Friday, July 17, 2009

Guest Blogger Jim Gray: Strategies for Promoting Long-Term Affordable Homeownership Stretch Beyond Chicago to East and West Coast Communities

Without question, Chicago’s Highland Park Community Land Trust has done great and innovative work in the area of sustainable homeownership – our hats are off to them as an excellent model for others to follow.

There are also several other promising examples of shared equity homeownership being pursued across the country. This includes the Chicago Community Land Trust, which represents a large scale effort to promote long-term affordable homeownership.

In addition, Janice Morrissey, the director of housing initiatives for the new South Suburban Housing Collaborative – formed by 18 towns – is working with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and the Metropolitan Planning Council to pursue mechanisms for all kinds of housing activities “across municipal boundaries.” In addition, the DLA Piper law firm has agreed to provide pro bono assistance to the Collaborative, developing shared equity models that all participating towns could utilize.

As an example from the East, the Diamond State Community Land Trust represents the State of Delaware’s effort to create a permanently affordable stock of homeownership. Delaware is using its Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funding for this purpose. We understand that originally Delaware required that any property in which the state invests more than $60,000 of NSP funding had to remain permanently affordable

From the West, the City of Oakland, working with the Urban Strategies Council, has allocated all of the City’s NSP funding available to serve populations at above 50 percent of the Area Median Income, to create permanently affordable homeownership, also through the creation of a new community land trust.

These are just a few examples of the growing number of communities who understand that over the long-term they will do a better job of stabilizing their neighborhoods and create many more wealth building opportunities by pursuing strategies that promote long-term affordable homeownership.

Jim Gray is vice president of NCB Capital Impact in Arlington, VA. The organization’s mission is to provide solutions, based on cooperative principles that empower underserved communities, to address the problems poverty creates in America.

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