The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Backs Community Land Trust Model

Oct 25, 2019

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Redwood City, CALIF. (October 25, 2019) — As part of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Housing Affordability Program, it announced support for Community Land Trust efforts that create new funding mechanisms for community-driven housing solutions. Recipients include the Oakland Community Land Trust (OakCLT), the California Community Land Trust Network, and Brioxy. 

Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are organizations that allow local communities to collectively acquire and own land. It’s a model that creates shared value and enables communities themselves to steward property in a way that meets their unique needs — from producing, protecting, and preserving affordable housing to maintaining community spaces, parks, and gardens. CLTs have been around for many years — 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the very first CLT in the U.S., which was formed during the Civil Rights era in the South as a way to support rural black residents and farmers who were systematically denied land ownership opportunities. Since that time, the CLT model has become an increasingly important vehicle for the community control of land and the provision of permanently affordable, shared-equity homeownership opportunities.

Community Land Trusts are structured in a myriad of ways, but at the core they steward land for the benefit of local communities and govern the use of that land through a board of residents and other community members. Housing is a prominent use of CLT land, which includes the preservation and construction of single-family homes, housing cooperatives, and apartment complexes in order to permanently maintain affordability for residents.  

We’re proud to partner with the following groups working to advance the Community Land Trust model: 

OakCLT: OakCLT partners with at-risk tenants in Oakland to purchase housing and mixed-use buildings to permanently preserve affordability and create opportunities for resident ownership. OakCLT also works to advance policies that support resident-controlled housing and community-owned land, such as legislation that provides tenants the opportunity to purchase their buildings collectively before the property goes to market. 

California Community Land Trust Network: A membership-led peer-to-peer forum for California-based community land trusts. Collectively, the Network stewards permanently affordable homes and community facilities housing thousands of Californians and represents well over $100,000,000 of community assets. The group is also working in Sacramento to establish a permanent funding source for CLT’s in California. 

Brioxy: An organization that works to create whole communities centered on healthy food, parks, affordable housing, and transportation. It looks specifically at the needs of LatinX and black communities — groups historically overlooked in housing interventions. CZI is funding efforts to expand their CLT model in California to benefit communities of color, and is also supporting California housing leaders to take part in Brioxy’s leadership development program.

“We are grateful for CZI’s support of our work in Oakland and recognition of the unique values of the CLT model, particularly at a time when the housing crisis in California demands innovative, cost-effective, and resident-led solutions that last,” said Steve King, Executive Director of OakCLT. “CLTs have been doing vital community-centered housing work for many years and are poised to significantly expand their impact all around the State.”

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About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Housing Program:

Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. Across three core Initiative focus areas of Science, Education, and Justice & Opportunity, we’re pairing engineering with grantmaking, impact investing, policy, and advocacy to help build an inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone. Core to this work is the belief that access to safe, affordable, and accessible housing is essential to community stability and shared prosperity. CZI has partnered with numerous organizations working on innovative solutions in the housing sector, such as: the Terner Center for Housing Innovation, Landed, TechEquity, Eviction Lab, and The Kelsey. CZI has also supported work on ballot measures related to housing, like Props 1 & 2 in California, and launched a public-private partnership (The Partnership for the Bay’s Future) in 2019 – a $500 million commitment to housing in the Bay Area.