Strategies to Minimize Displacement: Community Land Trust
Brownfields—or properties with environmental contamination or potentially contaminated land—are disproportionately located in or near communities of color and low-income communities. Residents near these properties may face heightened health hazards and economic disinvestment until the site undergoes assessment and cleanup, which can be a costly and lengthy process.
Safely reusing a brownfield site is an opportunity to improve community health and bring in new amenities. However, brownfield redevelopment can also exacerbate affordability and displacement concerns. As costs rise and it becomes more expensive to live in a community, lower income residents and small businesses are often displaced. Strong, early community engagement in the brownfields reuse process presents an opportunity for the community to have a meaningful role and input on how to minimize displacement through the cleanup and reuse process. Community leaders, stakeholders, and practitioners can be proactive and put strategies in place to minimize the risk of displacement. These strategies take time, resources, and political will to implement, and they are most effective if put into place before displacement is already occurring.
Tool: Community Land Trust
A community land trust (CLT) is a long-term strategy to maintain and preserve housing affordability. In their most common form, CLTs are non-profit organizations that purchase land through public and private funding and then lease parcels of that land on a long-term, renewable basis to homeowners and tenants. Homes built on the land are more affordable because the cost of the land is not included in the purchase price. Homeowners agree to sell at restricted prices to keep them affordable in perpetuity. Over time, community land trusts help low-income residents build equity through homeownership. Because residents have an opportunity to purchase or lease a home without factoring in land costs, the risk of pricing out or displacing these residents on account of rising real estate values is reduced. CLTs also help build generational wealth by allowing residents to pass ownership rights to their children or family members.