The Inland Equity Community Land Trust formed in 2020 as a project of
Inland Equity Partnership.
The Inland Equity Partnership coalition identified housing and healthcare costs as the primary drivers of poverty. The mission of the Inland Equity Community Land Trust is to develop and steward affordable housing in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. We plan to use the community land trust as a tool to provide permanently affordable housing for inland residents who fall under HUD’s definition of “housing cost burdened.” While our immediate aims are to house the precarious, our ultimate goal is to include residents who are not housing cost burdened in mixed-income developments that maintain a commitment to affordability, diversity, high-quality architecture and energy conservation.
Inland Equity Community Land Trust will develop high-quality, affordable and environmentally sustainable housing so people can thrive in the community where they work. We will produce beautiful and environmentally sustainable housing. Community land trusts have the potential to challenge the conventional housing market through emphasis on long-term affordable housing for lower-income families through equity sharing. All over the world, poor people live in houses. There is no reason poor people in the Inland Empire can't. The Inland Equity Community Land Trust is working to develop affordable housing for people paying more than 30% of their income on housing. Our charitable goal is to serve renters who will be able to lower their housing costs and become homeowners invested in their community. In partnership with CBO's, government agencies and service providers currently working with Inland Equity Community Land Trust, our primary goal is to establish the Inland Equity Community Land Trust as an endpoint for the path out of homelessness. A functioning emergency shelter system would serve as a pipeline into supportive housing with social services and into affordable housing within the land trust. Though this is our charitable goal, the need for affordable housing in Riverside and San Bernardino counties remains an ongoing crisis. We also want to make affordable housing available to any community member who would like to own a home in the trust. This will facilitate a mixed income community of homeowners invested in their own community. The housing, held in trust, guarantees it will remain affordable and future generations will be able to grow and thrive in the community where they grew up.
Inland Equity Partnership members have attended the first two and are attending the next Riverside City Housing Element Workshops. We have had coalition meetings and invited Mathew taylor, from the Riverside City Planning department, to speak about the process. Our member groups that have attended are LULAC of Riverside, Anti-racists Riverside, C.O.P.E. Catholic Charities, IE DSA, The Group, Fair Housing Riverside County, NAACP, SBX Youth and Family Services. We have also arranged training done by California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) and Public law Interests to learn about the legal tools available to insure that jurisdictions comply with the state requirements. This grant would help us continue this work and give us an opportunity to fully establish the community land trust. Working with the City of Jurupa Valley will elevate the Inland Equity Community Land Trust to a position of trust and the go to organisation to champion homes for poor people.
The Inland Equity Partnership’s coalition work on housing issues began when we started monitoring the Housing and Disability Advocacy Program (HDAP) in 2016. Rents had outpaced the ability of people receiving SSI/SSP and was pushing many diabled people into homelessness. Our coalition advocated for an increase in the COLA for SSI and for the development of low income, emergency and bridge housing. We worked to identify uncounted beds and set up a coordinated system to make them usable and countable by the CoC system. At the start of our housing campaign, it was clear that raising rents and stagnant wages are pushing more people into homelessness than just those on SSI. Beverly Earl of Catholic Charities said, “if we are going to really address homelessness, we need to make homes for poor people.” The long term solution to the housing housing crisis is to provide housing. IEP and our partners started Inland Equity Community Land Trust so we could develop housing that is affordable to renters who will be able to lower their housing costs and become homeowners invested in their community. In partnership with the CBO’s, agencies and service providers currently working with Inland Equity Partnership, our primary goal is to establish the land trust as an endpoint for the path out of homelessness. Many of the clients our partners serve journey through homelessness into emergency shelter, to transitional housing, to permanent supportive housing. Our hope is that the Inland Equity Community Land Trust will also make homeownership part of that path. Though most of the housing will be for housing-cost burdened residence, 25% of the housing will be made available to any community member who would like to own a property in the trust.
Since the outbreak of the COVID virus, Inland Equity Partnership’s coalition has been working to encourage Riverside and San Bernardino county and several cities to include rent relief for people before the moratorium ends. We approached Joe Baca Jr to help with the effort and were able to include a plan in the City of Rialto to use Community Development Block Grant funds to provide rent relief in May of 2020. The proposal included ways to get some funding to undocumented resedents of the city. We have been advocating for the development of emergency and bridge housing with our partners for many years. Our coalition has also reached out to the Unitarian Universalist Church of MontClair about providing temporary space to house immigrants, early in 2020. At the time, the ACLU of Southern California had sued the federal government over the unsafe conditions in the Adelanto Detention Center. The overcrowding has made it unsafe because it is impossible to maintain physical distancing. The UU Church agreed to use one or two of their classrooms to provide some space for the immigrants coming out of Adelanto while they made arrangements to reunite with their families. Inland Equity Partnership has conducted ‘train the trainer’ trainings on the California State, Riverside and San Bernardino county budgets. Our member organizations are equipped to understand public budgets and use them in their advocacy.
In almost every case, a community land trust is a nonprofit, community-based organization designed to ensure community stewardship of land, in perpetuity. Community land trusts are primarily used to ensure long-term housing affordability. The trust acquires land and maintains ownership. Homeowners enter into a long-term, renewable lease of the land. When the homeowner sells their home, the family keeps part of the increased value and the remainder is kept by the trust. Separating the ownership of the land and housing insulates the housing held in trust from wild fluctuations in the price of housing by outside capital speculation and investors who often don't live in the communities affected by housing costs. Homeowners receive an affordable mortgage (30% 0f their income or less) and share the equity in their home with their community members. This guarantees that housing remains affordable for future generations and residents, who can now afford to live where they work. At its heart, a community land trust offers up an alternative vision of a dual-ownership, where the needs of the community is evenly shared between the needs of human right to housing. From this dual-ownership structure, the eternal and dysfunctional conflict between a home's utility function versus a home's as profit-motive is finally resolved.
“Behind every decaying neighborhood is a development plan that doesn’t include the people who live there. We’re not going anywhere unless you price us out.”
~ Glenn Ross, McElderry Park, Baltimore
The Inland Equity CLT is greatly inspired by the Burlington Community Land Trust, which was created from grassroots community organizers and Bernie Sanders, who became Burlington's mayor and offered substantial municpal funds to jump-start what is now the most successful CLT in the nation. There are now over 225 community land trusts across the United States. Burlington Community Land Trust is the largest established land trust in the U.S. and arguably the standard against which other land trusts are measured. Burlington Community Land Trust fosters homeownership. The trust holds homes, low income rentals and limited-equity coops of about 375 units. Burlington Community Land Trust renters’ income is less than 50% of the area median income, while the apartments and households tend to be smaller. Burlington Community Land Trust recent merger with the Lake Champlain Housing Development Corporation, a regional non-profit that manages 1,100 affordable rental units, resulted in the largest regional community land trust in the nation, helping to stabilize land values in the communities they serve.