Our take on the state of the region

A new tool to preserve affordable housing

Author: Ellen Wu

We are excited to share with you a new resource to help prevent displacement and housing insecurity in the Bay Area and beyond – Building a Community-Centered Housing Preservation Ecosystem.

Our region’s housing crisis has been devastating for low-income communities of color: displacing working class and poor families and shedding our region of its diversity, vibrancy, and equity of opportunity.

As one of Urban Habitat’s strategic responses, we have identified best practices for stabilizing existing unsubsidized affordable housing and making it permanently affordable. Together with Ground Works Consulting, we produced this roadmap for community practitioners and advocates, consisting of two parts:

  1. A detailed outline of the elements of a community-centered housing preservation ecosystem
  2. A worksheet practitioners can use to identify strengths to build upon and gaps to fill

Our ecosystem approach is an antidote to the piecemeal progress we have seen for far too long that results in a couple of important projects, but insufficient attention to the full range of elements needed to build a high-functioning preservation system. It’s a comprehensive, interconnected framework that meets the demands of our region and stabilizes low-income communities of color in a way that centers community self-determination.

The five interdependent elements of the ecosystem are:

  1. Tenant Organizing, Outreach, and Education
  2. Policy, Programs, and Data
  3. Community-Centered Housing Preservation Organizations
  4. Financing/Funding Resources
  5. Backend, Organizational, and Other Support

The great news is that powerful community-centered housing models already exist: community land trusts, co-ops, and more. Unfortunately, they have been limited in their growth and visibility due to a lack of funding and the necessary infrastructure.

We invite you to join us in using this new strategic roadmap to address historical gaps and build a robust community-centered housing preservation ecosystem here in the Bay Area. The time is now.