VICTORY! Community Land Trusts Win Major Funding in NYC Budget

CLT Rally at City Hall

New York City is doubling down on a bold strategy to advance community ownership of land and housing in Black, brown and immigrant neighborhoods. This year, the City Council awarded $1.5 million to support community land trust (CLT) organizing across the five boroughs—its largest allocation since launching the Citywide CLT Initiative in 2019.

New Economy Project and groups throughout the city fought hard for this momentous victory. Funding will support 14 neighborhood-based CLTs engaged in community and tenant organizing, education, and participatory planning, as well as New Economy Project and three other citywide organizations providing legal and technical support to help CLTs get off the ground.

“We applaud the City Council for supporting CLTs and community-driven solutions to our city’s affordability crisis,” said New Economy Project legal fellow Akilah Browne. “Multi-year funding for CLTs gives communities new tools to keep people in their homes and address root causes of neighborhood inequality.”

As community-governed nonprofits, CLTs ensure that housing remains permanently affordable and that land is developed in ways that meet community needs. CLTs across the city are laser-focused on combating real estate speculation and displacement—threats that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated—as a matter of racial equity and neighborhood self-determination.

Leading up to the adoption of the new City budget, New Economy Project and partners organized a series of actions and briefings, including a virtual Five-Borough CLT Tour for Council Members and a rally and press conference at City Hall.

At the June rally, City Council Member Carlina Rivera, a longtime champion of CLTs, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, and other elected officials joined in calling for bold action to advance a just recovery—by strengthening CLTs that shield land and housing from predatory development.

Two years ago, New Economy Project coordinated the campaign that secured the groundbreaking CLT budget initiative. Since then, City-funded groups have launched more than a dozen new CLTs and preserved hundreds of permanently-affordable housing units—including almost 80 recent acquisitions in Central and East Harlem and the Lower East Side.

The CLT movement is poised to go even bigger in the coming months and years, as groups confront the rising risk of mass evictions and displacement in the wake of the pandemic and advance game-changing policies to give communities of color control over land and development.

A huge shout-out to our NYC Community Land Initiative partners and all who contributed to this victory for #CLTsforNYC!

Hear more about local CLT organizing, in these video clips from our June rally: