ZUMIX’s Radio Street Team set out to capture the sights and sounds of East Boston this spring. What they saw and heard up close were tweeting birds, neighbors at the park, sidewalk conversations in Spanish and English and doors peeling with history. Among these familiar senses were some new ones: cranes along the harbor, construction debris falling into dumpsters, evidence of the real estate development driving up rent prices in our neighborhood.
Our Radio Street Team wanted to tell this pressing story of gentrification from the perspective of young people, for whom the threat of housing displacement has big implications. We wondered: How much do youth know about what is happening to housing nearby and how do they learn about it? How are youth feeling about theses changes in our neighborhood? What do young people think we can do to find solutions for equitable housing? What makes a strong community for us?
To start to find these answers, the group conducted interviews with other youth organizations, including the East Boston Ecumenical Community Council’s Aspira program, Neighborhood of Affordable Housing and the East Boston Social Center. We also heard fromCity Life/Vida Urbana, a housing justice organization that hosts weekly support meetings and free legal aid out of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church on Paris St.
We are feeling evidence of displacement and also hope for a more just housing environment. We’d love to hear how our story shifts your ideas about this issue, and invite you to learn more about the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act, an ordinance currently under review by Boston City Council that seeks to reduce no-fault evictions and improve city data on evictions.
For more information on the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act: http://www.justcauseboston.org