A Win-Win Formula

A community land trust (CLT) is a nonprofit organization formed to hold title to land to preserve its long-term availability for affordable housing or other community uses. Typically structured as a community-based, open-membership organization with a broadly representative board of directors, a land trust receives public or private donations of land or uses government subsidies to purchase land on which housing can be built. The homes are sold to lower-income families, but the CLT retains ownership of the land, entering into a long-term lease with the homebuyer. The CLT also retains a long-term option to repurchase the home at a below-market price, should the homeowner decide to move. Ownership of the land, along with the imposition of durable affordability controls over the resale of any housing located on its land, allows the CLT to ensure that homes will remain available for lower-income homebuyers for generations to come. CLTs can play a similar role in preserving the affordability of rental housing, limited equity co-ops and condominiums and even commercial property.

Shelterforce is the only independent, non-academic publication covering the worlds of community development, affordable housing, and neighborhood stabilization.


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