Frequently Asked Questions
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.