Then discussion turned to housing. “Who has heard of gentrification?” Grecia Elenes, a senior policy advocate at the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, asked in Spanish. No one raised a hand.
Elenes described the process by which wealthier and often whiter residents transform a neighborhood. Juliana Seguín, who lives with her husband and four children in a nearby three-bedroom apartment, piped up. Her month-to-month rent has climbed from $850 in 2017 to $1,550, as her complex has undergone renovations to attract a better-paid crowd, she said. Another renter in attendance, Patricia Lobato, chimed in: She had been recently forced to move, due to a giant rent hike.