A recent study by Governing that tracked data on 50 of America’s largest cities found that gentrification was greatly accelerated in several cities. The study also highlighted that nearly 20 percent of neighborhoods with lower incomes and home values have experienced gentrification since 2000, compared to only 9 percent during the 1990s.
According to Urban Displacement, gentrification is a process of neighborhood change that includes the economic change in a historically disinvested neighborhood —by means of real estate investment and new higher-income residents moving in – as well as demographic change – not only in terms of income level but also in terms of changes in the education level or racial make-up of residents.
Gentrification is changing the face of many black communities and in an attempt to stop the spread, two members of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity have joined forces to buy back homes in their neighbourhood and help locals retain their homes.
The two fraternity brothers, Timothy Webb Jr and Rashae Bey, recently purchased almost two acres of land in Webb’s hometown of Columbia and have a total of 26 rental units between South Carolina and Virginia.
“There is a lot of gentrification by those who don’t look like us, and I believe if we want to see change, we need to be the change we want to see,” Webb told Because Of Them We Can. “Our goal is to get our hands onto as much real estate in the South Carolina area as possible.”
“I want to change the mindset of people to expand into the unknown of what they may not have been taught. I want to change the generational curses that have been handed down to us and build generational wealth for our bloodlines,” he added.
Webb graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2013 with a degree in information technology. In 2019, he founded More Than a 9 to 5, a lifestyle brand that seeks to create black wealth. Webb says he is on a mission to inspire people to create wealth and assets.
“I think we have been oppressed for so long as a culture that we think materialistic things make us who we are, but one of the biggest things [that worries me] is that Black wealth will be 0 by 2083,” Webb said. “We are inspiring people to invest in themselves and their families because we can see with the statistics that we can create black wealth. We don’t need to fund other people’s generational wealth; we have to create assets and not liabilities that depreciate in value.”
Webb and his team’s future plans include expanding their real estate collection and securing a government contract with a team of minority consultants.