The Transformative Potential of Community Land Trusts


From a September 29 article in Nonprofit Quarterly by Peter Sabonis, Human Rights Development Program Director at Partners for Dignity & Rights.

Our country has been struggling with an affordable housing crisis for decades. Simply put, there is not enough housing, and what is available is too expensive for those with limited means. However, there’s an up-and-coming player in the affordable housing world that offers the potential to transform it: community land trusts (CLTs).

CLTs—community-controlled rental, cooperative, and homeownership housing on community-owned land—are being created across the country. They combine democracy and equity so that residents have a say in governance and are assured permanent affordability and stability. When household financial challenges arise, residents do not need to battle an uncaring government bureaucracy or fight a profit-motivated private landlord.

Earlier this year, in a report and toolkit titled Creating Community Controlled, Deeply Affordable Housing, which I coauthored with Zachary Murray of Up South/Down South of Atlanta, we noted that “highly motivated CLTs are leading the way in forging new paths to deep affordability, and also working to create new policies to support it, primarily on the state and local level,” and profiled case study examples in California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

Read the full article at Nonprofit Quarterly.