Community Land Trust

An optimal vehicle to address serious blight in a neighborhood


An ideal model to restore blighted neighborhoods, giving full control to neighborhood residents. Often used to create affordable housing (and hire neighbors to help with the work), avoid displacement, foster small businesses, and provide a safety net for the community. Click here for an excellent reference by Tufts University

What is a Community Land Trust?

  • A Community Land Trust (CLT) neighborhood acts like a “family”, with neighbors helping neighbors, etc.  
  • It is governed by homeowners and neighbors.
  • CLT can rehab and build affordable houses, with complete control by the neighborhood. Income that is generated stays in the neighborhood.
  • Because the CLT buys and owns the land, the house will be more affordable for the new homeowner. In addition, if a homeowner wants to sell the house, there is a pre-determined formula that will be fair to the homeowner as well as the CLT.
  • Since the CLT is invested with each homeowner and renter, the likelihood of foreclosure or eviction is markedly reduced.

What is needed to start a CLT?

The CLT will need initial start-up funds, followed by a reliable income stream to be sustainable and grow. The best source of income may be from rehabbing houses in the neighborhood.

In the Rosemont neighborhood, at present there are many houses suitable for rehab available from Secretary of State for reasonable prices - -  but this opportunity will likely disappear after Land Auctions (which primarily attract outside investors / speculators – and is not the best solution for the neighborhood).

As the neighborhood becomes rejuvenated and more families want to move in, new home construction can be added as well. There are plenty of vacant lots.


Example Funding for a CLT

Estimate of start-up funds needed for the Rosemont CLT: $150,000

  • Buy the best houses for rehab from Secretary of State:
    • 50 houses x $1000 per house = $50,000 (may leverage to acquire more parcels)
  • Cost of 5 rehabs (can do 5 simultaneously)
    • $20,000 per rehab x 5 houses = $100,000.

But after sale of the rehabbed houses, that same $100,000 will be available to rehab another 5 houses. And this cycle can be repeated over and over (we currently have the capacity to rehab about 25 houses a year).

The net effect of buying a house for $1,000, spending $20,000 per rehab, then selling the house for around $30,000 (which will be very affordable), will produce net income of $9,000 per house, which can be used to pay other expenses, create improvements for the neighborhood, and purchase more houses for rehab. 50 rehabbed houses will generate net income of $450,000 (50 houses x $9,000) over a 2-year period.

Note- across the country, the main limitation of the CLT model is the great expense of buying blighted property from speculators. At this moment (prior to widespread land auctions for the highest bidder), blighted neighborhoods in Jackson have a unique opportunity to purchase State tax land for a reasonable price, with the Secretary of State taking into account the donation of free clean-up and demolition services by Revitalize Mississippi, Inc. (our 501c3 non-profit corporation).


Community Land Trust plans

  • Partnership with Construction Ministries (Pete Sarulo):
    • Rehab houses (and build new houses) for affordable prices.
    • This will be coupled with hiring local young, at-risk men and women as apprentices to learn marketable skills. (The plan is to rehab “lives” as we rehab houses. This is a major goal of the program.)
    • 5 houses for rehab can be done simultaneously, in about 8 weeks.
  • Rehab of a house will only be started when there is a qualified applicant for the rehabbed house (who qualifies for a mortgage or rent-to-own program).
  • Home ownership in the neighborhood will be encouraged for police officers and sheriff deputies (which will assure that crime will remain minimal – and will make the neighborhood more attractive for new residents).
  • Revitalize Mississippi, Inc. will perform needed demolitions on State lots free of charge. Encourage neighbors to adopt and maintain those lots.
  • Revitalize Mississippi, Inc. may hire lawyer to clear titles for new homeowners
  • Create an optimal environment for families and kids (with community gardens, playgrounds, parks, activities, etc. – Rosemont Church has already made a big start!).
  • If Secretary of State will allow the neighborhood to adopt State tax land along a creek between Officer Thomas Catchings Drive and Jayne Avenue, Revitalize Mississippi, Inc. will donate free cleanup and help with creation of walking trails for a wonderful Woodland Park. Maintenance costs will be minimal.

Other expenses to consider

  • Insurance
  • Board up houses until ready for rehab
  • Property taxes (until house is bought by new owner)
  • Maintenance of properties (Rosemont Church has 2 bush hogs)
  • Improvements for the Woodland Park
  • Community Center
  • Community gardens, playgrounds, mini-parks
  • Hire administrator?
  • Lawyer (pro-bono) to create the 501c3 CLT and clear titles for new homeowners
  • Future land acquisition

Other sources of income

  • Monthly membership dues from homeowners
  • Potential grants
  • Crowd-sourcing


Current assets

  • Strong partner with Rosemont Church and Rosemont Human Services 501c3
  • Partnership with Phil Eide (Hope Enterprises), who served on the Crescent City (New Orleans) CLT board for 10 years
  • Strong advisory board
  • Partnerships with Construction Ministries, Cindy Ayers (Foot Print Farms), Keep Jackson Beautiful and Revitalize Mississippi, Inc.
  • Crime has already been reduced to minimal levels in this West Jackson neighborhood.
  • The neighborhood is motivated and ready to do what is needed.