2022 Grants Challenge

Community Ownership and Collective Care is the Future of LA

The aim of this initiative is to permanently preserve affordable housing in Los Angeles, prevent the displacement of working class communities of color, and create housing ownership opportunities for the most marginalized. BIPOC-led community land trusts partner with community development corporations to acquire, rehabilitate, and facilitate tenant ownership opportunities to working class tenants living in the buildings.


Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust Liberty Community Land Trust T.R.U.S.T. South LA Fideicomiso Comunitario Tierra Libre

What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Housing and Homelessness

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

South LA

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

In 2019, while 207 people experiencing homelessness in LA County found housing each day, 227 people fell into homelessness. This imbalance in numbers is likely to continue unabated if “naturally occurring” affordable housing (NOAH)—properties that are currently unsubsidized and which do not have existing affordability covenants—remain at risk of being purchased on the private market and converted to higher-income rentals. LA County currently has 18,209 NOAH properties that provide more than 396,000 lower rent apartments for households earning 80% of AMI or lower. Even as the County seeks to build more affordable housing to meet their Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) goals, inadequate preservation of existing affordable housing will lead to “leaks” in the affordable housing system, hindering the effectiveness of affordable housing production.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

The LA CLT Coalition and Community Development Corporation (CDC) partners are working collaboratively with eight buildings across the county to stabilize and rehabilitate 43-units without displacing anyone. The plan is to convert the buildings into a tenant ownership model and while the land trusts will own and steward the land below it. All five Community Land Trusts (CLTs) hold tenant meetings to include tenants in decision making about rehabilitation and build capacity in forming housing cooperatives. All eight buildings are majority Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) tenants and low income/very low-income families. We plan to use the $75,000 to implement comprehensive support and training in identifying criteria for plausible housing cooperative conversions at all five buildings. This will support tenants in identifying if their building is appropriate as a housing cooperative and consider other housing models more suitable for the residents and properties.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Community Land Trusts creating housing cooperatives with working class residents of color would benefit Los Angeles County by preventing the displacement caused by gentrification, would serve as reparations for communities of color, provide multigenerational wealth-building through housing that neighborhoods have been denied, promote community ownership and serve as a homelessness prevention mechanism. Imagine LA County allowing for buildings to be owned by the residents that live there. Residents would no longer fear being displaced and feel an ownership of their neighborhood and its conditions because they have a stake in it. This allows low-income communities of color to create intergenerational wealth and re-stablizing communities that have been dis-invested.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

With the support of LA 2050, we will launch the County of LA Cooperative campaign. All 5 Community Land Trust will use their social media and other community engagement tools necessary to create and raise awareness around Cooperatives in LA. We will measure our impact by hosting four trainings. Two for residents in LA who are interested in learning more about housing cooperatives and two for tenants who currently live in buildings that are owned by the Community Land Trust. We will measure impact by tracking the number of working class residents of color that we engage with. We will also measure impact by tracking the number of tenants that we engage with that live in buildings that are owned by Community Land Trust. At the beginning and end of each training, we will have residents and tenants fill out pre and post surveys to see if they are gaining knowledge on housing cooperatives.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 300

Indirect Impact: 10,000

Describe the specific role of the partner organization(s) in the project, program, or initiative.

The Los Angeles Community Land Trust (LA-CLT) coalition is submitting this proposal collaboratively. We are a group of five (5) community land trusts in Los Angeles. Each community land trust is directed by the residents that live there and the surrounding neighborhood.The five CLT’s are El Sereno, Trust South LA, Fideicomiso Tierra Libre, Beverly Vermont and Liberty. The LA-CLT coalition fundraises together, has a separate fincial account for shared funds, develops training and plans policy actions together. We are in the process of creating a coalition strategic plan, and long-term structure of the coalition. Each community land trust brings different specialties, such as tent & social justice organizing, stewarding properties, cooperative development, & environmental sustaibility.