Who owns the ghetto in High Point?

Posted on January 18, 2017

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Vacant Properties in South High Point

“Stephen Sills, the lead researcher of the UNCG study and director of the Center for Housing and Community Studies, likens rental housing to an extractive resource industry, even going so far as to compare it to the “mountain-top removal” method of coal mining where the tops of mountains in Appalachia are literally blown off.

Even though the vast majority of landlords in the High Point ghetto live nearby, Sills said, “You’re still extracting wealth from one side of town to the other, largely from low-income black people to high-income whites. I still see this as a social justice issue. If I’m a landlord, I’ve bought low-income housing because it’s a good investment and I can still extract the dollars from rent payments but I’m not going to invest very much as long as there’s a tax advantage. They get to write off the wear and tear as it’s rented. As soon as it reaches the highest level of depreciation, there’s incentive to sell. Then the next owner comes in and the cycles repeats. They buy the house and put lipstick on it — paint it, fix the windows, do some cosmetic things so they can rent it out.”

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