The escalating costs of homeownership have priced many would-be first-time buyers out of the market. Here in the Twin-Cities metropolitan area, the median home sale price exceeds $230,000. The Community Land Trust model presents an innovative program that succeeds in allowing low- and moderate-income renters to transition into a house of their own.
In Minneapolis, the City of Lakes Community Land Trust (CLCLT) has been gaining momentum in assisting first-time homebuyers through their Homebuyer Initiated Program. A recent visit to some of the CLCLT new homeowners illustrated the outstanding success of this program as well as the pride of ownership exhibited by the program participants.
Latonya proudly poses in front of her newly purchased City of Lakes Community Land Trust (CLCLT) Homebuyer Initiated Program assisted home.
Latonya is a mother of three and works as a Minneapolis Public Schools Bus Driver. She shared her story with the Minneapolis Field Office Director during a visit coordinated by the CLCLT Director, Jeff Washburn. She explained that while residing in a basement apartment with her three children, she was ready to move on. She had stable employment, and upon searching for a home to buy, she quickly realized that the housing market had escalated beyond her reach without some type of help.
Through word of mouth, she heard of CLCLT's program and Latonya took the initiative to complete the housing counseling component and work with a real estate agent to locate a suitable property. She states, "Everything happened so fast, with a smooth application process…I am very fortunate to be here."
During a tour of her home, it is evident that Latonya's new situation has leveraged a great deal of sweat equity improvements. Fresh coats of paint applied by Latonya highlighted the various updates to the home provided by CLCLT including new siding, windows and electric systems. She loves her new home and her new neighborhood in South Minneapolis, as she emphatically explains "…had there not been such a program, this would not have been possible!"
Barbara is a proud new CLT Homeowner in North Minneapolis
In another Minneapolis neighborhood, Barbara is a retiree with Social Security income that qualified her for a $105,000 mortgage. She was shopping for a home to be close to her children and grandchildren, and soon discovered that she was similarly priced out of the market.
Barbara encountered the CLCLT Homebuyer Initiated Program and was attracted to the program design, which enabled her to purchase a home of her choice while establishing the property as a legacy for future low- and moderate- income families to achieve affordable homeownership. She was very complimentary of the advice provided her during the housing counseling as well as of the assistance offered through the CLCLT.
During our visit, she was still in the process of unpacking her belongings and could not hold back the excitement that she had for the house, which was now her home.