Our mission is to eliminate persistent poverty by helping to transform low-income neighborhoods into vibrant, healthy communities.

Urban Strategies Council Proposal for Creating a Community Land Trust to Acquire Foreclosed Properties in Oakland

The first priority of our foreclosure efforts is to meet the needs of both renters and home purchasers who are facing severe financial and housing challenges as a result of the crisis. An equally devastating aspect of the crisis for many neighborhoods, however, is the large numbers of vacant, lender-owned foreclosed properties. As of April 2009, there were well over 2,000 such properties in Oakland, mostly concentrated in the Flatland neighborhoods of Council Districts 3, 6 and 7. Many of them are not being properly maintained or secured, and the buildings are often used for criminal activity. In the short run, these properties further depress property values in these neighborhoods and worsen public safety conditions. In the long run, many of these properties are likely to be acquired by speculators and held until the market reverses itself, so that they will likely not be affordable to current residents.

Urban Strategies Council has developed a plan to create a Community Land Trust (CLT) to be formed with foreclosed-upon properties as its initial base of properties. The proposed CLT would:

  • Offer permanently affordable home ownership for residents between 50 and 80 percent of AMI,
  • Provide opportunities for other community development activities.
  • Be governed by a community board with significant resident participation.

We expect the CLT to acquire 200 properties as an initial base. Financing and funding for start up and operation would be provided through a combination of sources including banks currently holding the properties, private philanthropy, private investment and state and Federal funds.

Details of the Community Land Trust model can be found on this page.

We have prepared several overview documents that explain in detail the concepts of a Community Land Trust, generally, and the Oakland CLT in particular.

To support the development of this Land Trust in Oakland please use our support letter and send it to your local elected official! SUPPORT LETTER

To see how widely CLTs are being adopted across the country and the cities they are implemented in please see this map.

A comparison of affordable housing types in Oakland can be found here.

Income limits for affordable housing in the City of Oakland can be found here.