Lens on Advantages of Community Land Trusts

Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy Michael Lens spoke to LAist about the prospect of community land trusts (CLTs) as a solution to the affordable housing crisis in California. CLTs are nonprofit organizations that raise money through donations, fundraising and grants to buy affordable housing stock on behalf of a community, protecting the land from speculators and keeping prices low. “It’s a more mission-driven way to acquire land and make it available to be lived on,” Lens explained. Since the CLT retains ownership of the land, residents are protected from sharp increases in rent, Lens noted. Although CLTs are not very common in Los Angeles, many affordable housing advocates have pointed to the model as a solution for preventing displacement and gentrification. “If there’s a significant growth in the number of units that are under CLT frameworks, we’re going to have a larger number of units that are affordable to people,” Lens said.

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