Resilient Ecosystems


Buy-In Community Planning

Relocating residents of high hazard flood areas and enabling ecosystem restoration projects

Team Lead

Kelly Leilani Main

Solution Pitch

The Problem

In the United States, at least 13 million people and $1 trillion in real estate are at risk of flooding from extreme weather. More than 50 percent of coastal wetlands are threatened due to development and coastal squeeze. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has implemented over 40,000 buyouts, where local officials request money from the state to purchase properties that have either flooded or been determined substantially damaged, but these programs are complicated and take a long time to implement, often taking 5 years or more before payment is received.

The Solution

Buy-In Community Planning aims to improve the well-being of people whose neighborhoods are threatened by natural hazards by assisting them in planning and relocating to safer areas. Buy-In uses geospatial data tools and cross-sector partnerships to match households with the resources they need to relocate, creating more buy-in for the voluntary home buyout process. Facilitating ecosystem restoration projects and helping participants find safe, secure, and equitable rehousing options empowers residents to become leaders in local adaptation initiatives that merge human and ecosystem resilience. 

Buy-In is developing workflow tools to help under-resourced local governments navigate the complexities of federal buyout programs and decision-making tools that help policymakers identify priority areas for equitable adaptation to irreversible climate risks. By leveraging private sector partnerships, Buy-In will help multiple stakeholders meet their social and environmental investment goals while utilizing public resources to maximize impact.

Market Opportunity

Since 1980, the United States has experienced 254 climate and weather disasters causing more than $1.7 trillion in damage. Since 2016, there has been over $183 billion in supplemental appropriations for disaster assistance. In that time, FEMA has funded over 43,000 buyouts at an average of $54,000 per property, totaling over $2.3 billion. By 2045, approximately 314,000 homes and commercial properties worth $136 billion are at risk of chronic inundation. The U.S. Government Accountability Office authorized $2.8 billion in FY22 for projects supporting public land conservation.

Organization Highlights

  • Won ConX Tech Prize, supporting bold ideas and growing interdisciplinary participation in conservation solutions with teams from around the world.

  • Earned a research grant from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and a project grant from Climigration Network and Anthropocene Alliance.

Partnership Goals

Buy-In Community Planning seeks:

  • Partnerships with individuals or organizations who work to simplify real estate transactions, better understand how to utilize various land acquisition methods to maximize the ecological benefit of post-buyout properties, or establish land banks to facilitate re-housing initiatives.

  • BIPOC, women, and LGBTQ+ board members with experience in housing, conservation, and climate adaptation.

  • Business expertise and guidance on the legal and strategic elements of creating a hybrid business model.

  • Partnerships with conservation groups, land trusts, wetland banks, or blue carbon investors to help design and fund large-scale ecosystem restoration and open space projects on the sites that people are leaving.

  • Connections with branding or marketing experts to better develop language used to highlight buyouts and value creation opportunities for the general public.

  • Software developers to help build an integrated voluntary expression of interest survey methodology and data analytics platform.

Solver Team

Organization Type:

United States


Working In:
United States

Current Employees: 
3 part-time

Solution Website:

Solution Team:

  • KM KM
    Kelly Leilani Main Co-founder and Executive Director, Buy-In Community Planning

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