Power to the People: Community Land trusts & Civil Rights Recap

Written by Vaughn Perry

On March 29th, we hosted our second public forum to create a Community Land Trust (CLT), a partnership with City First Enterprises, at the Anacostia Playhouse. During the event, representatives from JP Morgan Chase announced a generous $250,000 grant to support the CLT. A standing room only crowd watched a screening of “The Arc of Justice” which documents the birth of CLTs during the Civil Rights Movement. The audience then participated in a thoughtful discussion with experts and local stakeholders.

See below responses to questions submitted by the audience:

How does a Community Land Trust (CLT) acquire property?

  • There are several ways CLTs acquire property which include:
  • Land or buildings owned by the city may be transferred directly to a CLT
  • A CLT may receive properties through private donations
  • Market rate purchases

How will the Bridge Park CLT be governed?

We envision having a board that is comprised of representatives from the community, community land trust residents, housing experts, government and non-profit representatives.

Bridge Park and City First Enterprises are assembling a CLT advisory committee to: help shape community outreach efforts; determine emphasis on home ownership / rental / commercial properties; and provide counsel on the acquisition process.

What are some benefits of CLTs?

The CLT model has six primary benefits to the community it serves:
1. Stewardship: As a “steward” of the land, the CLT preserves affordability for future homeowners.
2. Mobility: The CLT model provides an additional rung on the housing continuum ladder for low-income households interested in homeownership opportunities.
3. Security: The CLT model supports homeowners after they purchase a home by intervening to cure defaults on property taxes and mortgages
4. Stability: The CLT can direct investments in neighborhoods undergoing revitalization efforts
5. Flexibility: The CLT abandons a one-size-fits all approach to community development and allows for mixed-use land development and a mix of types of housing in scattered-site projects
6. Frugality: Over time and with an increasing volume of affordable housing units, the CLT can become financially independent.
Source: https://www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/about/conplan/foreclosure/pdf/austincommtrust.pd

How can individuals/non-profits become involved?

We are currently working with a number of non-profits as we explore the formation of a CLT.  We welcome your thoughts – please share potential partners with the 11th Street Bridge Park Equitable Development Manager Vaughn Perry at: vaughn@bridgepark.org.

As a resident, there are a couple of ways you can help:

  • Be an advocate for the CLT efforts with your neighbors and city officials.
  • Bring a friend to future CLT events!