Forever my HLP ❤
After 26 years, my beautiful Highland Park is telling me that it’s time to go. I knew the day would come, but I wasn’t ready for it to be so soon. And I certainly wish it had been my own desire to leave rather than some stranger telling me I must.
Some may think 26 years is a long time living in one place. Sure. But for many of us, living in one place for so long also means building community, sharing life long memories with loved ones and laying down roots for something bigger.
We’ve all seen the changes happen and hear the stories of others being displaced and priced out of the neighborhood while hoping it doesn’t happen to us. The place I’ve called home since I was a child has been sold and we’ve been asked to leave. New owners have big plans for the property, who will then most likely triple the rent. Who can blame them. For many, money is the only motive.
Although I’ve come to accept my situation, I continue to think of all the families who are going through this, who don’t know the resources that are out there to ensure the eviction is legal, to receive the amount of relocation fees that they are entitled to and most importantly to find a new home. After 2 months of submitting rental applications and never hearing back from anyone, I realized I had entered a competition with hundreds of other families to “win” a roof over my head. It was devastating. Just a few weeks ago, I was finally emailed back with an approval letter and lease agreement. I was relieved to say the least. Many of my neighbors, most low income and some undocumented, have not been so lucky. They are forced to move in with family or friends as they continue the overwhelming search. We’ve all shed tears these last few days as we see our entire lives in boxes- ironically on the same week, Vogue features Highland Park in its “Travel” section. I felt yet again more stabbing pains in my heart.
Experiencing the wrath of this housing shortage leaves one with anger and despair. Who do we blame? The original property owner who decides to sell out? The developer for kicking us out to make a greater profit? Or our elected officials for failing to enact policies that protect tenants from the monster that is gentrification?
My story isn’t a unique one, but I have found some comfort in writing about it. I’m not moving to a different state, but it certainly feels like it. I’ll be seeing you HLP.