Plan of Action to Combat Gentrification in District 2
The steps to become an opponent to gentrification are many. first a neighborhood must be organized. District 2 must start developing Workshops and Town Hall meetings in the affected neighborhoods to educate Constituents on what is happening to their community. The District 2 Councilmember must have an appointed chair in each neighborhood that will hold monthly meetings to address their concerns of gentrification. The Councilmember should appoint chairs ranging from 25 to 35 years of age. The key is to get the involvement of the BUPPIE[i] networking group to sustain growth back into the community.
The chairs must be able to identify their particular vulnerabilities concerning gentrification in their perspective neighborhoods. The main factors that promote great risk to District 2 stems from the fact that it is a predominately older black community, next the great amount of displacement of the elderly/disabled, vacant buildings, also those with the most limited incomes who are facing eviction, lastly when the ethnic companies and service organizations can no longer afford rent in the neighborhood. There are four major categories of action that can help to stabilize a gentrifying neighborhood. The first stage is redevelopment of public and nonprofit structures. The second stage affordable housing made readily, the third stage stabilize the rent (rent control), and the fourth stage would be property tax control, in the form of as a Tax Allocation District or Empowerment Zone. Together, they form the basis for an anti-displacement strategy. Whether communities are working to rehab and fill vacant buildings in abandoned city hubs or to improve community infrastructure in fully populated low-income neighborhoods, a clear housing affordability plan should always be in place first.
First Stage involves some significant public or nonprofit redevelopment investment and/or private newcomers buying and rehabbing vacant units. In the next stage, the neighborhood’s low housing costs and other features become known and housing costs rise. Displacement begins as landlords take advantage of rising market values and evict long-time residents in order to rent or sell to the more well-to-do. Gradually, newcomers are more probable to be homeowners, and the rising property values cause down payment requirements to increase. With new residents come commercial services that serve higher income levels now lower income residents cannot participate in spending. As rehabilitation develops more obvious, prices escalate and displacement arises in power. New residents have lesser acceptance for current social service facilities that serve homeless populations or other low-income requests; as well as industrial and other uses they view as unwelcome. Original residents are moved along with their businesses, commercial initiatives, churches and ethnic traditions.
Gentrification/displacement is felt most severely in historic communities of color. While community activists have worked diligently to entice new venture to their capital-starved communities, they acknowledge that only just have they begun to exercise the implements or power to essentially mediate and readdress development projects that may bring destruction to the community.
A valuation will usually involve community mapping efforts that identify renter-to-homeowner rates, vacancy and abandonment taxes, affordability keys (rent or mortgage as percentage of household income) and spatial analyses of race and poverty. The valuation must be tailored to the particular state of affairs. Stabilize current renters. This can contain evaluating dislocation rates, constructing emergency monies for rental assistance, eliminating discriminatory obstacles that renters face or crafting rent stabilization policies such as eviction controls and rent increase programs.
Regulate Land for Community Development. Land use, tax and zoning policies all shape reasonable developments; a housing affordability plan cannot prosper without taking them into account. Communities must evaluate zoning and public land indications and navigate them in the direction of their goals. This will consist of supporting inclusionary zoning ordinances, mixed-use and transit-oriented development and density requirements, all of which can boost affordability and mixed-income areas.
Form Income and Assets Establishment. While stabilizing housing affordability and guaranteeing appropriate features are vital modules of neighborhood planning, income and asset creation are critical to ensuring resident welfare as the neighborhood economy develops. Providing needed resident services—childcare, transportation, a basic retail sector and access to health care is a necessity for success. Securing public investment to local-hire and living-wage requirements or otherwise connecting land use decisions to local asset foundations can considerably lessen adverse dislocation burdens by taking some of the benefits of the new investment to current residents.
Cultivate Financing Strategies. Practical financing strategies can provide neighborhood-detailed ways to fund the other three types of action. They are normally most active in communities that anticipate gentrification burdens prior to redevelopment, since communities previously suffering displacement face increased real estate prices and existing capital will not go as far. Opportunities for backing are ample, and can be directed at nonprofits, private developers, or even landlords. They consist of investments from labor union pension funds and regional business associations, exactions and fees on commercial developments, tax increment financing and eminent domain, bank investments under the Community Reinvestment Act, Community Credit Unions and tax abatements, credits and deferments.
Lastly, I advise the focus should mainly be on the elderly in District 2. Once District 2 creates an outreach program that meets monthly to advise each resident over 55 years informing them of services that are available to help combat gentrification. This program will assist one if they cannot pay property taxes, counsel the elderly on pre-need services by neighborhood funeral homes, assistance of medical bills/medications, and all around estate planning so their homes would not be lost for any of the above needs. The Councilmember can combine the Mentorship Program (previous draft copy) and this plan to stop Gentrification so the community will work together as a whole, the youth combined with the buppies, and the elderly working together to make District 2 a more sustainable vital community within the City of Atlanta.
[i] A young urban black professional; a black yuppie.