Last month a group made up of San Francisco and Oakland locals took to the streets to block buses that transport tech workers to far away offices that aren’t within city limits. The two-decker buses that often use city managed bus stops have stirred anger amongst long time locals because they’re filled by more affluent tech workers who are contributing to pricing long time residents out of the city.
Now a new report released Monday highlights how being priced out of a neighborhood actually affects the health and well being of the residents who can no longer afford to live in the community.
The report released by the Alameda County Public Health Department found gentrification has direct impacts on the mental and psychological well being of those who stay and those who leave their neighborhoods behind.
The report found longtime residents in gentrifying neighborhoods face financial distress, loss of community services and overcrowded and substandard housing conditions. Alameda County, which includes the cities of Oakland and Berkeley, collaborated on the report with Causa Justa::Just Cause (CJJC), a community-based organization that works with low-income San Francisco and Oakland residents.
“Gentrification’s impacts on public health are not often included in the public debate or understood, but it has serious public health consequences for longtime residents who stay, those forced to leave, and our broader society,” said Dr. Muntu Davis, director of the Alameda County Public Health Department, in a statement.
“For public health practitioners, preventing displacement may be the single greatest challenge and the most important task in our efforts to create healthy communities for all.”
The Alameda County analysis found that rising rents may prevent residents from covering basic goods, services and health resources that help people live longer.
While gentrification may bring much-needed investment to urban neighborhoods, the report points out Latinos and African Americans are the hardest hit by displacement when property prices rise. In San Francisco, Latinos are being displaced at a significant rate from the historically Mexican and Central American Mission district, while white residents and homeowners have increased. Between 1990 and 2011, the number of Latino households in the Mission decreased by 1,400, while the number of white households increased by 2,900. The report points out white homeownership more than doubled during this time period.
San Francisco has had a black exodus with African-Americans now making up about 5 percent of the city, compared to 13.4 percent in 1970; the city by the bay has lost it’s black population faster than any other city in the country.
Now blacks are leaving Oakland too, according to the report.
Between 1990 and 2011, the proportion of black residents in all Oakland neighborhoods decreased by nearly 40 percent.