COMMUNITY CONTROL OF LAND & HOUSING. Exploring strategies for combating displacement, expanding ownership, and building community wealth

The Democracy Collaborative

Jarrid Green, Thomas M. Hanna, 2018

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Summary :

This report provides an overview of strategies and tools that, as a group, represent an innovative and potentially powerful new approach—one that establishes, in various ways, community control of land and housing. These include:

  • Limited Equity Cooperatives (LECs)—democratic, member-run cooperative organizations that limit the equity individual homeowners can accumulate, thus preserving long-term affordability;

  • Resident Owned Communities (ROCs)—democratic, member-run cooperative orga- nizations that own the land in manufactured housing communities, thus protecting against displacement, poor conditions, and exploitative management practices;

  • Community Land Trusts (CLTs)—democratic, multi-stakeholder organizations that own land for the permanent benefit of the community and sell and rent homes with various resale restrictions in order to maintain long-term affordability;

  • Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs)—legally enforceable contracts between developers and local community groups that often include various land and hous- ing related benefits and requirements; and

  • Land Banks—publicly owned or nonprofit entities that allow local governments to acquire abandoned or tax delinquent properties and prepare them for productive uses.

Together and through local variations and interesting new combinations, these strategies and tools can 1) begin to institutionalize democratic control of land and housing, 2) support racially and economically inclusive own- ership and access, and 3) catalyze the deployment of public resources to support new norms of land and housing activity. Importantly, “anchor insti- tutions”—large not-for-profit entities, such as hospitals and universities, that are rooted in local communities—can play a key role alongside community organizations and local governments in catalyzing and supporting such strategies.