Our work EMPOWERS individuals, STABILIZES families and STRENGTHENS neighborhoods
Homestead Community Land Trust creates stability, equity and opportunity by developing land and housing in trust, giving lower-income households the opportunity to own a home that is affordable to them and remains affordable to future owners. Our work is expanding an equitable economy for housing to create vibrant communities, help repair the harms of housing discrimination and protect vulnerable communities from displacement.
Our growing supply of permanently affordable homes for ownership plays an essential role in giving all people equitable access to opportunity. When modest income families have opportunities to gain stability and create wealth safely through affordable homeownership, neighborhoods gain strength and resilience, and our community moves together towards social justice, economic vitality, and environmental sustainability.
We are a classic community land trust, following the model created by Civil Rights era leaders in the 1960s and 1970s to prevent displacement and allow people to build wealth through ownership. We build new homes, we fundraise to reduce the price of homes to what is affordable to a lower-income household, and we keep homes affordable permanently through agreements with our homeowners and post-purchase support.
Homestead is governed by Board members who are elected by our homeowners and community members. A third of our Board of Delegates are themselves Homestead homeowners. This governance model centers the voices of those served in our work.
Founded in 1992 by 12 citizen activists, Homestead is a non-profit, membership organization that creates stability, equity and opportunity by developing land and housing in trust, giving income-qualified households the opportunity to own a home that is affordable to them and remains affordable to future owners.
Community land trusts were developed by Civil Rights Era leaders in the 1960s and 1970s to prevent displacement while at the same time allowing people to own appreciating assets – homes, farms, businesses – that build wealth. Utilized in both rural and urban settings, community land trusts are democratically governed membership organizations based in the security of collectively owned land.
The same model they created remains an elegant solution to addressing today’s forms of displacement in high-cost regions like King County, and to putting the financial, social and health benefits of ownership within reach of lower-income households.
Working at the nexus of housing, climate and racial equity, we build and steward permanently affordable homes, investing deeply in their climate resilience and environmental sustainability, and working to lower barriers that create racial disparities in ownership.
Under the leadership of Sheldon Cooper, Homestead brought its first home - known as Delridge House -- into trust in 2002. We have since acquired nearly 250 homes and created more than 300 first-time homebuying opportunities for income-qualified households.
Questions and Answers About Community Land Trusts
What is a Community Land Trust?
A community land trust is a private, non-profit, membership-based organization established to acquire and hold parcels of land in perpetuity and to lease such parcels for housing, most often homeownership, and other community purposes that benefit low- and moderate-income families and communities. The model was created by Civil Rights leaders in the 1960s and 1970s to prevent displacement and create ownership opportunities for lower-income households. It is notable for its democratic governance that shifts land to community control and centers the voices of those served in governance of the organization.
The essential features of United States’ community land trusts are defined in the federal Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 (Section 213). This includes that the community land trust is a membership organization and that the community land trust’s lessees represent a third of the members of the governing board.
Individual community land trusts across the United States adapt this basic model to their needs and circumstances.
Who Owns the Land in a Community Land Trust?
Parcels of land stewarded by the community land trust are owned collectively through the community land trust, and Homestead stewards the land on behalf of the common good.