funds go to for-profit developers in the form of subsidies and how do we create partnerships between non-profit and for-profit developers, so that this money moves further, that we can build more affordable housing, we can rehab communities and make them safe, healthy, and affordable. So those are, those are kind of all the directions that we're looking at.

Nguyen  (38:30):

Thanks Dominique, and I think we want to end on a happy note. So we're going to try to transition towards solutions that might work for everybody, but do want to ask you all sort of one last sort of question around what keeps you up at night, just so we know sort of what, what the sort of the most drastic thing is. And also if you could let us know what does progress will look like? What, what does a win look like for us? And I'll start with, Dominic, if you can go again.

Anderson (38:53):

What keeps me up at night, man, that is a loaded question. There's so many things, but I think, you know, first being honest about the sins of the past, if you will, you know, and it really, it starts before, but definitely with the New Deal and going forward, while educating and empowering all people to become key parts of development and community equity building processes. And so that means that for me, success looks like a unified conversation that we're not one side or the other, but we're taking that middle and saying, okay, developers, for-profit developers included in the conversation because we can't keep leaving the people who make the biggest money. We want them to also have the heart and do the work. So that looks like a unified conversation where people, all people know that they can, if they can afford to buy a house, how do you get there to buy a house? How do you invest in your community and, and realize things like community investment trust, how do you become a part and not villainize community land trust, right. What does that look like? What are the co-op models? We just an opportunity to visualize the best version of our city. So that, that looks like success to me in progress.

Thomas (40:07):

Yeah. I'll just jump into real quick. Honestly what keeps me up at night sometimes is creating data that hadn't been seen before and seeing massive, massive, massive racial disparities. For example, in one study we did on evictions, you know, Black women were getting evicted seven times more than white women. That's like 600% more. The fact that, you know, we ran this massive complex model on this housing precarity risk model project, where we fed this algorithm, hundreds of data points, hundreds of variables, across millions of data points and out of everything, the biggest thing that predicts eviction is the percentage of Black in a neighborhood. And this all ties to, it's not just, you know, percent Black, but it's tied to the legacies, just like what Dominique was saying in the sins of, you know, of us over the past, from everything from, you know, from the FHA loan, preventing Black households to participate in the growth of the middle class, to segregation, to gentrification.

Thomas (41:13):

And now, you know, this idea of displacement. So I think that, you know, real progress requires, definitely looking at a race, gender, and class lens in all of this, and, understanding the intersection of how research and policy making and advocacy are actually tied together. I think if we're going to break orbit on any more policy or any more research, we have to have a very interdisciplinary or multifaceted collaboration and community to do this. There are tools out there to do that, but we can't do it alone. We can't just do it as academics. We can't just do it as advocates, but we work better together. And then hopefully we can build that trust, to do that.

Brothers (42:00):

Yeah. A hundred percent, echo at Dominique and Tim said, I think, what keeps me up at night and gives me nightmares is just, you know, thinking about all the people that, that we've lost and the places that have, disappeared and, you know, what we could've done to save them. And also just the loss potential and opportunity of people in places that could have come here if they were not prevented from doing so by the increasing inaccessibility and, high cost of the, of the city. So I think ultimately it's like, I'm afraid of Seattle becoming you know, totally homogenized sanitized, like yuppie hellscape where nobody, I know lives here anymore. We don't have people making art and organizing. And, yeah. So I mean, this, this question around, progress. I don't have the answer to that, but I think that raising that question is a big part of my work.

Brothers (43:09):

You know, in a city like Seattle, with all the influence of tech we've had for quite a number of years now, all these buzz words around innovation and world-class city. And so I try to, just, you know, ask questions to challenge these dominant notions about what progress looks like, and to get folks to think about that, like who gets left out of that, who benefits from it and you know, what it really means to have a world-class city and have a thriving ecosystem and ultimately, what kind of city that we want to be.

Nguyen  (43:44):

Great. Thank you, Cynthia. And so, so we have one last question. So just a reminder for attendees. If you want to ask a question, just please type it into the Q&A so yeah, what do we want to leave on a happy note, a call to action note. So if you could just describe one next step that you would advise organizations or cities and counties or others to take on based on your own experiences. We'll start with Dominique.

