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Baltimore Housing Roundtable
The Baltimore Housing Roundtable (BHR) is a coalition of community and housing organizations working to promote a new model of non-speculative housing and community development that includes public, non-profit shared equity and limited-equity programs “controlled by residents & the communities in which they reside.”
In 2017 then-candidate for Baltimore mayor Catharine Pugh voiced support for the BHR’s 20/20 Vision campaign to provide $20 million in annual municipal bonds for projects to support four local community land trusts and provide other forms of permanently affordable housing, and $20 million in annual bonds for vacant housing renovation or demolition and creating public green space. After being elected Pugh backed off that commitment, before agreeing to a revised plan in August of 2018.
According to that agreement, the city promised to excise transfer and recording taxes on real estate transactions exceeding $1 million to fund a $20 million trust for the creation, rehabilitation and preservation of more than 4,100 affordable housing units over the next 10 years. The agreement also calls for annual allocations of $2 million to $7 million between 2020 and 2023 to the trust.
Caño Martín Peña Fideicomiso
Caño Martín Peña Fideicomiso is a community land trust that emerged out of an effort by squatters to gain legal rights to land in informal communities along the Caño Martín Peña, a flood-prone, heavily polluted channel that runs through San Juan, Puerto Rico.
By the turn of the last century, residents had established more than 5,000 informal homes in eight distinct communities along the channel. As the population grew, the channel field with debris leading to frequent flooding. The government proposed to dredge the waterway and drain the land, but residents, concerned that improvements would lead to rising land values and their potential displacement, organized to press for their rights and joined with ENLACE, a government corporation, to explore establishing a community land trust. In 2004, following dozens of public input sessions, the government released a comprehensive development and land use plan that included transferring land title to the communities.
The communities, which by then had formed the non-profit Grupo de las Ocho Communidaes Aledañas al Caño Martín Peña, or G8, to represent their interests, and ENLACE initially encouraged the government to temporarily transfer ownership to ENLACE while the CLT was being established.
In 2009, the CLT formed a governing board comprised of residents, professional and technical advisors and representatives of ENLACE, the government of Puerto Rico and the city of San Juan. Soon thereafter, ENLACE transferred 200 acres of land to the CLT.
The same year, however, the mayor of San Juan passed legislation that transferred the land back to the municipality, with the intention of making available for sale. Community protestors, backed by professionals, students, members of the media and social justice advocates protested, arguing that the CLT model was the best option for both the communities and San Juan as a whole.
In August 2013, the legislation was revoked and the land transferred back to CLT control.
In 2015 Caño Martín Peña Fideicomiso was named a winner of the World Habitat Award for “innovative, outstanding and sometimes revolutionary housing ideas, projects and programmes [SIC] from across the world.”
Cooper Square Community Land Trust
The Cooper Square Community Land Trust was created in 1991, however it’s foundations date to 1959 when Robert Moses proposed leveling an 11-block area of New York City’s Lower East Side to make room for new union-sponsored co-operative housing and the Cooper Square Committee (CSC) – a coalition of local residents and businesses – organized to oppose the project. In 1961, the CSC completed its own plan for the area. That plan, which included the preservation of existing housing and the development of new affordable housing, was accepted by the City. Its first project, using federal Section 8 funds, was completed in 1984. In 1991, at the same time the Cooper Square CLT was established, the CSC created the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association to manage 303 multi-family units and 23 commercial spaces in 19 buildings.
Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation was founded by local residents and merchants in 1983. Although it is not a community land trust, its mission and strategies – to build strong, sustainable communities and create affordable housing in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Cypress Hills and East New York – mirror those of many CLTs.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, many building owners in those predominately low-income communities abandoned their apartment buildings. The community, realizing that with no one to maintain the properties there was an increase of criminal activity, appealed to the City of New York, which assumed ownership. CHLDC was able to purchase the properties from the city for the $1 as long as they were going to use the properties for affordable housing. CHCDC obtained Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) through The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the National Equity Fund, a nonprofit based in Chicago associated with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and a leading syndicator of LIHTC.
CHCDC has turned to additional sources of government funding for the rehabilitation of properties in its portfolio, which is an essential step in applying for LIHTCs. These include the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Multifamily Performance Program and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly and Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) Programs.
Dudley Neighbors Inc.
Dudley Neighbors, Inc. (DNI) is a community land trust created by the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), a nonprofit, community-based planning and organizing effort founded in 1984 in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood. DNI was launched in 1988 to “implement and develop” DSNI’s resident-drafted comprehensive master plan for revitalization of the neighborhood. That plan was adopted by the City of Boston, which also recognized DSNI as a private urban redevelopment organization per Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 121A and granted it powers of eminent domain over much of the privately owned vacant land in a 62-acre parcel known as the “Dudley Triangle.”
DSNI was the first, and is still the only, community organization to be granted the powers of eminent domain.
Today, 30 acres of land are under DNI’s control, including more than 400 total homes, 226 new affordable homes, a 10,000-square-foot community greenhouse built in 2004, a playground, community gardens and a 1.5-acre urban farm that is leased to Boston’s Urban Farming Institute and The Food Project.
Funding for much of DNI’s development has come from numerous public and private sources, including a $2 million grant from the Ford Foundation for the purchase of vacant land in 1992, a multi-year Rebuilding Communities Initiative (RCI) grant from the Casey Foundation in 1993 and a 2010 US Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods planning grant.
Funds for DNI’s development and growth are also generated through an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) education and tax assistance campaign launched by DSNI in 1988.
Durham Community Land Trustees
Durham Community Land Trustees (DCLT) was created in 1987 by local residents seeking affordable and better housing conditions. That year, voters in Durham passed a housing bond referendum, creating a city fund that specifically provided for low-income housing and preventing displacement, and the organization used a fund loan to purchase its first property. DCLT “works to manage, sell, and renovate homes and rentals” using the community land trust model. It currently owns 281 properties, including 130, or one quarter, of the homes in Durham’s West End neighborhood.
DCLT is a also member of the West End Collaborative – an effort founded in 2005 and funded by Duke University and a Neighborhood Stabilization Grant from the City of Durham – to land bank more than 100 parcels for future development by Self-Help Credit Union, Habitat for Humanity and DCLT.
In acquiring its portfolio, the CLT has also used funds provided by the City of Durham through the community development block grant program of Title 1 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.
In 1992 Durham was designated a Department of Housing and Urban Development Entitlement City, making it eligible to receive those funds “to cultivate communities by supplying housing and adequate living for residents.”
DCLT has also used loans from the Institute for Community Economics Revolving Loan Fund and the North Carolina Community Development Initiative to build its portfolio.