An Analysis of the Opportunity to Purchase Act in East Palo Alto

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This report analyzes the impacts of an "Opportunity to Purchase Act" (OPA) in East Palo
Alto on creating pathways for low-income renters to become homeowners and mitigating
displacement of long-term residents. Additionally, the report addresses the regional
feasibility of OPA policies.
As the Bay Area housing crisis continues to impact affordability, we assessed four
specific policy options (keeping the status quo, a “full OPA with Right of First Refusal”, an
OPA without Right of First Refusal, and an OPA with restricted eligibility) along five
evaluative criteria. These criteria were: the number of renters able to afford their homes
in the housing market in EPA; the equity impacts for low-income renters and POC renters;
the amount of "spillover" needed to nullify the policy’s positive impacts; and political
We found the OPA to be lackluster in facilitating low-income renter homeownership;
instead, it primarily assisted upper-income renters in purchasing homes. We also
determined it to be extremely difficult to pass the most efficacious form of OPA (the “full”
one with Right of First Refusal) in East Palo Alto, but find other cities in the region to be
more receptive.
Ultimately, we recommend more research into the economic and equity impacts of
various forms of OPA and its helpfulness for establishing tenants’ rights. Based on our
findings from interviews and background research, we also recommend an
implementation process for future OPA initiatives that emphasizes public participation,
takes into account community concerns, and prioritizes the combating of misinformation.


Type of resource text
Publication date September 8, 2022


Author Kethanaboyina, Pranavi
Author Khuu, Isabella
Author Sarin, Parth
Author Stojanovic, Mara
Advisor Ouyang, Derek
Department Public Policy Program


Subject Public Policy
Subject Undergraduate Capstone
Genre Text
Genre Capstone
Genre Student project report

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY).

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Kethanaboyina, P., Khuu, I., Sarin, P., and Stojanovic, M. (2022). An Analysis of the Opportunity to Purchase Act in East Palo Alto. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at


Stanford University, Public Policy Program, Undergraduate Honors Theses and Practicum Projects

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