community land trusts

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.

This afternoon the NYS Community Equity Agenda, a coalition of more than 40 community, labor, and civil rights groups, cooperative organizations, and community development financial institutions from across New York, released its policy priorities for 2022.

Last Saturday, the local community land trust (CLT) movement joined together for a three-borough day of action, with one united message: New York City must keep Public Land in Public Hands. At community actions in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, groups pointed to vacant and underused City-owned land in their neighborhoods, and called on the City to transfer these sites to CLTs for permanently-affordable housing and community-controlled development.

New York City is doubling down on a bold strategy to advance community ownership of land and housing in NYC’s Black, brown and immigrant communities. 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.

The 20 undersigned organizations are pleased to respond to New York City’s Shared Equity Request for Information (RFI). We believe that New York City should be a beacon for cooperative economics, advancing racial and gender equity and community-led development. Our organizations include cooperatives and community land trusts, as well as grassroots and member-led groups that have developed these and other shared equity strategies in Black, brown, and immigrant communities. Also included are organizations that provide critical financing, legal assistance, training and other support to community-led initiatives.

New York City Community Land Initiative (NYCCLI) is pleased to provide information about community land trusts as a holistic shared equity model of nonprofit and collective land ownership by a community. We understand that New York City (“NYC” or “the city”) has analyzed and is providing support to CLTs through the lens of the city’s existing affordable housing programs. However, this response sets out a framework of CLTs as a more comprehensive shared equity model rooted in housing, economic and social justice – one that allows the communities that are most impacted to exercise agency over land development and stewardship not for profit but for the long-term stability of their neighborhoods. That long-term stability is the key to building community wealth.

Community and housing activists joined elected officials at a rally at City Hall Park today, as they called for a just budget that includes $1.51 million for the Citywide Community Land Trust (CLT) Initiative to expand community control of land and housing in NYC’s Black, brown and immigrant communities. Funding will support 14 neighborhood-based CLTs organizing across the five boroughs, as well as four citywide technical support organizations.