PHOTO courtesy of project:HOMES
Press release from the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust groundbreaking today at 1114 N. 26th Street:
Today, the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust (MWCLT) broke ground in Church Hill on the first home in Richmond designed to remain affordable in perpetuity. The 1600 square foot, 3 bedroom home is being built through a partnership with project:HOMES, and funded, in part, by Bon Secours Richmond Health System.
“We are focused on neighborhoods, like Church Hill, where real estate prices are rising rapidly,” explains Laura Lafayette, founding Chair of MWCLT. “We believe that preserving affordable housing in perpetuity is crucial for ensuring that neighborhoods stay diverse and vibrant for generations to come.”
By almost all accounts, Church Hill is a Richmond success story. The neighborhood boasts some of the city’s best restaurants, and young professionals are flocking to live in the historic neighborhood. New construction and thoughtful rehabs have made Church Hill one of the most desirable—and expensive—communities in Richmond.
In just a few short years, real estate prices have skyrocketed. What was once a working-class neighborhood is now priced beyond what most moderate income families can afford. Longtime community members, young families, teachers, police officers, fire fighters, and others working in the neighborhood may find it challenging to purchase a home in Church Hill.
Using the community land trust (CLT) model, MWCLT will retain ownership of the land beneath the house. This allows the home to be sold at a lower price to an income-qualified (50 – 115% of Area Median Income) buyer. For some families, a MWCLT home will provide an affordable alternative to renting, allowing them to benefit from the wealth-building opportunities that homeownership provides.
In exchange for buying the house at a lower price, a MWCLT homeowner agrees to “pay it forward” and receives half of the appreciation value (the difference between the market value at the time of purchase and at the time of sale).
The remaining equity stays with the house and keeps the home affordable for the next buyer. MWCLT home buyers will be qualified by and take home ownership counseling classes through Housing Opportunities Made Equal.
“I am excited to have this opportunity in the Seventh District,” said Councilwoman Cynthia Newbille to over fifty East End community leaders gathered for the groundbreaking. “Much of the revival in Church Hill is due to the long-term work of housing non-profits such as the Better Housing Coalition, Project Homes, and Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity. It’s no coincidence that representatives from each of those organizations are serving on the MWCLT Board.”
Lee Householder, CEO of project:HOMES, also noted the exceptional collaboration of non-profits. “We have been working together in this community for years, and the time is ripe for a community land trust in Richmond.”
“This is an investment that will reap rewards for generations to come,” said John Stone, MWCLT board member and executive vice president of Financial Services at Virginia Credit Union. Virginia Credit Union has made a $100,000 multi-year contribution to the MWCLT and is providing a $1 million line of credit to rehabilitate selected properties and spur development.
Becky Clay Christensen, Director of Community Partnerships at Bon Secours and a MWCLT board member, agrees. “Bon Secours views the community land trust model as a long-term investment in the health of our community; we are delighted to be able to support its efforts.”
Freda Green-Bowling, who bought her home in Church Hill 11 years ago, emphasized the importance of homeownership in her own life, and others. “When a single person or family signs a deed to a house, it is more than just buying a house with a stable housing cost. It quite possibly changes the trajectory of their lives and the lives of their family members for generations to come. Know today, that because of the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust and its partnership with project:HOMES and other non-profits, that this is not just a groundbreaking for a new home, this is a game changer for home buyers now, and for many years to come.”
The Maggie Walker Community Land Trust is the second community land trust in Virginia, and the only CLT in Richmond. For more information visit www.maggiewalkerclt.org. To find out how to become a MWCLT homeowner, contact Nikki D’Adamo-Damery, Community Coordinator, at email@example.com or 804-986-9213.