Atlanta’s historic Westside was already experiencing early signs of gentrification when Shauna Moore moved to Vine City from California in 2006. “I was one of the first residents on my block during the redevelopment of my neighborhood almost 13 years ago,” Moore explains. On the one hand, seeing new development and an evolving neighborhood was exciting for Moore. But, she also acknowledged that these changes – and the influx of new residents – can cause concern for long-time residents. So, Moore set on a path to understand Vine City’s roots and residents wanting to give back to her new home and connect with her neighbors. “I believe in investing in my community,” she says.
Moore has since built a thriving life in Vine City. But as Westside neighborhoods like hers continue to experience redevelopment, the residents don’t always reap the benefits. Instead, many are burdened by rising property taxes that accompany increases in property values. A teacher, Moore felt the growing pressure as her tax bill began to increase, so she began researching financial assistance programs. And then there was a knock at her door – a Westside Future Fund (WFF) team member sharing about a new Anti-Displacement Tax Fund (ADTF) program.
Moore likes that the ADTF program – open to qualified legacy residents of the English Avenue, Vine City, Ashview Heights and Atlanta University Center neighborhoods — helps ensure that homeowners, just like herself, won’t be displaced by rising property tax increases. The program works by paying qualifying homeowners’ property tax increases for the next 20 years, making it a real option for homeowners to afford to call the community home for generations. Moore says that she was pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy it was to apply for the ADTF program. She says, “It was a very simple application. It didn’t take me long at all to fill out.” When Moore learned she qualified for the program, she described, “I was relieved. I felt like it was actually something that I deserved. I’m a teacher, so living on that type of income makes it difficult to keep up with home maintenance and growing bills.”
Moore hopes that her experience will inspire more of her neighbors to apply. Her advice to prospective applicants: “Ask questions during the application process. Someone is always available to help.”
The ADTF program is available to qualifying homeowners in the English Avenue, Vine City, Ashview Heights and Atlanta University Center communities. The deadline to apply for this year has been extended to June 1, 2019. Learn more or apply by visiting https://www.westsidefuturefund.org/news/tax-fund/.