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July 2023 | “Community Land Trust”

A Community Land Trust (CLT) is a nonprofit organization that acquires and holds land in order to provide affordable housing, preserve community spaces, and promote community development.

July 2023 | “Community Land Trust”

July 2023 | “Community Land Trust”

A Community Land Trust (CLT) is a nonprofit organization that acquires and holds land in order to provide affordable housing, preserve community spaces, and promote community development.

The primary objective of a Community Land Trust is to ensure that land remains permanently affordable and accessible for the benefit of the local community. The CLT acquires land through purchase or donation and maintains ownership of the land while leasing or selling the improvements (such as homes or commercial buildings) on the land to individuals or organizations at affordable rates.

In the case of Richmond, a Community Land Trust could acquire vacant or underutilized land and develop affordable housing units or community facilities. These housing units could be sold or leased to eligible individuals or families at prices that are affordable and remain affordable over the long term. The CLT would typically have mechanisms in place to ensure that affordability is maintained even if the property changes hands in the future.

The CLT model also allows residents or occupants to build equity through a shared appreciation arrangement. When residents decide to sell their homes, the CLT may have the right of first refusal to repurchase the property, ensuring that the housing unit remains affordable for future buyers.

Furthermore, a Community Land Trust often promotes community engagement and participatory decision-making. The CLT may include residents, community stakeholders, and representatives from local organizations on its board, ensuring that decisions regarding land use, development, and affordability are made collectively and reflect the needs and aspirations of the community.

Community Land Trusts have been used as an intermediary to help residents of multi-unit dwellings to form a housing cooperatives, they can purchase vacant lots and develop more affordable housing, they can purchase and renovate derelict homes so they can be resold at an affordable cost and they can also purchase facilities that support important community assets and amenities such as art / cultural centers, museums, youth centers, parks and gardens so these important parts of our community are permanently protected from the pressures of the real estate market and irresponsible development.

By implementing a Community Land Trust in Richmond, the city can address housing affordability challenges, prevent displacement, and promote community stability. It offers an alternative to traditional real estate markets, where prices can skyrocket, making it difficult for low-income individuals and families to find suitable housing options.

It's important to note that the establishment and operation of a Community Land Trust benefits from the collaboration between various stakeholders, including local government, community organizations, and residents. Funding sources, partnerships with developers, and ongoing community governance and support are crucial to the success of a Community Land Trust in Richmond or any other community.

Currently, Richmond Land is the only Community Land Trust operating in Richmond.
*Click here to learn more about Richmond Land: https://www.richmondland.org/

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