Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the problem?
  • Rapid redevelopment is afoot in Philadelphia, gentrifying many neighborhoods; the stability and diversity of communities are under threat.
  • In 2013, developers received building permits for more than 2,800 units of housing, more than any year in the previous decade. This means the housing market in our city is changing significantly.
  • New developments are uprooting beloved green spaces that have transformed blight into centers of community and sources of nutrition and health.
  1. What is gentrification?

The transformation of low-income and working class neighborhoods, driving up housing and other real estate prices and causing the displacement of long-term residents, businesses, and institutions.

 

  1. What’s the cost of gentrification to Philadelphians?

Rising housing costs in gentrifying neighborhoods exact real costs in the lives of Philadelphia families.

More than 240,000 households citywide (40% of all households) are forced to spend 30% or more of their income on housing.

Long-term residents are forced to move away from jobs and social networks. Neighborhood-serving businesses are forced to close as commercial rents increase, leaving many residents without access to basic services and local living-wage jobs.

Community gardens and farms that have been sources of affordable nutrition and places where people gather are up-rooted.

 

  1. Where is the cost of housing out of control?
  • West Philadelphia’s median sale price increased 98%, at nearly twice the citywide rate
  • South Philadelphia’s median sale price increased 184%, more than three times the citywide rate
  • North Philadelphia’s median sale price increased 200%, nearly four times the citywide rate

In these neighborhoods, rising housing costs coupled with stagnant or declining household incomes are straining low-income families’ ability to stay in their homes.

 

  1. Where is gentrification happening the most?

In North, South, and West Philadelphia:

  • 50% of renter households are “housing cost-burdened,” paying more than they can afford for their rent.
  • And, over 30% of homeowners are also spending too much of their income on housing.
  • In North, South, and West Philadelphia, the African American population has dropped 22-29% since 2000.

Displacement due to rising housing costs is threatening the diversity of our neighborhoods.

 

  1. What needs to be done?

We need resources to build affordable housing and help long-term residents stay in their homes.

As a first step, City Council must pass legislation that requires developers to pay a construction impact tax.

By charging a few dollars per square foot of new construction we could generate $14 million for the Housing Trust Fund EVERY YEAR

 

  1. What would the Construction Impact Tax legislation create with $14 additional dollars per year?
  • 280 units of newly constructed affordable rental apartments
  • 437 existing homeowners seeking critical improvements through the Basic Systems Repair Program
  • 105 home rehabilitations through the Adaptive Modifications Program
  • 318 households facing homelessness receiving utility and mortgage assistance
  • 70 grants for capital improvements and infrastructure in community gardens

 

  1. Who’s leading the Development without Displacement campaign?

The Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities (PCAC) is a coalition of  59 community, disability, faith, labor, and urban agriculture organizations that have joined together to pass a series of laws that will expand and protect affordable, accessible housing and green space in neighborhoods undergoing gentrification.

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