Community Land Trusts (CLTs) as a strategy to promote affordable housing in California

Lucero Garcia Mondragon and THRIVE Santa Ana CLT Board Member

Published in Issue 3.1 // Updates

Keywords: Community Land Trusts, community-control, stewardship, equitable-development


In an effort to combat systemic racism in land use planning and inequitable real estate investment activities that have oppressed the working class, low-income communities are finding creative ways to build community wealth. As exorbitant rents push families out of their homes and neighborhoods, grassroots groups and communities of color are pursuing Community Land Trusts (CLTs) to promote community stewardship of the land and to create access to permanently affordable housing. While a majority of CLTs focus on fostering permanently affordable housing, there is great flexibility in the kinds of land uses that CLTs can pursue, including for instance, agricultural projects. In California, grassroots organizations such as THRIVE Santa Ana and the Oakland Community Land Trust (OakCLT) are putting the CLT model into practice to respond to their communities’ needs and pave the way for disinvested communities to secure housing access.

Lucero Garcia Mondragon is a second-year master’s student who will be graduating from the University of California, Irvine (UCI), with a degree in Urban and Regional Planning in June 2021. Over the past five years, she has organized alongside diverse and disadvantaged communities on various issues, including economic justice, affordable housing, environmental justice, and immigration. Lucero sits on the board of THRIVE Santa Ana, the first community land trust in the City of Santa Ana in Orange County, California, created to ensure residents are involved in land development decisions.

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