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The classic Community Land Trust (CLT) is a non-profit organization governed by a board composed of CLT homeowners, community residents, and public representatives, that provides long-term community assets and shared-equity homeownership opportunities for families and communities.

For example, they develop urban agricultural projects, commercial spaces to serve communities, affordable rental and homeownership housing projects, and conserve land and urban green spaces. However, the heart and soul of a Community Land Trust is the creation, maintenance, and continuing stewardship of homes that remain permanently affordable to lower-income people, and thereby providing wealth-building and successful homeownership opportunities for generations of lower- income families.

Video courtesy of Grounded Solutions Network, the premier national organization that supports best practices for racial equity, inclusion, and economic justice in shared equity homeownership programs among community land trust practitioners.


The way a CLT works is that the non-profit corporation owns the land, while the homeowner owns the home situated on the land. This arrangement is called shared-equity homeownership.

In this arrangement, the homeowner pays the home mortgage and pays the CLT a monthly leasing fee for the land. In exchange, the CLT engages in a long-term relationship with the homeowner, so that if the homeowner should become ill, unemployed or otherwise have trouble keeping up payments, the CLT can use some of the lease payment money to help the homeowner keep the home and get back on her or his feet.

One key feature of a CLT is that the homes it sells are priced lower initially than market prices for comparable homes; and they are resold at a lower price over and over again. In other words, CLT homes have lasting affordability, not just for the first buyer, but for every buyer thereafter. Another key feature of a CLT home is that it is backed by the CLT’s Stewardship of the structures, Stewardship of the owners, and Stewardship of the public and philanthropic subsidies that allow lower-income residents to buy their homes in the first place.


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