Strategies and Policies Available to Texas Communities for Addressing the Displacement of Vulnerable Residents in Gentrifying Neighborhoods
This toolkit provides a diverse range of strategies and policies for addressing the displacement of vulnerable residents in gentrifying neighborhoods. The toolkit is guided by the following vision statement:
Low-income residents and persons of color (and their children) in historically disadvantaged communities have the opportunity to stay and return to their neighborhoods in the face of rising property values and an influx of more affluent residents. Over time, opportunities remain for new low-income residents to live in the community. Residents have a meaningful role in shaping the future of their neighborhood.
Goal 1: Vulnerable renters in gentrifying neighborhoods are not displaced from their current homes and neighborhoods
Renters in gentrifying neighborhoods face recurring rent increases and other displacement pressures as existing rental housing is torn down to make way for higher-end development. The most vulnerable groups of renters (e.g., low-income renters, persons of color, and families with children in poverty) are at the highest risk of displacement.
Goal 2: Vulnerable homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods are not displaced from their current homes and neighborhoods
As a neighborhood gentrifies, low-income homeowners face mounting financial pressures in the form of recurring property tax increases and, as a consequence, inability to cover other housing expenses, such as repairs. Homeowners who are the most vulnerable to displacement are those with the lowest incomes living in the most rapidly appreciating neighborhoods. While property tax savings are available in Texas via various homestead exemption policies, low-income homeowners who qualify for these exemptions may not have an exemption in place.
Goal 3: The existing affordable housing stock (subsidized and non-subsidized) in gentrifying neighborhoods is preserved so that the units are in good condition while remaining affordable to low-income residents
Preserving existing affordable rental housing is typically more affordable than subsidizing the construction of new affordable housing in a gentrifying neighborhood. Without preservation interventions, many existing affordable properties will no longer be affordable over the next ten years. In particular, thousands of units in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program—the largest affordable housing program in Texas and the country—are at risk of exiting the program and losing their affordable rents without preservation interventions. Other affordable properties are at risk because of deteriorating property conditions, especially aging properties where owners fail to provide repairs in anticipation of future redevelopment on the site.
Goal 4: City planning and land use decisions incorporate inclusive and equitable anti- displacement strategies, and low-income persons and communities of color are empowered to participate early and meaningfully in land use decisions that shape their homes, neighborhoods, and communities
Cities that build in strategies for preventing or mitigating displacement as land use plans are being adopted or updated can implement more effective displacement interventions than cities that react to displacement after projects are already well underway. Including vulnerable residents in the land use planning process also helps ensure more inclusive and equitable outcomes.
Goal 5: New affordable housing options are created to serve current and future vulnerable households in gentrifying neighborhoods
Goal 5 focuses on local strategies and tools for creating new affordable housing options that are specifically tailored to the opportunities and challenges presented by gentrifying neighborhoods. The tools include a focus on long-term affordability that can serve both current and future generations of vulnerable households.
Goal 6: Vulnerable residents are able to remain in or return to their communities by accessing affordable housing opportunities in their neighborhoods
Goal 6 focuses on removing barriers that current and displaced residents face in accessing newly-created affordable housing opportunities in gentrifying neighborhoods.