Community Land Trusts (CLTs)

Collecting Ourselves

Kris Olsen

The curriculum walks participants through an examination of the philosophy and practice of cooperation, the meaning of "development" and "entrepreneurship" in their lives, the steps required in starting a cooperative business, and an exploration of two of the most important steps - organizing people into a Steering Committee, and creating a Business Plan. All activities use Popular Education methods, drawing directly on the expertise and insight of participants to guide the learning more 

Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative

The Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative (ALTC) incubates and supports the development and operation of permanently affordable housing initiatives by independent CLTs across Atlanta.  ALTC works to create a positive climate for CLT development through public policy work, community engagement, and fundraising, while taking on the stewardship function of a CLT in neighborhoods lacking the capacity to do so.  Its work is credited with developing 13 CLT units and generating more than $4 million in funding to support CLT development.  Through partnerships, it also helped acquire more than 30 properties for permanently affordable housing and developed a mortgage project to facilitate the CLT process.

Origins and Evolution of the Community Land Trust in the United States

John Emmeus Davis

The story told here of the CLT’s origins and evolution will sort the model’s distinguishing characteristics into three clusters – ownership, organization, and operation – and then say how each of them came to be added to the definition and structure of the CLT over time. The reality was much messier, of course, with ideas and influences often leapfrogging the narrative boundaries between eras. History seldom unfolds as neatly in the living as it does in the telling. 

Do Inclusionary Housing Policies Promote Housing Affordability? Evidence from the Palmer Decision in California

Ann Hollingshead

Many cities have responded to rising affordability challenges with inclusionary housing policies, where a municipality requires or incentivizes a developer building a new development to contribute affordable housing units or pay a fee. While the aim of these policies is to promote housing affordability, some critics have raised concerns about their potential unintended market consequences. Specifically, to the extent that inclusionary housing policies create opportunity costs for developers and function like a tax on housing supply, they may stifle housing production and increase the price of market-rate units, reducing overall affordability. However, inclusionary policies may also increase the supply of affordable housing, which would place downward pressure on prices. This paper examines these relationships using the 2009 ruling by California’s Second District of Appeal, Palmer/Sixth Street Properties LP v. City of Los Angeles, which substantially weakened inclusionary housing policies in the rental market. This analysis fails to find evidence that weakening an inclusionary policy is associated with a decrease in the rental price of high-cost housing units. Meanwhile, these results also suggest that inclusionary housing policies pre-Palmer, in general, did promote housing affordability in the low-cost market. 

Community Land Trusts: A Promising Tool for Expanding and Protecting Affordable Housing

Michela Zonta
Center for American Progress

This new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) acknowledges the importance and potential of community land trusts (CLTs) to build wealth, stabilize communities, and preserve affordable housing. It outlines the characteristics of shared equity models and provides site acquisition strategies for CLTs. The author makes policy recommendations to restore funding for affordable housing and community development programs, broaden CLT’s access to the secondary market and FHA-backed mortgages, and increase lenders’ comfort with the model:

Madison Area Community Land Trust (MACLT)

Founded in 1991, the Madison Area Community Land Trust (MACLT) seeks to ensure permanently affordable housing for lower-income first-time homebuyers in the Madison area.  In 2011, it became affiliated with Common Wealth, which now provides staff to the land trust.  MACLT has developed three neighborhoods, including Troy Gardens, a 31-acre project that includes community gardens, a CSA farm, a restored prairie, and 30 homes.  The other land trust neighborhoods are Camino del Sol, which features Energy Star and Green Built Home- certified homes, and Anniversary Court, which encompasses a mul Read more about Madison Area Community Land Trust (MACLT)...

A St. Louis organization goes above and beyond providing homes for communities

An interview with Chris Krehmeyer, President and CEO of St. Louis' Beyond Housing

The killing of Michael Brown by a police officer in Fergsuon, Missouri, and the subsequent wave of protests illuminated for a national public the deep racial inequities in greater St. Louis. We sat down with Chris Krehmeyer, head of Beyond Housing, a local community development corporation founded in 1975, to learn about how they've been building a comprehensive approach blending affordable housing, community land trusts, public health, and business development aimed at changing the systems that perperuate disinvestment in African-American communities in the St. Read more about A St. Louis organization goes above and beyond providing homes for communities...

Essex Community Land Trust

In response to the need for permanent, affordable housing in Essex County, a group of community leaders created the Essex Community Land Trust in 2011.  The CLT now focuses on acquiring land/housing, partnering with community developers to build or renovate housing, identifying low- to moderate-income individuals interested in homeownership, assisting organizations providing homeownership education, and helping buyers get mortgages.  In 2014, it sold its first home, redeveloped 3 vacant two-family homes, and provided financial and homeownership education to over 50 low- to moderate-income people.

Key Facts & Figures: Community Land Trusts

Infographic representing the key facts and figures of community land trusts (CLTs).

Community land trusts (CLTs) are nonprofit, community-based organizations that help create permanently affordable housing, build equity, and reduce the displacement that can accompany rapidly rising or falling property values. CLTs are a key strategy for helping low-income communities build assets through home ownership while mitigating the destructive consequences of speculation and large fluctuations in housing markets. For more information on CLTs, please visit: Read more about Key Facts & Figures: Community Land Trusts...

Community Land Trusts and Rural Housing

Housing Assistance Council

Published in 1993, this study, although somewhat dated, provides a very useful overview of the community land trust model as well as containing four case studies.

Building the Case for Racial Equity in the Food System

Anthony Giancatarino and Simran Noor
The Center for Social Inclusion

This report from The Center for Social Inclusion examines the effects of housing, school, land, and wage policies on access to healthy food in communities of color. It offers recommendations to surmount these challenges, such as investing in cooperatively owned food enterprises and leveraging dollars from the Affordable Care Act’s community benefit requirements for nonprofit hospitals. The report also includes several reference guides to help community groups identify and confront the particular institutions, policies, and practices that promote structural racial inequity in their food systems.