Struggling neighborhoods throughout the country require new investment. Low-income renters too often confront food deserts, limited access to mass transit, unsafe housing conditions, and crumbling public schools. When communities succeed in revitalizing neighborhoods, this turnaround often pushes out the very people who were meant to benefit from the new development. We’re talking about the dreaded reality faced by low income people throughout the country: gentrification.
People talk a lot about gentrification, but it’s an issue that is largely misunderstood. We believe there are lots of positive things that come with new developments: more jobs, more transit options, better food options, and more taxes in the area contributing to better parks or libraries. The true enemy in new development is the upward rent pressure that leads to displacement. We cannot continue to repair neighborhoods at the cost of residents who have devoted their lives to creating these urban spaces.
This issue of Tenant Talk examines the many aspects and layers of gentrification and discusses tools and new policies that some communities are using to stop displacement. We also illustrate some possible changes at the federal level that can help, as well as discuss a new threat from the recent tax cuts package.
Displacement due to gentrification is the frontline issue for most of us. We hope readers will come away from this issue with more ideas for local solutions, more motivation to engage with Members of Congress in DC, and more hope for housing justice in our future.
Tenant Talk Editorial Board