City Dips Toe Into Funding Community Land Trusts

The Resilient Edgemere Community Plan

A plot of city-owned vacant land in Edgemere, the Rockaways. The city says the funding could be used to explore opportunities for community land trust homes in Edgemere, among other initiatives.

Four New York City groups will receive a total of $1.65 million in funds from state bank settlements to assist in the development or expansion of community land trusts, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) announced today. It’s a small amount of money, but many hope it is a first step toward supporting a stronger community land trust movement.

The groups receiving funding include Interboro CLT, a new partnership of organizations dedicated to creating affordable homeownership opportunities; Cooper Square CLT, the only long-established community land trust in the city; the up-and-coming East Harlem/El Barrio Community Land Trust and the New York City Community Land Initiative, which will provide learning opportunities to a variety of newly budding community land trusts.

A community land trust is a community-governed, nonprofit entity that sells the housing or other buildings on its property but retains ownership of the land. Advocates say the unique ownership structure helps ensure the buildings remain permanently affordable and that decisions about the building are made democratically.

Community organizations have long called for greater support for community land trusts, and in January HPD indicated cautious interest in the model by releasing a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI), asking groups to explain their community land trust initiatives and what kind of support they needed.

HPD used the responses to the RFEI to apply to Enterprise Community Partner’s Community Land Trust Capacity Building Initiative, a grant program funded by bank settlements negotiated by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Enterprise is awarding a total of $3.5 million for community land trust initiatives in New York…

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