A permanent affordable housing strategy

Today, there are nearly 250 Community Land Trusts (CLTs) across the United States, and NPHS is creating one in the Inland Empire to develop, preserve and protect affordable homeownership.
CLTs are designed to create long-term housing affordability and to ensure community stewardship of land. CLTs can be used for many types of development, including commercial and retail, but are primarily used to ensure long-term homeownership affordability. To do so, the CLT acquires land and maintains ownership of it permanently. With prospective homeowners, it enters into a long-term, renewable lease instead of a traditional sale. When the homeowner sells, the family earns a portion of the increased property value. The remainder is kept by the trust, preserving the affordability for future low- to moderate-income families. A CLT is an innovative way to create homes that remain permanently affordable, providing successful homeownership opportunities for generations of lower income families.
“CLTs provide low-income families with the opportunity to build equity through homeownership,” says NPHS CEO Clemente Mojica.
Home prices and rents continue to rise in the Inland Empire. NPHS is concerned that the infusion of capital that will flow to low-income communities through Opportunity Zones Funds, may accelerate home prices and increase rents.
“When researching CLTs, we weren’t thinking about Opportunity Zones yet. We definitely welcome these investments to help revitalize our lower income communities, but we need to be careful because too much capital going into a community too quickly can lead to displacement resulting from land speculation and gentrification. CLTs can provide some protection so we hope to have this safeguard in place,” says Mojica.
NPHS will also explore the possibility of creating a Land Bank in partnership with local municipalities. A Land Bank is created to acquire, maintain, and stabilize vacant, abandoned, and tax-delinquent properties while working with other entities to promote the productive reuse of the properties. The essential function of a Land Bank is the ability to streamline tax foreclosure proceedings and clear title to property that reverted to public ownership. This function allows communities to plan for the reuse of properties that previously were difficult to acquire and redevelop, and to protect neighborhoods from the blight and decline often associated with abandoned tax-foreclosed properties.
“Land Banks and Community Land Trusts are not the same but have much in common and can work effectively together. A Land Bank can acquire abandoned and blighted tax-delinquent properties and repurpose them through a Community Land Trust. They complement each other and make a great partnership,” says Mojica.
For social impact investment opportunities to support this initiative, please contact Clemente Mojica at (909) 988-5274 or clemente@nphsinc.org.