Episode 126: Pushed out of Roxbury

Some people may have been taken aback by the overflow crowd of 350 people who showed up earlier this month for a Boston City Council hearing in Roxbury to hear concerns about displacement. Kim Janey was not one of them.

“I was not surprised at all,” said Janey, the district city councilor who represents Roxbury along with parts of Dorchester, the South End, and the Fenway.

Janey, who sponsored the November 13 hearing, said concerns about displacement have reached a fever pitch in Roxbury, where housing costs shot up by 70 percent from 2010 to 2015, twice the rate of the overall citywide appreciation of 36 percent during that period. “People are feeling the heat,” she said on this week’s Codcast. “People are being pushed out of our neighborhood. And so we need to come up with creative solutions to keep residents who want to be in Roxbury in Roxbury.”

Exacerbating the problem, said Janey, is the city’s enormous racial wealth gap, which has left blacks disproportionately vulnerable to displacement. She said 81 percent of the households in her district are renters, a much higher figure than the citywide rate.

The displacement and gentrification story is certainly not a new one. What’s playing out now in areas of Roxbury looks similar to the changes that overtook the South End a few decades ago.