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WTF is a CLT? A Training by Picture the Homeless.

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Presentation on theme: "WTF is a CLT? A Training by Picture the Homeless."— Presentation transcript:

1 WTF is a CLT? A Training by Picture the Homeless

2 2 Why Community Land Trusts? Several years ago, members of Picture the Homeless identified CLT's as a solution to lack of housing permanently affordable to the extremely poor, and we began to work toward creating one here in New York. NYC has thousands of vacant properties, both vacant land and vacant buildings, and our Housing Not Warehousing Campaign has been working to inventory vacant properties and develop a plan for their use.

3 3 Why Community Land Trusts? New York City has several of the nation's leading Community Land Trusts. Housing Campaign Leaders at Picture the Homeless first met with folks from the Cooper Square Community Land Trust in 2004, and they've provided a great deal of guidance to us as we develop our own cooperative models for housing development. As our members continue to homestead vacant property, we are laying the groundwork for a Homeless People's Community Land Trust.

4 4 Our Goals We've created a workgroup that includes Tom Angotti of Hunter College and Peter Marcuse of Columbia University, as well as folks from UHAB, the Cooper Square CLT, housing advocacy groups, and not for profit housing developers. In 2011, we co-taught a class at City College of New York on “Land and Housing,” focusing on Community Land Trusts. In 2012, as an extension of that class, CCNY & PTH are mounting an exhaustive survey of every Community Land Trust in the country to assess which ones provide housing for the homeless and how the model can be expanded to include new models of housing acquisition—including homesteading.

5 5 CLT History The Community Land Trust (CLT) model of affordable housing was born out of a search for a creative and innovative way to address the housing problem at the time. The first CLT in the USA, New Communities, Inc. was established in 1968 in rural Georgia. The roots of the CLT model in the US can be traced back to several thinkers including Henry George, Ebenezer Howard, Arthur Morgan, and Ralph Borsodi and social movements in the US and abroad such as the land and village-gift movement associated with India’s freedom against colonial rule. Nearly 190 CLTs are known to have existed or still be existing in the United States.

6 6 How do they work? 1. The CLT model removes the cost of land from the housing price by having the land and the housing owned by separate entities. 2. A private, nonprofit corporation acquires land parcels in a targeted geographic area with the intention of retaining ownership of the land for the long term. 3. The non-profit organization then provides for the private use of the land through long-term ground lease agreements. 4. The leaseholders may own their homes or make other improvements on the leased land, but resale restrictions apply.... THESE RESTRICTIONS PREVENT SPECULATION. 5. In the CLT model, the rights, responsibilities and benefits of the residential property are shared between individual homeowners and the non-profit corporation which represents the interests of its leaseholders and a larger community.

7 7 How do they work? Bottom Line: The community land trust owns the land, and leases it for affordable housing. The deed, the lease for construction on the land, the CLT by-laws, and any residential leases all require that the housing be permanently affordable. The land can never be traded or sold to the highest bidder on the private market.

8 8 How do they work? Over the course of the last 30 years, tens of thousands of low-income housing cooperatives have been lost because tenants got bought off or sold out by their boards. How do CLTs prevent this problem? TRIPARTITE GOVERNANCE! The board of the CLT is made up of three groups of stakeholders: 1. Tenant/Leaseholder Representatives 2. Neighborhood Representatives 3. “Experts” and Community Leaders Because power is shared between these three groups, a set of checks and balances prevents speculation by making it extremely difficult for tenants to flip or sell their homes.

9 9 How Do They Work?—THE $$$!! Money is the big problem when it comes to building support for developing housing—politicians say it's too expensive to create and maintain housing for low-income people. Mixed Income (a real mix of incomes, not that 80/20 BS we do in NYC!) Commercial Space (higher rents on commercial tenants help subsidize low residential rents—while also offering cheap commercial rent for neighborhood- based small businesses) Non-Profit Status

10 10 How Do They Work?—THE $$$!! Most common revenue sources: Federal Funds, Private Foundations, Local Government, Individual Donors and CLT member dues, Income from investments, intermediaries, grants from private businesses, State government, other charities.

11 11 Breaking Down the Details: Some Facts & Figures The majority (70%) of CLTs do not focus on a single neighborhood but serve multiple neighborhoods, the city as a whole, the county, or even multiple counties and serve low and moderate income residents in the larger geographic region. The duration of CLT’s ground lease range from 20 to 99 years, with 99 years being the most frequently used (95%) term. Ground leases are renewable. 59% of CLT units are rehabilitated, while 41% are new construction. 95% of the responding organizations have units for homeownership, 45% of responding organizations reported that they also have rental units in their housing portfolio. 80% have less than 100 units including both homeownership and rental. [Source: Lincoln Institute National Study]

12 12 Talking Points: How do you sell a CLT? 1. Community Land Trusts are a proven mechanism for communities to control their land and housing forever, without fear of external or internal threats. 2. CLTs do not depend on government handouts! They can't be slashed after the next election, or vetoed during state budget negotiations. 3. Every CLT is different. The model provides flexibility for many approaches— including consolidating homesteaded or “occupied” homes into a collective, collaborative system of self-help housing. 4. CLTs are PART OF THE SOLUTION—they're not the whole solution. Right now they're a missing piece of the public discourse on the housing crisis, a radical new approach that recognizes housing and self-determination as human rights, and inextricably linked. 5. CLTs can define “affordability” however they want—they're not forced to follow the government's bogus AMI-based guidelines for affordable housing.

13 13 Talking Points: How do you sell a CLT? 6. We need fresh ideas, not the same old arguments about government subsidies, or individual-based non-systemic solutions like principal re-negotiations. 7. We're in a crisis. Nationally, the inventory of foreclosed and distressed properties has reached astronomical proportions. CLTs can take title to the land and lease these buildings to the appropriate entity without displacing residents if they are inhabited, and creating new low-income housing if they're not. 8. CLTs can provide a path to legalized and secure homesteading. Banks or investors who own foreclosed or vacant buildings that are being “occupied” can be pressured to “gift” those properties to a CLT, or to sell it at a much lower price that local government can be pressured to pay, and the CLT can lease the building(s) to a tenant’s association or limited-equity coop run by residents. Homeowners and tenants facing eviction because they cannot afford even a re-structured mortgage can be protected by title transferred to a CLT.

14 14 What Else?? This training is a work in progress, like all of our CLT work. There are a lot of missing pieces here, and if our organizations are going to be able to use these tools we need to be refining and developing them together. So we welcome: Questions? Additions, Subtractions? Critiques? Etc?

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