CLTs (E-L)

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East Harlem/El Barrio Community Land Trust

The East Harlem/El Barrio Community Land Trust (EHEBCLT) is a collaboration between East Harlem residents, Picture the Homeless (a grassroots activism, nonprofit organization that conducts campaigns to address issues of housing and police brutality among the homeless in New York City), local stakeholders, elected officials, community-land activists and affordable housing developers.

It grew out of a series of studies and workshops conducted between 2009 and 2013 that identified the formation of and laying the ground for a community land trust as a mechanism for addressing the affordable housing issue in East Harlem.

The EHEBCLT is a member of the NYC Community Land Initiative (NYCCLI), an alliance of NYC-based social justice and affordable housing organizations that created the Community Land Trust Learning Exchange.

To date, the EHEBCLT has pursued several approaches for assuming control of city-owned vacant buildings and properties. An early working group identified buildings in New York City’s Tenant Interim Lease program – which provides renters that live in City-owned buildings the opportunity to own those units as a cooperative – and existing New York City Housing Development Fund Corporation co-ops (a special type of limited equity housing cooperative in New York City in which the city is allowed to sell buildings directly to tenant or community groups to provide low-income housing) as good candidates with which to start a CLT.

Group member Picture the Homeless is also negotiating with the administration of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to use the powers of eminent domain to convert existing homeless shelters into permanent affordable housing and to have buildings that were part of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s “cluster sites” program transferred to the community land trust. With the assistance of the NYCCLI they have conducted household surveys to develop profiles of target buildings, which once under the community land trusts’ control would be operated as mutual housing associations.


Fannie Lou Hamer CLT/Cooperation Jackson (Jackson, MS)

Fannie Lou Hamer CLT is a community land trust in Jackson, MS, operated by Cooperation Jackson, a workers’ cooperative established in 2013. Cooperation Jackson’s mission is “to build a solidarity economy anchored by a network of co-operatives and worker-owned, democratically self-managed enterprises and support systems and institutions.”

The CLT is a component of Cooperation Jackson’s Sustainable Communities Initiative, an effort to collectively develop space in ways that sustain existing communities socially, culturally, ecologically and economically. It currently includes more than 40 parcels of once abandoned or vacant properties purchased from the City of Jackson, the State of Mississippi and private owners. A short-term goal is to turn many of those parcels into housing cooperatives developed on a zero-waste “eco village model.”

In the long run, Cooperation Jackson hopes to become an economically self-sustaining community. Much of its current funding comes through donations. In December 2018, Cooperation held a fundraiser in which they raised more than $270,000 to support expansion of the CLT and the launch the Ewing Street Eco-Village Pilot Project.


GES Community Land Trust

The GES Community Land Trust was established in 2017 by the GES Coalition, also known as the Globeville, Elyria-Swansea Coalition Organizing for Health and Housing Justice, a nonprofit, community-run organization based in Denver, CO. It was founded in 2015 by community organizers, community members, and neighborhood community organizations in response to the rapid gentrification in the northeast Denver neighborhoods of Globeville and Elyria-Swansea.

In 2017 the CLT purchased its first three homes, with plans to rehabilitate one and convert the others into duplexes for sale. Proceeds will go toward the purchase of additional properties.

In 2018 the coalition received $2 million in funding from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) after 56 homes and 17 businesses in Globeville and Elyria-Swansea were demolished to make way for the I-70 expansion project. The coalition will use the money for further development of the land trust.


Houston Community Land Trust

The Houston Community Land Trust was established in 2018 by the Houston Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD). It is designated a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO), which gives it the power to acquire and hold land for the benefit of developing and preserving long-term affordable housing in the municipality or county. That designation, which was established by Texas Local Government Code Chapter 373B for the support of CLTs, also allows the Houston CLT to apply for priority funding from the federal government. The HCDD initially intends to fund the Houston CLT with money from $1.15 billion in federal funds that were allocated to Houston for affordable housing following Hurricane Harvey. CHDO designation also qualifies the Houston CLT for CHDO-specific property tax exemptions in Texas.

The Houston CLT grew out of an effort by residents of Houston’s Second Ward, working with local politicians and non-profit organizations to develop a Second Ward Complete Communities Plan. That plan was inspired by the Fair Housing and Neighborhood Rights campaign conducted by the Texas Housers, a Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, and the Texas Organizing Project (TOP).

That campaign resulted in the May 2016 community-based Sunnyside Plan, which emphasized the rights of low-income, minority neighborhoods to: choose where residents live without being subjected to discrimination; stay in their neighborhoods after they had been revitalized; equal treatment at all governmental levels; and have a say in the plans that are proposed in their community.

The plan called for the creation of community land trusts to help address the needs of those low-income communities, originally through Houston’s Land Assemblage Redevelopment Authority (LARA) program, now the Houston Land Bank (HLB) – which was created in 1995 to support the acquisition of vacant properties in Houston’s third and fifth ward to be developed and maintained by local, city or regional organizations.

The HCDD expects to oversee the Houston CLT until it has obtained a critical mass of properties for the CLT’s portfolio, when it will transfer oversight to a community tripartite committee.

In order to help the CLT try to keep some homes permanently affordable, they are choosing lots that are within the City’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZ).

As of April 2019, HLB/LARA had a temporary hold on all lots in its inventory for the use of the Houston CLT. Once the Houston CLT legally changes hands from the city to the CLT committee, HLB/LARA will release hold on all lots.


Lawrenceville Community Land Trust

The Lawrenceville CLT is a seven-unit community land trust in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood. It is operated by the Lawrenceville Corporation, a non-profit community development corporation that is an offshoot of Lawrenceville United, a “resident-driven non-profit organization that works to improve and protect the quality of life for all Lawrenceville residents.”

In 2015 Lawrenceville Corporation was awarded a $15,000 grant by The Heinz Endowments to study the feasibility of creating a land trust, and to expand the capacity of neighborhood organizations looking to implement the CLT model.

In 2017, Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority, provided $674, 620 through the For-Sale Development Program of its Housing Opportunity Fund for the development of the clt’s first units – six new modular homes and one renovation – in 2017-2018.

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