In September, Citi Community Development and Grounded Solutions Network announced the recipients of the Citi/Grounded Solutions Network Community Land Trust (CLT) Accelerator Fund, to expand technical assistance to CLTs and homeownership programs that provide lasting affordable housing options for first-time, lower income homebuyers across the United States.
The fund, administered by Grounded Solutions Network with a $500,000 investment from Citi Community Development, provides capital grants to existing high-capacity CLTs and similar shared equity homeownership programs that quickly convert real estate opportunities into housing units.
The fund recipients are: Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley; The Community Land Trust of Palm Beach County; and Homes 4 Families, which is based in Los Angeles County.
“While housing prices have gone up across the county, median household income has remained stagnant, pushing too many families out of the neighborhoods and cities they have long called home,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Community Development and Inclusive Finance. “By collaborating with Grounded Solutions Network, we aim to catalyze and scale permanently affordable housing solutions so that residents, especially households of color, can access ownership opportunities and build wealth even in the most expensive cities in the country.”
This fund is part of Citi Community Development’s $1 million investment in the Citi/Grounded Solutions Network Community Land Trust (CLT) Accelerator, launched in April 2018. The Accelerator supports Grounded Solutions Network in a major effort to scale-up the sector by providing technical assistance to existing CLTs and by creating regular e-learning events and a new digital platform with a suite of tools and resources designed to help local governments, community groups and residents establish and grow new CLTs and shared equity homeownership programs. At a time when housing availability and affordability is cited as one of the most pressing concerns for city leaders and reasons for people to move away from cities, these shared equity homeownership programs can play an integral role in wealth building for lower income communities.
“Through the Accelerator Fund awards and our ongoing joint efforts, Grounded Solutions Network and Citi Community Development have deepened our commitment to expanding the impact of high-performing homeownership programs with lasting affordability,” said Grounded Solutions Network CEO Tony Pickett. “We look forward to working with the awardees to demonstrate how CLTs and similar homeownership programs can effectively leverage local resources to stabilize communities and support more households in building wealth. Even as we recognize the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, access to homeownership remains a critical need today when nationally less than half of African American and Hispanic households are homeowners.”
The Accelerator Fund will enable each recipient organization to focus on promoting affordability based on unique local projects.
Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley (Habitat) creates opportunities for families to transform their lives through affordable homeownership in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties, in the San Francisco Bay Area. With support from the Accelerator Fund, Habitat can now transition to Phase Two of construction on its shovel-ready 30-home condominium development in Fremont, California. This phase of the development will ensure lasting affordability and provide a “hand-up” to 19 limited-income families looking to build a long-term legacy in one of the world’s toughest housing markets.
“The Accelerator Fund is not just a catalyst for our construction at Central Commons. It’s the impetus for new opportunities, the chance for this neighborhood of thirty families to build a better future,” said Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley’s President and CEO, Janice Jensen. “These funds will make it possible for Habitat to continue our efforts toward the vision laid forth by the Fair Housing Act half a century ago.”
The Community Land Trust of Palm Beach County plans to build one duplex and six single family homes on scattered sites in Palm Springs, Florida. All homes will be sold under the Community Land Trust Model of homeownership and thereby will remain affordable in perpetuity even while located in a high cost housing market.
According to the Assistant County Administrator of Palm Beach County Faye Johnson, “the Community Land Trust of Palm Beach County (CLT of PBC) has a solid track record assisting Palm Beach County in addressing the affordable housing crisis facing our community. The County is very excited that the CLT of PBC has been awarded this grant from Citi/Grounded Solutions Network. The funds will further leverage funding provided from the County to assist the CLT of PBC to carry out their much needed work of increasing affordable homeownership opportunities under the Community Land Trust model.”
Homes 4 Families is continuing to prevent veteran homelessness and transform the lives of low-income households with a resale-restricted, equity-building 56-home Veteran Enriched Neighborhood® in Palmdale, Los Angeles County. Military families will receive this affordable homeownership opportunity along with self-sufficiency and resiliency-building services proven to move low-income families up the economic ladder.
“It is our honor to join the Grounded Solutions Network. The ongoing innovation and efforts of both Citi Community Development and Grounded Solutions to preserve and protect those hard working, low income families trying to achieve the American Dream is inspiring; and our Veterans truly benefit!” said Donna Deutchman, President & CEO of Homes 4 Families.