Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gentrification is a policy choice

Not as fun as it used to be for some anyway.
“Having to kick people out takes all the fun out of owning a house.”

Oren Goldenberg, a 31-year-old filmmaker based in Detroit, could have bought a $500 house at the Wayne County tax auction this fall-- but having to evict a homeowner turned him off.

Goldenberg had been burned before. He had made a previous purchase in the yearly tax foreclosure auction. His coup turned less appealing as he was confronted with the reality of removing the owner and then-occupant from her home. Goldenberg sold the house it back to its occupant for the bargain price of $7,000 – twice what he had paid for it, but half what she had owed in property taxes.

Now Goldenberg won’t consider an already-occupied house. “It goes into this long-term narrative of Detroit is vacant and empty and there’s no one here. So when you look at it and you think oh my god, we’re going to develop this area, no one thinks that you might be pushing people out.”
 No matter, it's the policy.  Detroit has decided the way to move forward is to first move all the poors out.
— Wayne County has begun tax foreclosure proceedings on nearly 75,000 properties, a record number that includes thousands of delinquent accounts that officials have ignored for years.

Treasury workers last month began posting notices on the properties that the county plans to auction in fall 2015 if owners don't pay taxes or agree to payment plans. In Detroit alone, 62,000 properties owing $326.4 million in taxes, interest and fees are set to be foreclosed.

More than half of those Detroit homes — 37,000 — are occupied, according to Motor City Mapping data analyzed by Loveland Technologies. That has folks such as Sharon Weatherly fearing she eventually could be out on the street.
You don't clear out 37,000 households by accident.  This is not just "the free market at work." It is the consequence of deliberate policy where we foreclose on some for going delinquent on property taxes... but offer "incentives" to (meaning we don't collect taxes from) others.
Detroit is 83 percent African-American, and 38 percent of its population lives below the poverty line. But the older, blacker Detroit starkly contrasts with a whiter, wealthier new Detroit that's been wooed in by tax breaks and living incentives—which gives these evictions a heavily racial subtext.
 And it's not just Detroit.  Remember all the superstar Mayors in America's rapidly "revitalizing" cities get together and compare notes
In an exchange of ideas similar to what took place when former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing toured New Orleans three years ago, Mayor Mitch Landrieu planned an on-the-ground viewing of the Motor City's deteriorating housing stock for this weekend.

After speaking at the Mackinac Policy Conference Friday, Landrieu said that he hoped to offer advice to Detroit after his administration's blight strategy led to the mitigation in one way or another of roughly 10,000 blighted properties in New Orleans' historic neighborhoods, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving. 

1 comment:

Clay said...

The Detroit stuff reminds me of Robocop