Community Land Trusts

What is a Community Land Trust?

A Community Land Trust (CLT) is a nonprofit organization deigned to provide permanently affordable housing and lasting resources for families and communities. It is governed by a board consisting of residents, community members and public representatives and serves its mission by taking ownership of and providing stewardship for land. There is a wide array of CLT models, including agricultural projects, public green spaces, cooperative and rental housing projects and commercial spaces.  However, most include and are centered around the creation of homes that that are affordable to low-income families and provide a path to home ownership that can be sustained for generations.


After much discussion with the Community Development Clinic at UMD Law School, and monthly public educational meetings (June- September 2014) in which we studied and evaluated the CLT model, NEHI members decided pursue a community land trust model because of:

1. Its ability to stimulate community revitalization by putting vacant property to productive use

2. Its ability to provide affordable housing and homeownership opportunities for
those who would not otherwise have them

3. Its proven resilience during the 2008 economic downturn and foreclosure crisis

4. Its potential to create training and employment opportunities

5. It upholds the human rights principles that guide NEHI–especially participation and equity.

Housing needs in Baltimore are critical. Maryland is 2nd in the nation in foreclosures, and Baltimore City, with more than 20% of its population below the poverty line, has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the US. 4,000 people in Baltimore are homeless, and there are and more than 40,000 abandoned, vacant, and deteriorating houses in Baltimore City.

Our analysis of data and our outreach projects, demonstrated that underwater mortgages, housing affordability, housing vacancies, unemployment and underemployment are the most pressing community problems.