community land trusts

Community and housing activists joined Council Member Carlina Rivera and Council Member Sandy Nurse, Comptroller Brad Lander, and other elected officials at a rally at City Hall to call for increased support for community land trusts (CLTs), to shield land and housing from speculation in the wake of the pandemic. Groups called for strong public investment in CLTs and policymaking to stabilize housing and promote a just recovery in Black and brown neighborhoods hardest-hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

I’m pleased to testify today about community land trusts (CLTs), and to urge the Committee to support $3 million in FY2023 funding for the Citywide CLT Initiative. New Economy Project further urges the Committee to advance legislation to strengthen CLTs and expand non-speculative, community- and tenant-controlled housing. In the wake of the pandemic, public investment in CLTs and other forms of social housing will be critical to stabilize housing, combat speculation, and promote a just recovery in low income and Black and brown neighborhoods hardest-hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

Harlem World — Today, activists and elected advocates gathered on the steps of City Hall to celebrate the end of the Rudy Giuliani-created Lien Sale program. Since 1996, New York City has been selling the right to collect delinquent property tax and water debt at a discount to a privately administered hedge fund-backed Lien Trust.

The Baffler — Debra Ack was running out of time. On December 17, New York City would transfer over a hundred million dollars of publicly held debt into private hands—and many of those affected didn’t even know about it. That’s why Ack, along with other volunteers from the East New York Community Land Trust (CLT), were knocking on doors across East New York and other parts of Brooklyn in the days leading up to the transfer.

With yesterday’s Executive Budget proposal, Governor Hochul had the opportunity to present a bold community economic development agenda that addresses long-standing racial and economic inequality that the pandemic has exacerbated. Unfortunately, with few exceptions, this budget proposal offers more of the same.

New York’s approach to economic development desperately needs a reboot. We spend billions of dollars annually on wasteful corporate subsidies and tax giveaways – in the process diverting much-needed resources from higher education, transit, health care and other investments that would advance equity and economic opportunity in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

Next City — Marcus is a disabled, 66 year-old Vietnam war veteran. He lives in a house in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn that has been in his family since the 1960’s. An only child, he inherited the home when his parents passed, his only piece of generational wealth. But after falling behind on property taxes, the city placed an $11,000 lien on his home. That lien will be sold to a third party, making the debt nearly impossible to pay off.

Ahead of the City’s tax lien sale this Friday, the Abolish the NYC Tax Lien Sale Coalition released a new analysis revealing the lien sale list includes 392 vacant lots that could support the development of over 3,600 affordable housing units. This represents a recurring missed opportunity for the City to partner with community land trusts (CLTs) to acquire these vacant lots and develop deeply-affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers, the organization said. 

New York City’s housing and land use policies have contributed to neighborhood segregation, displacement of BIPOC New Yorkers, racial health disparities, widening wealth inequality, and a host of other inequities. New York City’s charter must be reformed to repair past harms, by giving Black and brown communities meaningful opportunities to own and control land, housing and neighborhood development.