Across Dallas, skyrocketing home prices are keeping low-income renters from purchasing homes, and rising property taxes are forcing long-time residents to leave. To address these issues, many nonprofits are starting Community Land Trusts to protect affordable housing and help long-time residents stay in the neighborhoods they love.
A Community Land Trust (CLT) is an independent, community-controlled entity that owns land and stewards that land, making sure it is being used in ways that support the community it is in. The most common use of CLTs is to purchase or build housing, then sell it at affordable prices while maintaining ownership of the land. When homeowners sell in the future, they agree to work with the CLT to sell their home at a below-market rate to a low-income family, continuing the legacy of affordable housing.
TREC Community Investors is working with local nonprofits to create CLTs in Dallas. This work is being done through the Dallas Collaborative for Equitable Development (DCED), a partnership with Dallas College and LiftFund dedicated to equitable housing and real estate development, jobs and wealth creation, and community ownership and leadership opportunities in three Dallas Neighborhoods: The Forest District, The Bottom, and West Dallas – CT 205. The DCED and all its work is made possible through a generous $6 million investment from JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Partnerships for Raising Opportunity in Neighborhoods (PRO Neighborhoods) program.
CLTs offer residents a chance to purchase homes at below-market rates and build equity. They also ensure that the homes are sold to low-income families, not investment companies. Furthermore, they enable that cycle to continue by allowing homeowners to sell their homes at a rate that will both allow the homeowners to make a profit and give future homeowners an affordable, below-market price home.
In 2019, the City of Dallas approved the creation of the Community Land Trust Program to approve and oversee CLTs in the city. Though there are currently no CLTs in Dallas, there are some in other major Texas cities, and there are over 200 CLTs across the United States.
The investment from JPMorgan’s PRO Neighborhoods program allows TREC Community Investors to establish a backbone organization that will support neighborhood CLTs across Dallas. This organization will operate on a hub-and-spoke model, with one central organization providing administration, fundraising, management services, and more to CLTs that would otherwise be unable to support the costs of running a CLT.
Before the backbone organization can be created, however, TREC Community Investors is working with Grounded Solutions Network to raise awareness about CLTs and explore how a CLT could advance Dallas’ affordable housing goals, and Chaya Development Solutions to provide technical support to nonprofit partners who may be interested in establishing a CLT in their neighborhood. They are also working with nonprofit partners to educate communities about the benefits of CLTs.
The video below, made by TREC Community Investors’ partner Grounded Solutions Network, gives a quick, helpful explanation of CLTs.
Learn more about the DCED and how this partnership is transforming Dallas here.