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Real estate expert talks gentrification in Sacramento's Oak Park neighborhood

One way real estate broker Keisha Mathews says communities can fight back against gentrification is for minorities to buy back in.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gentrification is an issue across the country. It’s also an issue in Sacramento's Oak Park neighborhood. A lot of people see it as a problem, but what's the solution?

Local real estate broker Keisha Mathews shared her definition of gentrification with ABC10's Keristen Holmes. 

"[Gentrification] is a unified effort of a local government entity and private business targeting a depreciated community and setting out to remold it and reshape it to be more attractive to the middle class," Mathews said.

RELATED: Gentrification or necessary improvements? People living in Oak Park have mixed feelings about neighborhood changes

But all is not lost. Mathews says there is a way for communities of color to fight back.

"Meadowview, Del Paso Heights, Florin Road, Valley High, Elder Creek, Glen Elders - they've got these pockets and these streets that say, 'Wow, this might actually be a nice place to consider living.' And guess what, they are the most affordable. You might turn a block and see something crazy, but you could turn another block and say, 'Wow, this is a nice place to live,'" she added.

One way Mathews says communities can fight back against gentrification is for minorities to buy back into those communities. 

"A lot of times when people think of buying a house, they say, 'Oh, I don't have the money,' and/or 'My credit score is whack.' That doesn't necessarily stop you from buying a house, does it?" Holmes asked.

"No, it does not. You can get into a home with a credit score as low as 520," Mathews replied.

Maybe you can get approved, but where do you get the money to buy a home? Mathews says there's a fix for that, too.

"A lot of these banks, because of what happened, have been told by the government that they have to put billions...of dollars back into these funds to help these communities re-stabilize. Wells Fargo has a $17,000 grant program. There's a program out that's just a couple months new, [Golden State Finance Authoritity] Open Doors Program, which is up to 7% for down payment and closing costs. Most recently, I just learned about Bank of America's Down Payment Program where it's all grant money on the front and the back. No repayment necessary," Mathews explained.

RELATED: Gentrification: $500,000 homes go up in Oak Park, leaving some feeling pushed out

Mathews explained that it may cost you a little extra, but it's worth it.

"If I’m paying $1,600 a month in rent and now in order for me to buy I'm going to have to pay $1,785. I'm going to pay that extra 185. Why am I going to do that? Because it's getting me a foot in the door," she said.

There are a lot of layers when it comes to gentrification. Some people have been so affected that they’ve been displaced and have lost their original homes in Oak Park. Residents say they’re upset that they’re losing their homes to families who move into the neighborhood, only to “flip the house” for a profit. 

Their issue is that owners are staying in the home for a few years, upgrading the property and then selling. Then they leave the community, while folks who have lived in a neighborhood like Oak Park for generations are priced out.

Continue the conversation with Keristen on Facebook.

RELATED: Oak Park renewal raises question of gentrification


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WATCH MORE: Are updates to Oak Park sign of gentrification? | Part 1