Community land trusts are private, non-profit corporations that provide communities with safe, affordable housing for the long-term.
The community land trust model is a mechanism to provide affordable housing through land leasing and homeownership. There are approximately 160 community land trusts operating throughout the United States. These land trusts are typically a non-profit, community-based organization whose primary mission is to create and maintain a stock of affordable housing.
In most CLT models, the non-profit corporation acquires land parcels with the intention of long-term ownership. The non-profit organization then provides for the private use of the land through long-term, renewable lease agreements. The leaseholders are able to own the improvements on the land (typically a home) but face resale restrictions. Oftentimes, the lease agreement will require the property to be resold to the CLT or to an another low-income household.
This model is unique because the responsibilities and benefits of the property are shared between the homeowners and the non-profit community trust organization which represents the interests of the community. This system can reduce the risks of homeownership and ensure positive use of land in a neighborhood.
The Champlain Housing Trust is the largest community land trust in the country, with over 2,000 household members in rental apartments, co-ops, and single-family homes.
The Institute for Community Economics has more information on Community Land Trusts and links to even more resources. The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy maintains a collection of in-depth research on the impacts of community land trusts.