Anderson (44:10):

You know, I'll say learn your power center and that power center can be in the form of zoning and policy because it's the moment the organization knows where the community knows their zoning and policy. Nobody can tell you anything and they can't bring anything in your space, learn how to build and buy real estate, and women, women of color, specifically understanding how to buy and build real estate. It's such a power. And when we talk about Black women being disproportionately, evicted from spaces that power centers, you know, important, crucial, and then the last piece of that, it's like a 1.3; learn how money works and use that knowledge to grow and rebuild equitably and ethically strong communities.

Thomas (45:02):

Yeah, I'll just add to that too. I mean, understanding the local context is important. Like for example, San Francisco's had a lot of successes. A lot of policies passed, a lot of CBOs protecting folks, but there's still a struggle and they still continue to fight, cities like Baltimore, have 140,000 eviction filings per year. And like one, I would say there are several CBOs there, but like one that I recognized that was effective enough and they were only able to buy a row house at one point. So I think that, you know, each city is different. There are a progression of options that can be done if you are a San Francisco or a city that has, you know, capitalize on your strengths and try to push for more equitable, racist, you know, gender lens, class lens, policies. But if you're in a city, you know, that's been, struggling a little bit more trying to push things that, you know, try to make escalated wins if you can, when pushing for policies, , just-cause a very difficult one to go for, but, you know, extending the payer vacate period or doing some sort of a recognition of the costs or, or finding, groups to team with to try and push forward, some sort of initiative would be incredibly helpful.

Thomas (46:24):

So it's just, you know, look at what the city is facing most and see if you can draw on that, learn from other areas to what can be done. And I'm happy to talk to anybody that would be interested to talk more.

Brothers (46:38):

Yeah. I would just refer back to some of those, grassroots groups that I mentioned earlier that are doing really game-changing work from the ground up. And, you know, I think a lot of the things that they're doing are scalable and replicable and, also resource those kinds of visionary groups in your own cities that are, creating their own models and thinking outside of the box and believing that anything is possible. And then realizing that, implementing that. I would also say, I would encourage folks to, partner with support value, community-based folks that are doing, documentation research and storytelling that is not being covered or captured through other processes. Again, like the Frank Jenkin's house is an example of community knowledge, totally got lost somewhere, along like the official pipeline. There's so many other examples of that too, about houses that turned out to be really pivotable, like, queer art punk houses, or, using this type of storytelling in advocating for community owned land and reclaiming sites, for communities of color where that has always existed historically, but got lost somewhere along the way and bringing back that storytelling as a way to get community buy-in and resources.

Brothers (48:03):

Yeah, and finally keep race and class in the room. I feel like that was mentioned, a lot of times, and I think that is just, perhaps like the most important aspect because you know, the folks who are most impacted and the folks who get pushed out first are, you know, always, working class folks of color, queer folks. So, always, you know, keep that, up top in the analysis and then policy.

Nguyen  (48:34):

Great. Thanks everybody. So we're going to move on to the Q&A section. There's been a few, posted in the Q&A so far, so I encouraged folks to post there. If you have any questions. The first one I did send a link to, but wanted Tim to follow up. Just some examples of just cause eviction, someone was asking about sort of maybe, maybe we can provide some good city ordinances, some specific cities that you might want to recommend. I did link them to the policy map tool of Urban Displacement.

Thomas (49:03):

Yeah. I w I would just start with the policy map tool. You know, I think honestly Oakland probably has the best, set of tenant protections that I've seen in the country. So anything that, they're doing, I definitely encourage, highly as a good model. San Francisco also has a lot too, but they just have such extreme gentrification pressure there. And Oakland is kind of seeing a lot of the gentrification from San Francisco coming in. So I think Oakland would be a really good model to look up.

Nguyen  (49:36):

Great. Thank you, Tim. So the next question, I think I might be able to answer, which is if applicable, however, your approach, random housing draws while giving priority to equity seeking groups. So that's, that's what housing preferences are there a policy that cities and counties, implement that give priority to particular groups, whether it's people who live/work in their own community, public school employees, first responders, or in this case, displaced residents or residents that are at risk of being displaced. So I'm going to plug one of our own reports, actually that Bloom Housing report on page 32, briefly describes what housing preferences are. And if you have, you know, if there's examples throughout the Bay Area, there's a handful of cities that are working on it right now, or have implemented it, including San Francisco.

