Giselle has seen the effects of gentrification first hand. Three years ago Giselle and her mother were living in an affordable apartment in the Columbia Heights area, just as Giselle found out she was pregnant, the building they were living in was sold to a market rate developer.
This happens often in Washington DC, a city where real estate is scarce and expensive in thriving neighborhoods. This is just one reason why justice housing is so necessary.
Giselle and her family were pushed into a frantic search to find somewhere else to live. The majority of the apartments were too expensive. They were forced to move across the city, far from resources and the community they had grown to know and love. They found a two bedroom, but space become tight when extended family members had to move in because their rents were also increasing and they could no longer afford their own homes. At one point, Giselle and her mother, two siblings, partner, and their new baby were all sharing the two-bedroom apartment.
The early childhood education center Giselle’s daughter attended, Jubilee Jumpstart, referred Giselle to Jubilee Housing. She filled out the housing application and prayed for the best. Moving to the Jubilee community would mean Giselle, her partner, and their child would have a deeply affordable apartment of their own, close to her childcare and other resources in a thriving neighborhood. It would give them a great foundation.
One day while on her way to work, Giselle got the call. She had been approved for a two-bedroom apartment with Jubilee Housing! Now she lives seconds away from her childcare, with enough space for her toddler to have her own room and space to play.
“The two words that come to mind are ‘freedom’ and ‘privacy.’ Just knowing that everyone in the house is welcome to be here – it’s just good to have the family together.”
Giselle’s story, an example of Justice Housing in action, demonstrates the important for families to have access to deeply affordable housing, in a thriving neighborhood, with nearby resources such as childcare and transportation. These three provide a foundation on which we all need to thrive.