Credit: Lauretta Charlton
How have Brooklyn’s remaining Black homeowners made ends meet? Some, particularly older, college-educated retirees, have cashed out and returned to the South, part of a trend that researchers have called the New Great Migration. Others have retreated farther east into Brooklyn, where home prices are cheaper. And then there are those who have turned to Airbnb, the popular home-sharing platform that launched in 2008.
They calculated that non-Black Airbnb hosts charge approximately twelve per cent more, on average, than Black hosts—roughly a hundred and forty-four dollars per night, versus a hundred and seven. In other words, Black hosts earn less money for renting their homes, and Black renters have a harder time finding accommodation.
It’s this backwards thing where you’re helping yourself in a way, but you’re also promoting gentrification,”
Johari James, an Airbnb host of two-years who owns a modest two-story building on Sumpter Street in Ocean Hill, a small subsection of Bed-Stuy, says. “It’s tiring.”
By retaining ownership of his home, James says, he’s able to act as a sort of “gatekeeper” for his neighborhood, but he also recognizes that, simply by inviting well-heeled visitors into Ocean Hill, he is helping turn what was once a community of Black families into a tourist destination, and minimizing its heritage.
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