Economic & Housing Justice

Community Land Trust Report Showcases Power of Community Ownership

November 29, 2022
By Courtney Kassel

A Community Land Trust is a nonprofit organization designed to ensure community stewardship of land. A new report released this month by the Los Angeles Community Land Trust Program—a $14 million pilot initiated two years ago with the support of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors—showcases the power of such community ownership strategies.

The independent report—commissioned by Liberty Hill with support from the California Endowment—examines the implementation of this acquisition and rehabilitation program and makes the case that CLTs can be an important model in responding to the housing and homelessness crisis as an alternative to traditional affordable housing.

The pilot program enabled five established Community Land Trusts that currently constitute the Los Angeles Community Land Trust Coalition to acquire, rehabilitate, and preserve tax-defaulted properties for long-term affordable housing. The initial county investment helped preserve eight multifamily properties with a total of 43 residential units across all five supervisorial districts—which enabled 110 individuals to live in stabilized affordable housing.

The report explores the Community Land Trust (CLT) model as a way to address long-term housing affordability challenges and systemic racial inequities for immigrant, working class, communities of color. It additionally aims to stem the tide of historic displacement and disinvestment in these communities that has only intensified since the start of the pandemic.

“As the pandemic exposed more vulnerable Angelenos to displacement, a coalition of activists, public agencies, community-based organizations, and community land trusts (CLTs) all came together in an unprecedented way,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, First District. “And we seized this opportunity to conceive a new, forward-thinking model of affordable housing preservation in the region that can serve as a model for other municipalities.”

A major finding is the recommendation that the Community Land Trust model become a permanent program across the City and County. The report also recommends a variety of other supportive measures that can be taken to streamline the process and expand the pool of property acquisition opportunities.

Read the report.