My neighborhood is not for sale

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It seems like I woke up one day and all I saw were white people walking their dogs and jogging around the neighborhood. Initially I was confused because up until three or four years ago I hadn’t seen any white people in my neighborhood at all.

So once we actually started to have next door neighbors that’s were I was taken aback and that’s when I started to notice the city was about to change.

I’ve lived in Inglewood for 18 years now, I moved there with my mom and little brother when I was nine years old. Before that I lived in West Los Angeles and did all of my schooling over there.

However, we weren’t able to stay in the area because at the time we were getting Section 8 housing assistance and our landlord changed the rental policy and decided to stop accepting Section 8.

After that, it became a ripple effect and everyone I knew that lived in the area started moving to another city or getting evicted because of new rental policies and rent increases.

At that time being so young I didn’t really understand what was happening but now that I am an adult I can see it clearly.

It’s happening again, we’re being pushed out and being forced to move to other cities but not just 30 minutes away, this time it’s about an hour to an hour and a half to cities like San Bernardino, Palmdale and Lancaster.

When I say we I’m referring to my people I am referring to black people specifically.

I still live in Inglewood, however my mom just moved to Palmdale last year after her landlord increased the rent four times over a three year period. Not just a small increases either, about $300 rent increases at a time.

When she left the apartment after 18 years, the rent of our two bedroom one bathroom apartment was $1,640 a month and the landlord was asking for another $300 increase before we left.

The place had never been repainted and the carpet had never been replaced the whole time we lived there. Apparently the price had gone up so drastically over a short period because of “inflation”.

One by one, each of our neighbors that moved in around the same time we did started moving out or getting evicted because they couldn’t afford the rent anymore.

It’s becoming more rapid now, a lot of original Inglewood residents are being pushed out as a result of the development and gentrification occurring in the city.

As if the Forum being revamped wasn’t enough “development” on Prairie already, the white skeletal eye sore of a football stadium is almost done being built and the new Clippers arena will also be on the same street.

The traffic is about to be 100 times worse than it already is. While it may look nice visually for the city when it’s completed, I can’t help but think about all of the inconvenience it’s going to create for the residents.

Not only are the residents hurting from the hype of these new developments but so are the local businesses.

Some business owners are selling to new owners and they are raising the rent on certain properties.

One of my favorite affordable furniture stores on Market Street had to move to Lynwood because the rent was getting too high.

So much change is happening in Inglewood so quickly that every time I leave the house I see something new that I’ve never noticed before.

A huge luxury apartment complex is being built on a lot that has been vacant since I can remember on Florence and La Brea and a new Metro train station on Florence too.

The Girl Scouts service center has moved into town, and there are several Starbucks within a two mile radius of each other that were never there before.

I’m glad the road on Century has finally been fixed, for the “new” Inglewood residents, after nearly a decade of it being one of the roughest roads ever to drive on.

People that were never interested in this city before are now finding it so hip and new.

It’s actually starting to become more like a tourist attraction. But, all of these new trendy things are at the expense of the long term residents, many of whom are low-income residents.

The population of white residents in Inglewood has increased 48% between 2014 and 2018 according to a Southern California Association of Governments’ (SCAG) profile report on Inglewood and the black population has decreased by .24%. The Hispanic population has decreased 2.2% from 2014 to 2018. One can only guess how the numbers will change once this year concludes.

To be quite honest I’m tired of all the change and seeing the walking of the dogs all day, the long lines at Randy’s Donuts because it’s really not that great and the tourist like pictures in front of Roscoe’s.

Please stop trying to make my neighborhood into something it’s not, changing everything, and invading our space. I don’t want to share. You are an unwelcome guest, so act accordingly.

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