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

Insights & Analyses

  • The majority of low-income households of color live in neighborhoods that are gentrifying or are at risk of gentrification.
  • In the Bay Area, Black households are twice as likely as White households to live in neighborhoods that are at risk of gentrification.
  • Low-income White households 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

Affordable housing units created by providing nonprofits with loans to purchase buildings. The Small Sites Program (SSP) in San Francisco is a publicly funded loan program designed to create permanently affordable units, improve housing conditions, and stabilize housing for vulnerable populations. SSP offers financing for nonprofits to purchase and improve multi-family residential buildings, which are then maintained as permanently affordable units. For instance, the Mission Economic Development Agency has acquired and rehabilitated 177 units to become permanent affordable housing for tenants with low- to moderate-incomes. Learn more.


Photo: Ani Rivera in front of her apartment building purchased by the nonprofit MEDA through San Francisco's Small Sites program. Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner

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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