Community Land Trusts: A Promising Tool for Expanding and Protecting Affordable Housing

Michela Zonta

This new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) acknowledges the importance and potential of community land trusts (CLTs) to build wealth, stabilize communities, and preserve affordable housing. It outlines the characteristics of shared equity models and provides site acquisition strategies for CLTs. The author makes policy recommendations to restore funding for affordable housing and community development programs, broaden CLT’s access to the secondary market and FHA-backed mortgages, and increase lenders’ comfort with the model:

Seven years after its onset, communities across the country are still grappling with the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis: More than 6 million homeowners are still underwater, and local governments are faced with the plague of vacant and abandoned properties and the loss of assets in many neighborhoods. Furthermore, difficulty qualifying for mortgage loans has contributed to an increased demand for rental units, which has resulted in escalating rents in a market already characterized by a shortage of affordable rental housing. Housing affordability is a pervasive problem among renters and owners. About 39 million households spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing expenses and nearly 18 million are severely burdened, paying more than 50 percent... Read full report.

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