Partnership for the Bay’s Future (PBF) is an SFF initiative to advance housing solutions. PBF works to produce, preserve, and protect affordable homes in the Bay Area and to ensure our region remains a diverse place where all people are welcome and can thrive. Heather Bromfield is a Partnership for the Bay’s Future Policy Grant Fellow, working towards solving the affordable housing crisis by forging community and government partnerships to implement equitable policies. She shared a blog reflecting on her experience, and a portion is excerpted below:
I used to think I was one of only a handful of people who enjoyed talking about affordable housing policy on a Friday evening. But a few weeks ago, I was blown away when over 300 people came together in East San Jose to learn about San Jose’s proposed Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (COPA). SOMOS Mayfair, a grassroots organizing group and service provider based in San Jose’s Mayfair neighborhood, organized the “COPA Cumbia” to educate community members and generate enthusiasm for COPA while dancing to cumbia and enjoying food. Attendees included community members who were learning about COPA for the first time; partner organizations that have been convening as part of a “COPA Coalition” for well over a year; a local city council candidate; and staff from a state senator’s office.
What is COPA?
COPA is an anti-displacement policy that would keep lower-income families in their homes when a property owner moves to sell the property. It would level the property acquisition playing field between traditional real estate players, such as investors who can purchase properties in cash, and non-profit affordable housing groups. In contrast to traditional for-profit buyers, these non-profits – including affordable housing developers, community land trusts, and limited equity cooperatives – would be required to keep the units permanently affordable. If adopted in San Jose, COPA would stabilize neighborhoods that are undergoing displacement, add units to the permanently affordable housing stock, and could provide non-traditional homeownership options for lower-income families who would otherwise be completely priced out of homeownership in the area. COPA also has the potential to serve as a tool for empowering residents to substantively participate in the property acquisition process by encouraging mission-driven buyers to consult with them before moving forward with the purchase.
Read more about Heather’s experience.