Achieving Asset Building with Permanently Affordable Housing

Posted by on January 23, 2011

Achieving Asset Building with Permanently Affordable Housing

For many years policy makers have looked at permanently affordable housing models such as community land trusts as tools that were for creating affordable housing, but of little use in helping families build assets. Two recent reports describe research that shows that these models can, in fact, do both. A third NHI report looks at why funders are taking interest in one of these models, community land trusts.

Homeownership Today and Tomorrow: Building Assets While Preserving Affordability by Shelterforce editor Miriam Axel-Lute looks at recent research findings that analyze the benefits of the various models of permanently affordable housing. The report presents current data in an accessible document and includes the stories of four families living in various types of shared equity homes.

Balancing Affordability and Opportunity: An Evaluation of Affordable Homeownership Programs with Long-term Affordability Controls conducted by Kenneth Temkin, Brett Theodos, and David Price of the Urban Institute, presents the full data upon which the above report is based. Urban’s research analyzed affordability, personal wealth, security of tenure, and mobility outcomes for seven shared equity programs across the country (inclusionary housing, limited equity coops, and community land trusts).

A webinar on this topic will be held Wednesday, January 26, 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST. Participants will include Brett Theodos, Beadsie Woo of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Rick Jacobus of Cornerstone Partnership and Jeffrey Lubell, Center for Housing Policy. It will be moderated by Reid Cramer of the New America Foundation. For information or to register, click here or paste into your browser:

There is another excellent webinar that featured Temkin, Theodos, and Price discussing their evaluation. This event was hosted by the Cornerstone Partnership, which commissioned the Urban Institute study, on October 26. The webinar is archived here, or past into your browser

What are we hearing from the CLT funders?

Why have funders embraced CLTs? To answer that question, NHI interviewed 15 funders from 13 foundations whose scope ranges from local to state to regional and national. Their responses are detailed in Investing in Community Land Trusts: A Conversation with CLT Funders.

Over the past four decades, the community land trust movement has grown steadily in the United States. Today there are approximately 240 CLTs in 45 states and Washington, D.C. Their growth has accelerated in the past few years as CLTs have become embraced by community builders; organizers; advocates of affordable housing, asset building, smart growth and transit oriented development; local governments; and the philanthropic community. Especially important has been the philanthropic community, whose initial and ongoing support has made much of this growth possible.

Community land trust funders have come to work with CLTs along a variety of paths, engaged with them on different levels, and chosen to support them for very different reasons. But one unifying thread among all the CLT funders NHI spoke with was that they saw it as an exciting model that had the potential to take a much larger role in affordable housing and neighborhood stabilization/revitalization work.

Did you know that the foreclosure rate of community land trusts is a small fraction of the overall foreclosure rate? Why? Read all about it in the current issue of Shelterforce!

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