A burst of new home construction in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and other cities have caused neighborhoods in those cities to quickly gentrify, and if you are a longtime resident and homeowner in those cities, it’s possible that you’ve seen the value of your home skyrocket as much as four times in a single year. Great, right? Not exactly. Not if you can no longer afford the property taxes and don’t want to sell your house. The Times reports that cities are mobilizing to help their longtime residents affected by gentrification by giving them cuts on their property taxes—which alleviates the burden among longtime residents, but will ultimately affect each city’s annual revenue. Still, the cities believe investing in longtime residents is worth it:
The tax adjustments are part of a broader strategy by cities to aid homeowners — who continue to struggle financially since the home mortgage crisis. In Richmond, Calif., lawmakers are attempting to use eminent domain to seize underwater mortgages to try to help homeowners keep their houses.
Housing experts say the arrival of newcomers to formerly working-class areas — from the Mission District in San Francisco to the Shaw neighborhood in Washington — is distinct from previous influxes over the past 30 years because new residents are now far more likely to choose to move into new condominiums or lofts instead of into existing housing, making the changes more disruptive.
Quixote Village is a community of formerly homeless adults in Olympia, Washington, who until recently lived in a self-governed tent city that rotated between church parking lots. Now these 29 adults live in 29 separate 144-square-foot tiny houses, arranged in a horseshoe shape. Each house has room for a bed, a desk, and a tiny bathroom with a sink and a toilet. There is a shared garden and a community center with showers and a kitchen shared by all the residents. If residents have income, they’re asked to pay 30% of that income towards monthly rent. Otherwise, living there is free.
I wouldn’t have thought so but this article about families in New York sure makes it seem weird.
I received an email from Liz, a licensed loan originator and self-proclaimed mortgage person, who suggested that readers here may be interested in an “Ask a Mortgage Person”-type column. Perhaps! Send your mortgage questions to email@example.com and we’ll see how this goes!
Drew Philp has a nice essay in BuzzFeed about buying an abandoned house in Detroit for $500 when he was 23, why he did it, and what his neighborhood and city means to him.
Last night I was unlocking the front door of my building when our across-the-hall neighbor Janice swung it open. Surprised, I said hi then stepped aside to let her walk through. I saw she was heaving out two black garbage bags full of stuff as she apologized, saying her apartment was full of crap that she’d have to throw away since she was out of here by March 31st. This was all under her breath, and said quickly as I stood there dumbfounded.
“What?” I said. “No!”
I put down my groceries and went to grab her other garbage bag.
“Yep,” she said, sounding resigned. “Eighteen years here.”
There’s never a good time to do anything.
If you’re a writer who’s willing to relocate, an organization called Write-a-House in Detroit, Mich., wants to GIVE YOU A HOUSE:
WAH Author-in-Residence will receive the deed to a house. For two years prior to receiving the deed, the WAH Author-in-Residence will live in the house rent-free. They will only be responsible for insurance costs and property tax costs. After two years, the deed will be given to the awardee as long as the selection committee and WAH Board agree that certain terms and conditions have been met.
The catch? Well the catch is that you have to live in Detroit. Also these are formerly abandoned houses, and while they’ll be 80% renovated, you are responsible for renovating it the rest of the way (which frankly, sounds kind of fun) (says someone who has never renovated a house).
The WAH Author-in-Residence will also be expected to:
contribute content to the WAH blog on a regular basis. participate in local readings and other cultural events use the home as their primary residence. In general, they will be responsible home owners, engaged neighbors, committed city residents and good literary citizens.