About CLTs

Community Land Trusts

Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are nonprofit organizations that combine community ownership of land with private ownership of homes and businesses.  The Saint Joseph Community Land Trust is one of over 150 CLTs across the nation.  CLTs benefit all those who are invested in their community for long-term social gains.

CLTs are a tool for stabilizing housing prices, providing affordable homeownership, and giving community residents a voice in neighborhood development. The community land trust (CLT) concept is based on separate ownership of land from housing. The CLT owns the land under a building, and individual residents own the housing. This ensures the long-term affordability of the housing, because the CLT never sells the land, and the residents are restricted on the resale price of the housing in order to keep it affordable for the next buyer.

Community Ownership of Land

CLT land is managed “for community benefit” by a democratically elected Board of Directors composed of residents and representatives of the larger community. Community control of the land helps stabilize housing prices. All CLT homeowners and tenants have full voting rights in electing their Board.

Making Homeownership Affordable

The CLT makes homeownership affordable by taking the land price out of the cost, and by taking advantage of government subsidies available for permanently affordable projects. This allows the CLT to reach lower income ranges than most first-time homebuyer programs, providing initial support to people who could not otherwise “get in the market.” Another benefit of the CLT is that it provides homeownership education and maintenance assistance to first-time homebuyers.

Keeping Units Affordable for Future Generations

Community Land Trusts ensure that housing will be permanently affordable by using a resale formula that allows homeowners to build equity while keeping homes affordable to the next buyer. While a CLT homeowner can’t speculate on “the open market,” they do get benefits not available to renters, such as the ability to build equity toward their next housing, or the ability to pass the unit on to their children.

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