Preserving already affordable housing

Preserving already affordable housing

Preserving already affordable housing is one of our core strategies for addressing the Bay Area’s housing crisis and ensuring that everyone has an affordable home.  Partnership for the Bay’s Future has been active in helping communities develop equitable policies such as Tenant or Community Opportunity to Purchase Acts (TOPA/COPA). TOPA/COPA empowers tenants with options and opportunities when their rental property owner decides to sell. These policies give either tenants or nonprofit housing developers the first chance to purchase the rental property and keep homes affordable. Nonprofit organizations will be required to keep the building affordable permanently. 

Jesse Arreguín (Mayor of Berkeley), Keith Carson (Alameda County supervisor), and Peter Ortiz (San Jose City Councilmember) recently penned “Protecting our neighbors’ homes will keep Bay Area diverse” in support of TOPA/COPA housing. 

The piece is excerpted below: 

For so many tenants who already live in affordable housing, there is a threat that they may lose their homes. A recent report found that the Bay Area loses an average of 32,000 unprotected affordable homes every year. While building more housing for all income levels seems obvious (and necessary), the reality is that building affordable housing is incredibly costly and slow-moving. Policies like TOPA/COPA can preserve homes in only 1-2 years compared to around five years to build new housing and can cost 50%-70% of what it takes to build new housing. 

We need to give our neighbors the opportunity to improve their lives and build the future they deserve, which depends on having a decent and affordable place to live. Protecting affordable housing allows those who live there the chance to prosper, which strengthens our communities and provides our children with a better chance to succeed in school, get jobs and build their own strong families. And protecting these homes will keep people of color in our community and build a future for their children. 

Read the full piece here. 

Learn more: 

  • Read more about SFF’s all-in on housing work 
  • Read more about Partnership for the Bay’s Future