A Young HBCU Graduate Buying Property In Houston Texas To Combat Gentrification

by Duke Magazine

It is no doubt that gentrification has changed the face of social and economic demographics of some major cities across the United States, thereby causing many low-income native residents to be forced out of their homes. African Americans are often times the ones at the bending end of the stick of gentrification, as higher-income earners drive up real estate values, pricing residents out of the neighborhoods they made famous. For an Houston-based entrepreneur, the best means of proffering solution to the long-age housing problem is through a new initiative that aims to empower residents in investing in their communities.

 It was reported that Southern University graduate, Christopher Senegal had recently acquired two blocks in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward known for its African American roots and dubbed Houston’s “Black Wall Street”. The young Senegal started a new initiative called “Buy The Block” to help native residents invest in their properties so they can stay in the neighborhood for the long-term future.

Senegal’s journey started back in 2013 when he purchased a block no one wanted due to issues with drugs and crime. He was turned down by 23 lenders before eventually receiving funding.

The young entrepreneur was able to use crowdfunding to allow everyday people to invest as little as $250 to own a piece of his company’s real estate portfolio. The first project consists of 14 townhome developments estimated to be worth $3.9 million, and chiefly focused on bringing successful, native Black professionals back to the neighborhood. The other development package consists of 18 homes and two commercial buildings worth $1.3 million. He has managed to amass $700,000 through crowdfunding to protect his long-term, fixed-income residents from displacement.

Senegal is of the optimism that the new initiative will encourage others to invest in their communities rather than move out when they reach a higher income bracket.

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