Power to the People: Community Land Trusts & Civil Rights Recap

On March 29th, we hosted our second public forum to create a Community Land Trust (CLT), a partnership with City First Enterprises, at the Anacostia Playhouse. During the event, representatives from JP Morgan Chase announced a generous $250,000 grant to support the CLT. A standing room only crowd watched a screening of “The Arc of Justice” which documents the birth of CLTs during the Civil Rights Movement. The audience then participated in a thoughtful discussion with experts and local stakeholders. 

See below responses to questions submitted by the audience:

How does a Community Land Trust (CLT) acquire property?

There are several ways CLTs acquire property which include:

  • Land or buildings owned by the city may be transferred directly to a CLT
  • A CLT may receive properties through private donations
  • Market rate purchases 

How will the Bridge Park CLT be governed?

We envision having a board that is comprised of representatives from the community, community land trust residents, housing experts, government and non-profit representatives. 

Bridge Park and City First Enterprises are assembling a CLT advisory committee to: help shape community outreach efforts; determine emphasis on home ownership / rental / commercial properties; and provide counsel on the acquisition process. 

What are some benefits of CLTs?

The CLT model has six primary benefits to the community it serves:

1. Stewardship: As a “steward” of the land, the CLT preserves affordability for future homeowners.

2. Mobility: The CLT model provides an additional rung on the housing continuum ladder for low-income households interested in homeownership opportunities.

3. Security: The CLT model supports homeowners after they purchase a home by intervening to cure defaults on property taxes and mortgages

4. Stability: The CLT can direct investments in neighborhoods undergoing revitalization efforts

5. Flexibility: The CLT abandons a one-size-fits all approach to community development and allows for mixed-use land development and a mix of types of housing in scattered-site projects

6. Frugality: Over time and with an increasing volume of affordable housing units, the CLT can become financially independent.

Source: https://www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/about/conplan/foreclosure/pdf/austincommtrust.pdf

How can individuals/non-profits become involved?

We are currently working with a number of non-profits as we explore the formation of a CLT.  We welcome your thoughts – please share potential partners with the 11th Street Bridge Park Equitable Development Manager Vaughn Perry at: vaughn@bridgepark.org.

As a resident, there are a couple of ways you can help:

  • Be an advocate for the CLT efforts with your neighbors and city officials.
  • Bring a friend to future CLT events!


Vaughn Perry

“This bridge park will provide easier access for school kids, residents and visitors to get out on the water and enjoy and appreciate what’s out here.”

Victoria Chanse, University of Maryland School of Landscape Architecture