Gentrification risk: Low-income residents should be able to stay and benefit when new investment comes to their neighborhoods.

Insights & Analyses

  • Among all low-income households in the Bay Area, 31 percent live in neighborhoods at risk of gentrification and 9 percent live in neighborhoods that are gentrifying.
  • Almost half of low-income households of color in the Bay Area live in neighborhoods that are gentrifying or are at risk of gentrification.
  • In the Bay Area, low-income Black households are more than twice as likely as low-income white households to live in neighborhoods that are at risk of gentrification.
  • Low-income white households in the Bay Area are most likely to live in neighborhoods that exclude other households with low-incomes.

Drivers of Inequity

During housing booms, market rents rise fastest in low-income neighborhoods that are in proximity to richer neighborhoods. Many low-income communities of color, which have historically suffered economic neglect and disinvestment, are now at risk for rapidly rising rents due to gentrification. While Richmond and Mountain View recently won rent control measures, three-quarters of Bay Area renter households remain unprotected, and existing controls do not limit rent increases between tenancies or cover newer homes.


Strengthen places: Strategies to foster inclusive communities

  • Ensure strong tenant protections, such as just cause eviction ordinances, anti-harassment policies, and legal assistance for tenants facing eviction.
  • Adopt or strengthen rent control measures to prevent displacement and promote housing stability.
  • Support tenant organizing and the growth of tenant unions.
  • Raise resources and create new financing sources to preserve and build affordable homes.
  • Increase the number of permanently affordable homes through community land trusts, limited equity cooperatives, and deed-restricted housing.
  • Require or incentivize the inclusion of affordable homes within new developments using inclusionary zoning, community benefits agreements, density bonuses, or other tools.
  • Preserve affordable rental housing, particularly apartments located near job centers, public transit, and services.
  • Expand California’s renters' tax credit to return more income to low-income families.
  • Bolster renter incomes by improving the quality and wages of low-wage jobs, expanding income supports, reducing the cost of childcare, and ensuring access to quality jobs.

Strategy in Action

In partnership with PolicyLink, the city of San Jose approved an anti-displacement strategy with 10 recommendations to address displacement and gentrification. Informed by community input, these recommendations include mitigating the impact of Covid-19 on renters, exploring a Community Opportunity to Purchase Program, increasing the representation of historically underrepresented communities on city commissions, and increasing the representation of historically underrepresented communities on city commissions. The Office of Racial Equity is tasked with implementing the new strategy and may use unspent CARES Act dollars towards some of the policies. Learn more.

In Their Own Words...

“ I cannot take one day off or afford to be sick because now I pay more money for rent. $1,425 was what I used to pay — now its $1,950.”

— Betty Gabaldon, Walnut Creek

Betty Gabaldon had lived in her Concord apartment with her daughter for eight years and was actively organizing her building to form a tenants association (with help from EBASE and Tenants Together) when her new landlord issued her a 60-day eviction notice for no cause. She searched for a new home in Concord, where she works in two retail jobs, but could not find anything affordable. She was able to find a place in Walnut Creek, but the higher rent forces her to make tradeoffs between rent and other household needs. Betty continues to advocate for policies that protect tenants and their right to organize.


Photo: Felix Uribe

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