Friday, April 16, 2004

Affordable Housing ... that stays affordable!

How would you feel about a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with no money down and a mortgage set at $400 a month for the next 30 years? This is the deal I am currently putting together for 17 native Hawaiian families who have been granted 99 year leases to Community Land Trust (CLT) land under the Dept. of Hawaiian Homelands. They are working with Self-Help Housing to build their own homes under the supervision of a construction supervisor (with subcontractors for plumbing, electric, excavation, and masonry) and the mortgages will in fact vary from $256 - $600 per month, depending on family income. This is fact, not theory.

"A Community Land Trust (CLT) creates affordable housing by taking the cost of land out of the purchase price of a home.... Homeowners leasing CLT land under their home enjoy the security, control, tax advantages and ability to build equity just like any homeowner. -- Homestead Community Land Trust - Seattle, WA

So I ask you again, how would you feel about having such an opportunity? How about the idea that anyone could have such an opportunity, even though they may only make $10 an hour?

If you do have apprehension at this idea, you would benefit greatly from taking a close look at your psychological belief in scarcity and the need for "survival of the fittest." I would like to suggest that a more evolved way of looking at how people live in community embraces the idea of shared land, private houses, where everyone wins and no one sacrifices. Even the current owners of the land do not lose. The land is bought from them at market rates then developed by the land trust which then turns around and leases it off to the families who will build their homes there. Let me say this again. Everyone wins and no one loses! This is wisdom in action.

If you agree, consider putting your words and actions where your wisdom is. Read the full entry at Indigo Ocean to learn more, then find out what is being done in your area to create a community land trust in which you can participate.

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