CLAM is one of more than 250 community land trusts (CLTs) throughout the United States and in countries such as England, Belgium, and Australia. Just as agricultural land trusts preserve land for agriculture, and conservation land trusts save land for open space, community land trusts hold homes in trust for the community in order to ensure housing that will be permanently affordable. By 2013, CLTs were providing more than 19,000 permanently affordable homeownership and rental units in the United States. To read more about CLTs go to National Community Land Trust Network.
The Community Land Trust movement emerges from a long and fascinating American conversation about the intersection between land ownership and social equity. Not only do community land trusts turn market-based real estate into shared community resources, they also abide by a specific board structure that balances interests between community members, residents in CLT homes, and broader business and political representation. To learn more about the visionaries and innovators whose work has led to something now called a “community land trust” go to: Roots and Branches: A Gardener’s Guide to the Evolution of the Community Land Trust.
CLTs in similar communities
Non-profit Housing Association of Northern California notes that housing in the San Francisco Bay Area is among the most expensive in the nation due to the supply and demand of housing in the region. Several factors contribute to the phenomenon: Wages have not kept pace with housing costs, relatively low paying sales and service jobs are proliferating while housing options for lower wage jobs are minimal, new industries in Silicon Valley and other Bay Area towns create a premium demand for any housing; and land values remain high and housing production is not meeting demand.
CLAM works alongside other community land trusts that address Bay Area affordability challenges. We are members of the Bay Area Consortium of Community Land Trusts (www.bacclt.org) .
There are also Community Land Trusts located in rural, natural areas that have similar challenges to West Marin:
Bolinas Community Land Trust
Island Housing Trust (Mount Desert, Maine)
Jackson Hole Housing Trust (Jackson, Wyoming)
Lopez Community Land Trust (Lopez Island, Washington)
Madison Area Community Land Trust (Troy Gardens, Wisconsin)
Opal Community Land Trust (Orcas Island, Washington)
At the forefront of community land trusts in the U.S. is Champlain Housing Trust. Located in Burlington Vermont, this is one of the earliest and now most extensive community land trusts, creating homes in both rural and urban areas.