Nguyen  (50:27):

The next question I think, is I'm a lower-class white man that is starting to move towards a more middle class to upper class income bracket. And I'm curious to learn some ways to benefit some of the underrepresented communities in my city. Does anyone want to answer that one? I'd love to jump on that.

Anderson (50:46):

So I read the question and I thought it was a really great question. First understanding that your privilege has shifted you from one segment of your world to another to another is absolutely outstanding, right? That's the first piece. How do you help is think through your process, how did you get where you are? Can you recreate that? Can you teach those steps? Can you share those at some organizations that may teach that underserved community, skillsets or education, and then if you've moved a great deal, I think that what would be really great is if you can figure out how do you become part of the building and development process, that's going to empower other people, right? How do you use what you've learned and what you've done to empower groups that are still working in the same space? Does that make sense?

Nguyen  (51:41):

Great. Anybody else?

Brothers (51:47):

Sorry. I would just quickly, totally agree with Dominique and just kind of follow the lead of, you know, underrepresented groups in your own city, follow their leadership and, yeah, direct resources their way, and, try to talk to other white folks to get them to join in and contribute, to these great causes.

Nguyen  (52:10):

Great. The next question, how can we get market rate developers to the table to help us identify solutions to prevent displacement?

Thomas (52:28):

I think Dominique should answer this one.

Anderson (52:29):

Because this is my jam, and my space, and I do a lot of my kind of platform in this space. It is working because I know both sides, right? The for-profit developers and the nonprofit organizations, one would do something like we do in Nashville, which is the Equitable Developers Round Table. We're pulling together groups that are nonprofit orgs and housing authorities. and all of these groups, with the for-profit developers and saying, you know, listen, here's what we have to offer. Because often they don't know that there are products out there for them to do this work. And if they're a bank, for example, their CRA funds, how do we get those into subsidies? It's really a conversation. So setting that table and then inviting them and you keep inviting, right? And you may have one or two developers or profit developers today, but then you do it again next month and you have three more and then you have three more and then you have three more. You have to set that table unapologetically invite and then listen twice as much as you speak so that people feel heard and seen and welcomed.

Nguyen  (53:40):

Great. Thank you, Dominique. So we're out of questions and we're close to the end. So we do want to leave some space to sort of send you all links to everybody's been asking for your contact information. So we're going to post that shortly. We do want to post a two minute survey just to get some comments back from folks. And then also let you know, we have a newsletter for folks to sign up on if they want to see some additional webinars coming forward. And if you have any questions, that you wanted answer through a webinar, please let us know. We're always looking for some ideas moving forward. Tim just posted, some more homework for folks who are more interested in some just-cause related, pieces. So, yeah, so I think we'll want to thank all the panelists and thank you all for joining us today. We're going to post everybody's Instagram handles Twitter, handles, websites. How can, how can we get everybody's email as well? I think somebody asked for Tim's email just because it sounds like there's a coalition out there that wants to partner with you Tim, so we'll get you connected as well.

Nguyen  (54:42):

Great. Any, any last remarks from folks And thanks for posting your email as well Dominique.

Brothers (54:57):

I just wanted to thank my fellow panelists and Exygy and everyone who's attending. I just, yeah. I just learned so much from this conversation and it's an honor to be invited, to be a part of it.It's just encouraging to see the interest and if anyone's ever interested in, contacting me, feel free to yeah. Slide in my DMS or email me, or if I can help facilitate a connection with, some of the awesome work happening here in Seattle, will be more than happy to do that. So just, I wanted to give a note of gratitude.

Thomas (55:34):

I want to do the same thing, Cynthia your work is incredibly powerful and motivating, and it's at the root of what Seattle is. And Dominique, I learned a lot from just hanging out with you for the past couple of meetings we've had. And so I'm just very grateful just for this group and just excited to continue the conversations with everyone, on the attendee list too. Thank you.

Nguyen  (55:56):

Great. Thank you everybody. And it's unfortunate to see this is impacting a lot of different cities in America, but, it's great to see that there's a lot going on, in a lot of the cities in the U S that are trying to combat displacement. So, thank you everybody. Have a good rest of your day.

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