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By TraeAnna Holiday
On February 29th, 2020, Africatown Community Land Trust hosted Building Black Wallstreet: Property Development Meetup. Here, property owners from the community gained information regarding methods to develop their properties using a variety of resources.
It began with Ruby Holland and the initiative Keep Your Habitat, as she shared her research on avenues to use property as a stream of income, bringing in a means to pay for the higher property taxes our community owners have been facing. She laid a foundation for some of the perspectives from the community panel. Patricia Valentine, Inye Wokoma, Appollonia Washington, and Sharon Elizabeth provided a wide array of options owners have been exploring to keep and or diversify their properties.
Repurposing from residential to an arts space with Inye and Wa Na Wari, using your home as an AirBnB like Patricia, pulling multiple properties together to identify opportunities like Appollonia, or redeveloping as a family like Sharon. The community got a full range of experiences to glean from.
The event also offered a host of resources property owners can use to fund such activities. The City of Seattle’s Office of Housing has many programs offered to Seattle residents to repair, expand, or repurpose space in their homes. Many in attendance were astounded at the information that came from this office. They have grant and loan programs that aim to cover a broad spectrum of incomes. Some services are completely free for those who qualify. Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together provided information on pathways owners can take to work with them. They too offer ways to use their services with no cost.
Having architects, designers, contractors and developers in the room helped to give community members clarity on the solutions available to them. Overall, the event provided an opportunity for members to build with one another, sharing experiences, and in some cases, sharing pain. Eating together from D.O.P.E. Food & Smoothies, with their chili over rice. It was more than an event. It was a time to learn and grow with one another. With over 90 in attendance, and standing room only, we truly felt what it means to build community.
Please support the Africatown Community Land Trust efforts to maintain and build our community by making a donation today. Click here now to donate