Earlier this month, city officials and local business leaders celebrated the first community land trust home sold in the lower 9th Ward with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Featuring a front porch and transom, elevated above the flood plain, it was clearly designed with the both the New Orleans lifestyle and the lower 9th Ward’s greatest disasters—natural and manmade—in mind.
The home at 1325 Alabo Street sold for $65,000—less than half the area’s median home price of $206,600. It’s one of 10 community land trust homes in the lower 9th Ward available for low-income New Orleanians who earn 50 to 80 percent of the area media income. That translates to an annual income of $33,700 to $53,900 for a family of four.
Nine three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes and one two-bedroom, two-bathroom home are available, and they range in price from $33,000 to $90,000.
“It’s really about affordability—the (mortgage payments) are only 25 percent of your monthly income, which is unheard of,” said spokesperson David Schmit. “This directly combats the lack of generational wealth. And they’re good-looking houses.”
Under the tenets of a land trust, the homeowner owns the structure, and the nonprofit Crescent City Community Land Trust (CCLT) owns the land. CCLT acquired the land from the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, a public agency. Community land trusts (CLTs) have been around for 50 years in the U.S.
“We call it a third option in housing with the other two options being renting and homeownership,” CCCLT Executive Director Julius Kimbrough Jr stated in a press release. “Nationally, there are over 200 CLTs, and they have proven to be a successful method for creating and sustaining permanently affordable housing while simultaneously helping families build wealth.”