Increase Provision of Services


Ensure that local service providers can afford to continue serving communities and can build capacity to serve new arrivals.

Reading to Children at a California Elementary School by Medina Ayala-Lo

Neighborhoods vulnerable to gentrification pressures are often the same ones that rely most heavily on local service providers, including free health clinics, job centers, legal  resource centers, and community schools. Service providers can become entrapped in a neighborhood if they cannot afford to move to another location as their target population is displaced. This spatial mismatch reduces the ability of service providers to offer resources to those who need them most. Additionally, when those who rely on local service providers move to areas where providers have less capacity, they can overwhelm the receiving organizations. The inverse might also occur, with service providers such as homeless shelters being priced out of their neighborhoods, even as populations served remain. This is the case in Seattle, where immigrant resource and advocacy organizations can no longer afford to operate in the city.

In the case of schools, spatial mismatch is especially troubling, since students' educational outcomes are at stake. Displacement can take students out of schools where the staff knew them and they had become comfortable, disrupting their learning process. The receiving school may be less equipped to serve students with dual-language instruction or after-school needs. In addition, the frequent arrival of new students can negatively affect learning among their classmates.

Cities must overcome spatial mismatch by ensuring that service providers can continue to meet the needs of longtime communities and new arrivals. They can do so by ensuring access to services among vulnerable residents even post-displacement and by building the capacity of smaller service providers located in downstream neighborhoods receiving vulnerable, displaced residents. 

Policy Innovations

The policy agenda to meet this goal includes policies that enable people to access services, including eliminating transit fees for school children during commutes and allowing kids to stay in the same school when a family moves. In addition, this policy agenda includes enabling the development of service providers, including encouraging collaboration between high and medium capacity service providers. Click below to learn more about each policy.

Policy Inspirations

Several of our case-study cities have already implemented policies that increase access to services for folks who need them. We believe that these policies serve as a baseline for what cities should be doing to combat inequitable development.

In 2012, Denver implemented a unified enrollment system for all schools in the district. The district also redrew school boundary lines in 2010 so that a child living in a given neighborhood has guaranteed access to one of several schools, and 200 schools give priority to students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. In just four years since the school choice policy launched, the percent of students attending a school with concentrated poverty dropped from 42% to 30%.  A policy like this increases choice for students who frequently move and could be expanded to ensure that a student who moves can continue attending the same school.

Designed for: Neighborhoods in Late-Stage Gentrification​

Neighborhood Hallmarks: high prices, has lost many original residents, is receiving displaced residents from other neighborhoods

This goal focuses on mitigating the impacts of displacement and rising prices after they have already occurred.