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Panelists Discuss Affordable Housing Needs in New CVille Strong Series

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According to the panelists, the issue of affordable housing won't be fixed by city government and non-profits alone. According to the panelists, the issue of affordable housing won't be fixed by city government and non-profits alone.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

People gathered in Jefferson-Madison Regional Library on Saturday, Feb. 24., to discuss the community’s affordable housing needs and the dark relationship behind the city's destruction of an African-American neighborhood.

The new series CVille Strong aired The World is Gone, a film showing the destruction of the Vinegar Hill Neighborhood that occurred over 50 years ago.

“I believe there is an affordable housing crisis in this city; I think that it's racial as well,” said Michael McGee, an attendee of the event.  

“Vinegar Hill was a predominately, or almost entirely African-American community in Charlottesville, and during the 60s urban redevelopment, all of the residents were displaced and many of them were pushed into affordable housing,” said Reference and Adult Services Librarian Abby Cox.

Panelists say the destruction of Vinegar Hill is still reflected today in events occurring in the city.

“They're taking it in sections, they're dissecting the black community,” said panelist Mary Carey. “You know and they're building affordable housing for rich people.”

According to the panelists, the issue of affordable housing won't be fixed by city government and non-profits alone – they believe that philanthropists need to step in as well.

The panelists also say that many new developments are forcing people out of neighborhoods, leading to a new form of what happened to Vinegar Hill.

“I think it affects a lot of people altogether in as far as there's not rent control, there's no way to prevent people from being evicted from neighborhoods they may have lived in for a long time,” McGee said. 

Organizers hope this event will ignite the conversation on affordable housing in Charlottesville.