The Rapidian

Empowering Home Ownership through Community Land Trusts

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

New home-ownership model is launched, providing wealth-building potential to dozens of Kent County families
Current resident Nelson Borrero stands outside his longtime rental and future CLT single-family dwelling, Grandville Homes

Current resident Nelson Borrero stands outside his longtime rental and future CLT single-family dwelling, Grandville Homes

Underwriting support from:

Dwelling Place CLT

To learn more or be a part of this new chapter alongside Dwelling Place Community Land Trust, you can direct any questions to David DeVelder at [email protected] or go to https://dwellingplacegr.org/clt/ where you can find a video introduction to CLT!

New Hope Homes, comprised of several duplexes on Grand Rapids' SW side, are one of the properties being converted to CLT

New Hope Homes, comprised of several duplexes on Grand Rapids' SW side, are one of the properties being converted to CLT

Martineau Apartments, also slated for CLT conversion, is a favorite dwelling of Heartside-based artists and entrepreneurs

Martineau Apartments, also slated for CLT conversion, is a favorite dwelling of Heartside-based artists and entrepreneurs

“How do we make housing affordable and keep housing affordable over time?” asks Mary Ayers of Habitat for Humanity Michigan. This season, Dwelling Place staff and board members are thrilled to announce the formation of the Dwelling Place Regional Land Trust (DPCLT) as an answer to Ayers' question. “Homeownership is an asset,” she continues, “and assets can be a stabilizing factor to help weather economic downturns, providing a sense of belonging and intentional involvement in the future of the community.”

A community land trust (CLT) model allows community organizations like Dwelling Place to purchase land and sell the housing to buyers who can save on the cost of land. Simply put, it’s a way to make home ownership affordable, sustainable, and accessible for generations of lower-income families.  “[It's an] option to purchase a home with the CLT, which gives a lower purchase price, and means that more people can realize their dream of home ownership,” remarks Ayers. Designed to benefit low and moderate income families, the CLT model ensures long-term affordability in home ownership and is governed by a board of directors made up of ⅓ housing residents, ⅓ community representatives, and ⅓ Dwelling Place Board Members.

David DeVelder, the director of CLT at Dwelling Place, explains the ownership model at community meetings with current Dwelling Place residents whose apartments are being converted to a CLT model. “It’s a unique home ownership opportunity to provide permanent, long-term ownership at a price one can afford,” he stated. “Not only for the individual, but for those after them.”

The CLT model ensures that homes remain affordable in perpetuity. Here’s how it works: Community organizations purchase land and build or renovate homes into Community Land Trust homes. Bought with a standard mortgage, homes are sold at 75% of appraised value, and when an owner goes to sell the home, it is appraised once more. The resident shares the equity, and upon sale, receives the difference between what they still owe on the mortgage and the original purchase price. Additionally, the purchaser must live in the unit, and cannot rent it out upon ownership.

Why pursue home ownership? Ayers suggests, “home ownership, however it’s achieved, is the number one and fastest way to build wealth.” And based on that alone, participants in the CLT meetings are getting excited about the prospect.

“I am so excited and motivated about the opportunity of owning my first home,” participant and current Dwelling Place resident Deyni Ventura remarks. “My husband and kids are also thankful to be a part of such a thriving and helpful community.” Ventura relayed the meeting as informational and helpful, to the point where  “nobody wanted to leave at the end of the presentation!”

Ayers and DeVelder both agree that CLT’s help with neighborhood stability. The purchase of a home can be passed down through family and will prevent displacement due to lower income. DeVelder emphasizes that this “one time investment with a sustainable outcome” has the opportunity to empower home owners to fulfill their dreams. He adds “We are currently hosting in-person information sessions and digital meetings with people who want to learn more about the opportunity to buy a CLT home, and I’m excited to share the opportunity with people across West Michigan.”

With a mission to improve the lives of people by creating quality affordable housing, providing essential support services and serving as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization, Dwelling Place serves families and people in 4 counties across West Michigan. Dwelling Place is powered by volunteers and numerous staff persons, guest writers create our Rapidian content. Thanks to AmeriCorps member Hannah for writing this piece!

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.

Browse