Community Land Trusts

What are they?

Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are a method for communities to collectively own and control land and property. By owning the land, the community, rather than private interests, are able to determine how the land will be utilized to serve the community's needs. CLTs limit the re-sale of property that is within their ownership, allowing for permanently affordable homes and retail/office spaces. CLTs are rooted in racial justice, thus are a great tool for reversing decades of racial discrimination in access to housing.

Why we support them

CLTs are well-tested and proven tools for affordability and community control. CLTs have been found to be more resilient during times of instability, like recessions and gentrification. For example, a 2018 Grounded Solutions study, looking at over 4,000 units, in 20 states, over 30 years found that 99% of the units avoided foreclosure. CLTs are operated by and for the community, so they can be great at addressing community issues.

How do they work?

CLTs are non-profit organizations that own land and lease access to the land at affordable and below market prices. CLTs do not treat housing as a commodity or an investment tool, but as a place for people to live, contribute to their community, and use the money at their disposal for other aspects of their life. The make-up of CLT boards are, generally, 1/3 industry professionals, 1/3 community members, and 1/3 lessees on the land.

Our idea (the petition)

We would like to add the land, where the current fire truck repair station is, to the Douglass Community Land Trust. The site would be under the stewardship of the Southwest chapter of the Douglass CLT.

The fire truck repair station is planned to relocate, making the land available for redevelopment. Instead of the government leasing the land for $1, like they did for the Wharf, and the community not getting much in return, we believe the land should be owned and controlled by our community. To make this happen, we'll need to get the support of the community, ANC 6D, Ward 6 Council-member, Charles Allen, and for the council to set aside some money in their budget to help make this happen. To show them that this something the community wants, please sign our petition below.

Background + Additional resources

The first CLT in America was created by civil rights advocates in 1969 to help and protect Black farmers in rural Georgia (link to story). Since then, they have been used in a variety of ways to create community-controlled spaces that offer opportunities for affordable homeownership and affordable space for local and small businesses to operate.

Additional resources: