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Discussion Starter #1
08/20/06 09:14<br><br><br><br>
(NS-Gentrification)<br><br>
An anti-poverty group says gentrification is becoming a real<br><br>
problem in Halifax.<br><br>
The Halifax Coalition Against Poverty held a rally yesterday to<br><br>
bring attention to the issue.<br><br>
Gentrification happens when affluent people move into an urban<br><br>
neighbourhood and restore it, driving up property values and<br><br>
displacing low-income residents.<br><br>
Activist Eva Curry says residents are forced to move further away<br><br>
-- sometimes to areas without public transit. (Halifax<br><br>
Chronicle-Herald)<br><br>
---<br><br>
(Atlantic Update by James Keller<br><br><br><br>
***This upsets me to no end, seeing poor people who have lived in areas for years driven out in favour of massive, high-priced condo developments, which is what is happening in Halifax & elsewhere.<br><br>
Do poor people not deserve homes in areas where they can access grocery stores, buses, hospitals, etc? So many of them don't own cars & can't afford taxis. Many won't be able to work in the city if they lose their homes, so where will the rich find workers to do the dirty jobs they don't want, like janitorial work, fast food work, etc.<br><br>
To me, it seems either the minimum wage must increase to such a point where these people will be able to stay downtown to do their jobs & have access to other needed services, like the welfare office, mental health drop-in centres, hospitals, etc. OR ELSE there are going to be more problems downtown with homelessness, poverty-related crimes, & the like, as well as a shortage of blue-collar workers to wipe the a$$es of the rich who turfed them from their homes (or rental units, which would be more likely).<br><br>
Comments welcome, except bs like people (no names mentioned) telling me it's "all in [my] head" & that I am fabricating this news item. It's real. Let's discuss it.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/help.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":help:">
 

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Things like this also happen in rural areas, it is real, there was a story on new england cable news one day about a town in Vermont that is becoming popular with vacationers, it never was a tourist town but now "city people" are building Mc Mansions for summer homes and it is driving up everyone's property taxes, there were people who had lived in this town for generations unable now to afford the taxes on their own homes.
 

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Some towns encourage refurbishing downtown areas through a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA). A CRA offers a temporary reduction in property taxes on new construction, additions and remodeling areas with in the designated area. The city I live in has one: it extends several blocks out from the main streets downtown.<br><br><br><br>
The neighborhoods nearest downtown are known for housing drug pushers, prostitutes and other types of criminal activity. When I moved here, my friends in this town advised "Don't live south of the college," fearing for my personal safety.<br><br><br><br>
While encouraging rich people to take over poor neighborhoods and simultaneously out-price the poor folks isn't savory, what can a town do that wants to be economically vibrant? Does chasing poor people out to the fringes eventually collapse the economic structure, or do they find a way to make it work?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>skylark</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br>
While encouraging rich people to take over poor neighborhoods and simultaneously out-price the poor folks isn't savory, what can a town do that wants to be economically vibrant? Does chasing poor people out to the fringes eventually collapse the economic structure, or do they find a way to make it work?</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
That is indeed the question, or questions.<br><br>
I have no idea.
 

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This is happening a lot in Calgary right now.<br><br>
The downtown neighbourhood I live in has always had a wonderful mix of retirees, young urban proffesionals, low income people- basically it covered the spectrum, but now condo conversions are basically eliminating most of the rental housing in this area and all over the city!<br><br><br><br>
I am being evicted from my beautiful, totally affordable apartment so they can turn them into condos worth about a quarter of a million dollars for a one bedroom. Now, that would be fine if there were any other affordable rental accomodations, but basically, there is a zero percent vacancy rate in Calgary and the average price of a 1 bed has increased from about $600 to $900 in less than 9 months.<br><br><br><br>
There were over 975 apartement buildings converted to Condos last year alone in Calgary. Thats 975 BUILDINGs- not units.<br><br><br><br>
Our homeless population has grown 150% in the past 3 years because of this. Families are out on the streets because of the gentrification of inner city areas that used to have affordable accomodations.<br><br><br><br>
As for me, I'll be fine. I can afford to pay another couple of hundred bucks a month rent, or look at buying a condo, or even move back in with the 'rents for awhile.<br><br><br><br>
But what about the pensioners in my building- or the people on AISh (Assured income for the severely handicapped)? They are going to be out on the street if they don't have family that will take them in.
 

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Yep, it's happening all over. Mid-town Houston (an areas just outside of downtown) are doing the same thing. But in Houston, it's a few sections of town that are being renovated, and there are lots of other poor neighborhoods close to downtown that aren't. But the effect seems to be that the areas a bit farther outside of downtown, that were suburbs 50 years ago, are becoming the new slums. It's almost like a reverse "white flight," now that it's fashionable to live in the city again.<br><br><br><br>
As for what to do about it, I have no idea, other than elminating poverty. Easier said than done, right? It seems that most people see only the good side of urban revitalization-- the plight of the poor is beneath notice.
 

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Fashionable to live in the city, Tess? Only in some areas. In my area, people need encouragement to live or establish a business here. They would rather go one county east or north, where affluence is more common and city councils wear suits.
 

