The East New York Community Land Trust (ENY CLT) is a grassroots, people of color-led non-profit organization founded by community residents dedicated to preserving affordability for future generations and providing a vehicle to create generational wealth. We aim to protect, stabilize, and expand the stock of affordable homes, locally-owned small businesses, and green spaces in East New York and Brownsville to benefit low to moderate-income BIPOC residents. We use community organizing, education, and multi-generational engagement as the guiding forces of how we approach our work. The ENY CLT will acquire land and lease it for developments/projects that will benefit all residents, such as affordable housing, gardens, community centers, etc. If housing exists on the land, there will be a ground lease agreement between the ENY CLT and the property owner to ensure that it remains permanently and deeply affordable. We will ensure that the community maintains control through our democratically elected governing board made up of local residents.
In March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, East New York and Brownsville residents mobilized quickly to form a steering committee to bring their vision of a community land trust to fruition. We knew that the time was right to create a community land trust because of the lessons we learned from the last two economic crises. If real estate values drop precipitously as they did during the last recession, community organizations like CLTs with limited buying power have an opportunity to substantially grow their inventory of land and houses. If we do not act now, private investors will leverage capital to buy properties that pass through public hands as they did after the Savings & Loan Crisis of the 1980s and the Great Recession of the late 2000s.
ENY CLT is acquiring our first small vacant lot from HPD, which is currently used as a place where people throw their garbage. We plan to transform the lot into a public green space with a monument that honors the struggle for land justice and reparations and use it as a meeting place for our CLT. The grant funds would help pay for soil, plants, benches to beautify the lot, and other materials needed to build the monument.
Follow their instagram for updates on their progress and ways that you might get involved.
If you would like to learn more about community land trusts, the East New York CLT is hosting a series of CLT 101 workshops every third Thursday of the month at 6:00 pm. Each workshop will focus on a different theme and include guest presenters from other CLTs. You can register for their next workshop at http://bit.ly/CLTmovement
Funded by New York City, NY (February 2021)