Philadelphia Coalition for
Affordable Communities (PCAC)

Development without Displacement Campaign

The Issue:

After years of declining population, Philadelphia is becoming a more desirable place to live. There’s increased development in many neighborhoods, which has resulted in a rise in property values and in the cost of living. While this development is critical for improving Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, for too many of us it has meant being forced out of our communities. This has especially affected those of us who are disabled, are seniors, or are part of working families living below the poverty line. We need to preserve affordability in gentrifying neighborhoods so that those who are committed to and invested in our communities can afford to stay.

Our Solution:

The members of the Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities (PCAC) have long been committed to the idea of fairness that is part of the Development without Displacement Campaign. Together we helped to create a strong Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund (HTF) where 50% of the proceeds are dedicated to improving housing options for families who earn less than $20,000/year.

After four years of organizing and urging city council to fund the HTF, a legislative package was passed this September that will put $71 million in the fund over the next five years. We are encouraged to see progress on policies that address the issue of displacement but disappointed that the bill does not guarantee resources for low income Philadelphians and does not include a permanent source of funding, two priorities for our coalition.

We will continue to create and push bills that serve low income households and prevent displacement. Currently, we are supporting city-wide efforts to amend the 10 year tax abatement that eliminates property taxes for developers. Property tax funds can be used to construct low income housing units and our city can no longer afford to provide subsidies for wealthy real estate developers while long-time residents are pushed out of their neighborhoods.

We also continue our work to hold the Philadelphia Land Bank accountable to providing land to create affordable and accessible housing, space for food production and job creation. In 2017, we got the Land Bank to double the amount of land for extremely low-income housing development. As they work on their 2019 strategic plan, we will fight to ensure these priorities are met.

Future Goals:

While we are encouraged by our progress, we know that there is a great deal of work still to be accomplished. Over the next year, PCAC will work to craft and advocate for a package of bills that support Development without Displacement – each bill carefully designed to expand and preserve affordable options in neighborhoods undergoing or potentially undergoing gentrification. Our goal will be the passage of legislation that generates more dedicated, permanent resources to support food production and the preservation and creation of affordable homes. Click here to find out how you can support our new campaign!