The City of Lakes Community Land Trust, a small but powerful Minneapolis-based non-profit that has been quietly helping low-income families buy houses over the past decade, received a whopping $200,000 unrestricted grant from the Bank of America through its Neighborhood Builders program. The award includes leadership training for the organization's leadership, including Staci Horwitz, program director at CLCLT.
CLCLT's executive director, Jeff Washburne, said that the organzation has helped nearly 180 low and moderate-income households achieve homeownership in Minneapolis with only eight of those homeowners falling into foreclosure. The average household income for those homeowners is just $33,000 a year.
The cash will help the group bolster its organizational capacity and increase the number of households it assists.
"As the housing market picks back up, I think there’s a great opportunity to put the various tools on the table that we employed over our housing history to see what worked," said Washburne.
The group helps make homeownership possible for low-income families through a unique model. CLT’s owns the land under a particular property, but sells the home on that land to an income-qualified buyer. The homeowner then leases the land from the CLT through a 99-year, renewable ground lease. The ground lease connects the homeowner to the community and helps keeps the house permanently affordable by including a resale formula that determines the home’s CLT sale price and the homeowner’s share of the home’s increased value at the time of sale.
Here's what Dan Statsick, Minnesota state president and Minneapolis-St. Paul market president of Bank of America, had to say about the organization: "City of Lakes Community Land Trust is an invaluable leader in serving our most vulnerable residents with affordable homeownership opportunities and ensuring better lives for so many in our community. We are proud that the funding and leadership training provided through the Neighborhood Builders program will help deepen CLCLT’s impact today and sustain their mission and services in the Twin Cities over time.”