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Why our Neighborhoods and Why Now?

As we think about access to home ownership, we can look at the history of Detroit and the current state of our neighborhoods to think about why a CLT might be important right now. 


Historically racist policies, the high cost of a downpayment and the uncertainty of the housing market in general are all factors that have resulted in only 40% of our community enjoying the benefits of home ownership. Today, within our community, 57% of Black people own their homes compared to 79% of white people. At the same time, the prices for housing are going up in our area and are expected to keep rising. While many current homeowners likely see this as a good thing, if left unchecked, rising property values make it more difficult for would-be homeowners to enter the market. Higher property values also affect the 60% of our community that are renters. With a CLT home, the cost of owning a home is lower and mortgages can be lower than most current rental prices in our area. We envision safe, stable, diverse neighborhoods with a mix of affordable rental properties and owner occupied homes. 

Within Morningside, East English Village, and Cornerstone Village, 89 homes were demolished in 2019 alone. We believe that there are still properties out there where rehab is more beneficial than demolition. We see the potential for a CLT to acquire some of these homes, rehab them (perhaps partnering with MECCA’s job training programs), and make them available affordably for our community members!

Benefits of a Community Land Trust

Why might you want to support a CLT? What can it do for our community? Watch this quick video to find out some reasons you may want to support a CLT! 

One of the biggest benefits and the main goal of a CLT is affordable home ownership. But more than owning your home, a CLT wants to ensure that you keep your home. A recent study by The Urban Institute examined seven shared equity home ownership programs—including three CLTS—and found that over 90% of the home buyers in CLT housing remained homeowners five years after purchase, much higher than the 50% success rate that has been documented for first-time, low-income home buyers in conventional, market-rate housing.


Here are some other great benefits of Community Land Trusts!

  • Preserve affordable housing in a community

  • Prevent displacement, speculation

  • Create an economically diverse community

  • Lower foreclosure rates within CLT homes

  • Build wealth for low income residents

  • Assist low income residents with financing for homes

Background and Examples of Community Land Trusts

Community Land Trusts are not new.  New Communities, Inc., the prototype for the modern-day community land trust, was formed in 1969 near Albany, Georgia by leaders of the Civil Rights Movement who were seeking a new way to secure access to land for Black farmers. 


In more recent history, City First Homes’ work in the Washington DC area is a great example of a successful community land trust. City First Homes was established in 2010 to prevent gentrification and displacement of long term residents. Over the past 10 years, they have created over 217 permanently affordable homes by buying off-market homes, vacant lots, and blighted homes. Today there are over 225 community land trusts across the U.S. with similar success stories!


For more examples, check out Neighbor Space in Chicago and read about how CLTs have kept affordable housing and safe guarded against gentrification in Austin

CLT Benefits

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