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Just judging from what I'm seeing in Houston-- the price and general ritziness of all the new condos going up just outside downtown, and really all throughout the central portion of the city-- it seems that it's become fashionable again here. At least for certain demographics. There's still the issue of the schools, which keeps some familes from moving in, but among singles, childless couples, and empty-nesters, city life seems very popular these days. And the loft apartments that are going in downtown! For heaven's sake, who would have thought that an apartment without walls would cost so much more? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/dizzy2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":dizzy:">
 

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i think that skylark approaches many important points or questions regarding this situation. i have my concerns for the poor coupled with my desire for urban renewal to develop sustainable communities.
 

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Yes, and more people (with money) living in the city is great for the environment (and once the tax breaks expire) for the city public schools as well. But I too, have the same questions. For the people who own, there isn't much of a problem unless their home value goes up so much they can't pay taxes any more. But for the renters, they will have to go elsewhere. I wonder if there can't be some sort of compromise.<br><br><br><br>
I heard something on the radio about a town where they had rich and urban poor living together somehow, and it was enriching for everyone. I'll look for it. Sounds hard to believe but they did it somehow.
 

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When affluent people move to poor areas, buy houses, and improve the neighborhood, they drive up prices and hurt the poor.<br><br><br><br>
When affluent people avoid poor areas, it results in falling home prices, vacant buildings, high crime, and low development, also hurting the poor.<br><br><br><br>
Damned if you do, damned if you don't...
 

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The local center for social justice in Calgary is trying to do something about it- They are starting a housing security coalition to try to address some of the issues surrounding rental housing in Calgary, including condo conversions, using redonkulous rent increases as eviction notices (like they did in my building- I have until Jan to get out, but Nov. 1 my rent goes up to $2000/month, from $610), crooked landlords, and the lack of affordable housing for thousands of people.<br><br><br><br>
I wasn't able to attend the meeting, but I can't wait to read the minutes. I know a few MLA's (the liberal ones) in my area are interested and are bringing these issues to the legislature next week.<br><br><br><br>
I can't see any quick and easy solutions, but mixed neighbourhoods downtown seems like the only workable solution. I think this is a case where there needs to be legislation to encourage developers to build rental properties instead of just condos, and to make some percentage of the buildings 'affordable housing'.<br><br><br><br>
The situation is being addressed, by activists, the goverment and the media, but the question is, will they be able to do something effective about it before the crisis reaches really dangerous levels (which it is close to doing)?
 

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'rent control' is a common solution to the problem of the displacement of renters. this has been utilized in many areas to help seniors who lived in neighborhoods for many years that started out middle-class and vibrant, became part of urban blight, and then were regentrified. this protected them from the rent hikes and in some areas the tax problems (for those who own the homes) related to regentrification.<br><br><br><br>
typically, i've noticed, that rent control techniques are utilized for about a generation. Santa Monica, CA, for example, utilized rent control for the last 20 years or so, but are now lifting it because most of those individuals who required rent control have moved away or passed away.
 

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Rent control doesn't really help the problem of rents going up steeply. I lived in Los Angeles in a rent control district, and my rent went from $350 a month to $750 a month before I moved out of the apartment. I think I was in that apartment for about four or five years.
 

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it's relatively normal for rents to go up year to year, if you started at 350 and it went up 100 per year over 5 years, that would be 850. most places go up about 100 dollars a year. i believe that functions with the COA adjustments.<br><br><br><br>
rent control prevents the jumps that synergy mentioned--a jump from $750 to $2750 in a matter of months.
 

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100/year on a 350 bucks/mo. apartment is wayy more than Cost of Living.
 

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when i lived in a rent controls part of town, the $350 apt went up $100 per year both years i lived there. in the area, everyone's place went up between $75 and $150 per year. When i checked the housing commission regarding it, they said that this amount fit within the rent control guidelines, which were meant to prevent landlords from increasing the rents to meet the current property values.<br><br><br><br>
in return for keeping rent low, they recieved property tax breaks.
 

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Thankfully, my area has seen no dramatic fluxes one way or the other. I suppose it couldbut that's one of the benefits to living in an area where changes come slooooooowly. That's small-city Midwest for you.<br><br><br><br>
That brings up an interesting question: if the housing prices go up and down enough in the big cities on the coasts, will the U.S. see a migration of lower economic classes into the Midwest? People tend to leave the Midwest for lack of job opportunities. Will they come back if they don't climb the income ladder fast enough to keep ahead of their housing expenses?
 

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skylark:<br><br><br><br>
i think you ask interesting questions.<br><br><br><br>
one of the things that people are asking us--since we're moving to a large city on the west coast is how we're going to afford housing. My husband and i recognize the basic fact that downsizing is essential (at least at first) to economic stability regarding housing. a lot of people say "i could never do that!"<br><br><br><br>
i think our sense of space and the need for space is bloated in the US. this is not to say that these cities aren't expensive, etc, and that people in general aren't being pushed out of areas, but part of that is this sense that if you have two kids, you need 5 bedrooms or some such.
 
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