Tenant and Community Opportunity to Purchase Policies are Gaining Traction

As the global pandemic continues to worsen pre-existing housing inequities and threaten communities across the nation, many low-income people and Black, Indigenous, and people of color are struggling to stay afloat amidst rising rents and evictions. Data from the National Equity Atlas underscores this crisis and its disproportionate impacts —  23 million households are both housing insecure and economically insecure, and they are overwhelmingly people of color who face the additional burdens of structural racism.  One crucial solution to prevent displacement, increase housing security, and increase our stock of affordable homes over the long term is to convert existing rentals into permanently affordable, community-owned rental housing.

Strategies that allow communities to take control of land and housing through equitable acquisition are growing in popularity as a means of locking in affordability and stabilizing neighborhoods. Tenant and community opportunity to purchase policies (TOPA/COPA) are an emerging set of anti-displacement policies and tools that can be used to permanently preserve affordable housing stock and remove land from the speculative real estate market — providing an opportunity for long-time residents to stay in their neighborhood and purchase their homes. These policies put current renters and community-based organizations first in line to make an offer on a property when it goes up for sale, and may provide financing and technical assistance to make tenant/community ownership possible. 

We are tracking TOPA/COPA policies and campaigns across the country in real-time and maintain a policy database with key information about these efforts. We have developed a tool that provides a scan of current and prospective campaigns and policies across the nation to track and maintain key information about TOPA/COPA campaigns and policies. Refer to the map below to see where such campaigns and ordinances are advancing. 

As local and state governments across the country explore this new policy, PolicyLink is having conversations with community partners advancing or seeking to advance TOPA/COPA policies in their communities on how we can best support the field. If you are interested in learning more about the policy scan or you are leading a TOPA/COPA campaign and would like to add it to the map, please fill out this form.