This Policy Comes from the Experiences of EPA residents
When the City of EPA adopted the Affordable Housing Strategy for 2019-2023, it included priorities to establish local preference to prevent displacement, to preserve affordable housing, to add capacity for monitoring the city’s affordable housing assets, and to increase the City’s Voice in Housing Advocacy Efforts. Through a rigorous series of community engagement activities, EPA community members helped to co-design the EPA OPA policy. Early input was given by some of the groups affected by displacement representing Black, Latinx, Pacific Islander, Tenant, and Low-Income communities in the city. Since holding several public meetings, the City has also heard from a broader audience from across the entire city and has reshaped the policy to address public concerns in multiple ways. Opportunity to Purchase is designed with EPA residents at heart – to capture public funds and use those resources to invest in a future for EPA where housing is safe, stable, affordable, and accessible for all.
2019: EPA approves the Affordable Housing Strategy, with 10 priority goals and a work plan to accomplish them. Staff identified key guiding values which shape the development of goals and recommended actions:
Empathy: That all EPA residents deserve access to decent, safe, and sanitary housing
Anti-Displacement: The City must provide opportunities for residents to be able to stay in the city
Opportunity and Investment: The City must strategically leverage local resources to achieve a multiplier effect and capture more regional, state, federal, and/or philanthropic resources to bring equitable investment to EPA
Equitable, Integrated, and Diverse Communities: EPA has a history as one of few safe havens for Black, Latinx, Pacific Islander and Low Income Communities, and must remain committed to lead to a more integrated and diverse community
Transparency: The City commits to periodic updates, opportunities for community feedback, and revenue and expenditure reporting so that the public is aware of progress
2019/2020: The City Partners with four Community Organizations including CLSEPA, YUCA, EPACANDO, and PAHALI to add staffing capacity, support, and technical assistance resources for Affordable Housing Preservation through the Partnership for the Bay’s Future Challenge grant. In 2022, the City successfully wins the subsequent Partnership for the Bay’s Future Breakthrough Grant to continue to support the Housing Department and Community Organizations.
2020: Initial research on Opportunity to Purchase Policies began as a way to locate best practices for policy design.
2021: Those first in line at risk of displacement should be first in line to shape anti-displacement policy. Several Community organizations representing Black, Latinx, Pacific Islander, Tenant, and Low Income communities participated in Affinity Group and Focus Group conversations to inform and shape the development of the EPA OPA policy. These groups were chosen for initial outreach because they represent some of the population most affected by rampant displacement – a best practice for equitable policymaking. In ongoing fashion, through both City Council Office Hours and public meetings where comment was welcome, all residents of EPA have had substantial opportunity to give comment and feedback as well so that everyone has been given a chance to contribute.
2021: The City receives support letter from the Community Development Financial Institution known as LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) supporting the approval of EPA OPA and committing to support the ongoing capacity building of partner organizations including community development organizations. This year the city also contracts with David Rosen and Associates to research likely economic impacts of EPA OPA policy at time of research (late 2021), finding that the targeting of the policy is effective, reducing the number of likely qualifying properties to between 12 and 32 per year.
2022: The City conducts further research on Impact and Versions of Right of First Refusal, Alternatives and Best Practices for implementing Affordable Housing Preservation Policy, and New and Emerging Sources of public funding for Affordable Housing Preservation.