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This year, we’ve reformed the Index to focus on unhoused youth and young adults (YYA), aligning it with their experiences and policy needs. Shifting from harm reduction to transformative change, some jurisdictions may see lower scores than before. This is a deliberate strategy, not a setback. Lower scores should motivate, not discourage, jurisdictions. They present an opportunity to adopt policies that effectively tackle and prevent youth homelessness, fostering meaningful progress.

Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act

  • Maintaining housing
  • Shifting power

The jurisdiction has a Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act or similar law/program

Tenant Opportunity to Purchase laws, also known as TOPA laws, give tenants the right to purchase the property they are renting before the landlord can sell it to someone else. These laws are designed to protect tenants from being displaced from their homes due to a sale of the property.

Key Metric Score Type of Policy Description
2.0 Transformative High Score
1.5 Transformative Edge Medium Score
1.0 Reform Fair Score
0.5 Harm Reduction Low Score
0.0 Status Quo Status Quo
-0.5 Harmful Negative Score
-1.0 Violent Negative Score
N/A No Data No Data

Cite: National Homelessness Law Center and True Colors United. "State Index on Youth Homelessness, Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act" https://youthstateindex.com/maps/tenant-opportunity-to-purchase-act/. Accessed: February 24, 2024.

Shifting power

Shifting power in housing refers to a change in the dynamics of control and decision-making regarding housing. Historically, power in housing has been concentrated in the hands of wealthy individuals and corporations, leaving marginalized communities with limited say in the development and management of their homes and neighborhoods. However, there has been a growing movement towards shifting power towards these communities, with a focus on community-led development, tenant rights, and affordable housing.

Shifting power in housing can also help us move towards the decommodification of housing, which is when housing is treated primarily as a place to live rather than a financial asset or means of accumulating profit. There are a few types of decommodified housing, such as public or social housing (housing owned by governments or other public entities) or shared equity housing (housing owned by a group of residents, community members, or community organizations). But decommodified housing today constitutes less than 1 percent of US housing stock. The Index tracks a few policies that jurisdictions can enact to support shared equity models but action is needed on the federal level to reinvest in public housing and to support efforts like a Homes Guarantee.

“Autonomy in housing choice – I think about subsidized housing and what I had to give up to access it. Privacy was lacking when accessing certain things, like refrigerators had to be looked in. Over policing in these spaces removes privacy and autonomy and the impact on mental health in spaces that lack autonomy and privacy is devastating. Constantly looking for notices, constantly anxious about conditions of housing and maintenance checks. This causes stress and anxiety with my son, as well. MULTIGENERATIONAL stresses, constantly on the defense. Housing should preserve dignity and respect.” – Tiffany S. Haynes

Maintaining housing

Maintaining housing or “security of tenure” is an essential part of the right to housing. This principle ensures that individuals and families have a sense of stability and security in knowing that they will not be arbitrarily evicted from their homes. It means that people can establish roots in their communities and have a sense of belonging. Security of tenure also helps to prevent homelessness and displacement, which can have devastating and long-lasting effects. 

“People weaponize their privilege and power. We should identify and call out benign -isms and phobias. Parenting individuals – especially black women – are more likely to be evicted, black men are more likely to be denied housing at the jump. The whole family unit may not be approved for housing – which can lead to issues when those families choose to stay together “breaking the rules” which can result in eviction. Racism and prejudice runs rampant and pushes people into untenable situations.” – Tiffany S. Haynes