Containing the Impacts of Gentrification for Long-Time Homeowners

Given the unprecedented nature of the gentrification occurring in American cities, many cities have had to respond swiftly to the pressures of changing neighborhoods. A new article surveys cities using property tax relief to support urban homeowners.

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March 5, 2014, 6:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Shaw, D.C.

Elvert Barnes / Flickr

(*UPDATED 3/6/14) Timothy Williams writes of the actions of some cities to support the longtime homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods who have seen their property values spike as a result of the recent trend of gentrification and urbanization around the country.

Many of the efforts have “centered on reducing or freezing property taxes for such homeowners in an effort to promote neighborhood stability, preserve character and provide a dividend of sorts to those who have stayed through years of high crime, population loss and declining property values,” writes Williams.

“In doing so, cities are turning urban redevelopment policy on its head and shunning millions in property tax revenue that could be used to restore municipal services that were trimmed during the recession because of budget cuts, including rehiring police officers.”

Williams cites the example of *Philadelphia, which recently passed two pieces of legislation meant to support longtime homeowners in its urban areas: “The first, the Homestead Exemption, allows most homeowners to reduce the assessed value of their house by $30,000 for tax purposes, while a second law, called Gentrification Protection or LOOP, short for Longtime Owner Occupants Program, is more narrowly focused on protecting homeowners from increases to their property tax bills because of gentrification.”

Monday, March 3, 2014 in New York Times

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