A bill that passed city council this week would provide lifelong financial relief to longtime Philly homeowners, many of whom are watching as the rate of housing developments—and subsequently, the cost of real estate taxes—rise around them.
The bill, introduced by councilman Kenyatta Johnson, is an amendment to the Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP)—also known as the “gentrification protection” program—, a real estate tax abatement for homeowners who have lived in a house for at least 10 years and who have seen their property taxes triple in one year.
The program comes with some stipulations: homeowners must make below a certain annual income to be eligible, and the program ends after 10 years.
At least, that was until Thursday’s bill, which eliminates the 10-year limit, allowing longtime homeowners at a certain income bracket a lifetime eligibility.
Johnson thanked his fellow councilmen and women for their support on the bill Thursday, saying it is important to ensure rapid gentrification doesn’t force lower income residents out of their homes.
“We’re continuously focusing on a tale of two cities,” Johnson said during the meeting. “Those who have, and those who have not.”
He said that if the city doesn’t help its longtime residents, the rising cost of living will push them out of the city and into the suburbs.
“Then you have one type of people living in the city of Philadelphia,” Johnson said.
As a final note, Johnson voiced his hope that the city’s administration would get, “just as aggressive” when it comes to affordable housing.
“The most important tax relief is for longterm residents who have always paid their taxes and most importantly, served as a bedrock of their city prior to developments coming in.”