The City of Boston has identified residential displacement due to gentrification as an issue threatening the ability of low and middle income residents to stay in their homes and communities. After reviewing existing literature on gentrification and displacement and consulting with stakeholders that include community organizations, developers, and housing experts, we have identified the following as primary drivers of residential displacement in Boston: escalating rents and the expiration of rent restrictions on affordable housing.
To address these drivers of residential displacement due to gentrification, we recommend Boston Stays Home, a comprehensive program that prioritizes the passage of the following policies:
•Preserving Rent-Restricted Housing
•Passing the Community Preservation Act
•Enacting a Just Cause Eviction Ordinance
•Strengthening Access to Legal Services
•Improving eviction data collection and storage practices with Boston Housing Court
Preserving rent-restricted housing would provide stability to the more than 3,000 households in Boston identified as being at elevated risk of displacement due to conversion of affordable housing to market rate. Passage of the Community Preservation Act would help finance this preservation, while also providing the City additional resources to invest in other forms of affordable housing support. Enacting a Just Cause Eviction ordinance would prevent no-fault evictions of households in gentrifying neighborhoods. A tenant education provision in this ordinance would ensure that residents facing eviction are aware of their rights and the available resources that may help stay in their homes. Strengthening access to legal services would enable many households facing eviction to avoid, or at least forestall, displacement. Finally, improving the data collection and sharing practices between City Hall and the Boston Housing Court would give government agencies valuable real-time information of where gentrification and displacement is occurring in the region.
The policies of the Boston Stays Home program can help Boston create a more affordable city for its low and middle income residents.
This report can be made available upon request.
Client: City of Boston – Department of Neighborhood Development
Team: Daniel Youngwon Lee, Daniel Bass