What is a Community Land Trust?

Community Land Trusts (CLTs) create affordable housing while still allowing low and moderate income residents to build equity as homeowners. Moreover, because CLTs retain ownership of the underlying land, CLT housing remains permanently affordable, even as the original beneficiaries of an affordable home price sell and move on. This long-term, continuing benefit makes CLTs an especially efficient use of affordable housing subsidies.

By locking in permanent access to affordable housing, CLTs play an important role by bringing balance to areas with large amounts of market-rate development.

What is Affordable Housing?

According to the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) housing is affordable when the occupant(s) is/are paying no more than 30 percent of his or her income for housing costs. Generally, “affordable housing” refers to housing that is affordable (based on the above 30% metric) to households at or below a certain level of Area Median Income.

Area Median Income (AMI)  is updated annually by HUD.  The Pittsburgh Metro Area’s AMI for 2017 is $72,600 for a family of 4.

Typically, affordable housing for homeowners is deemed affordable when it is available to households who earn 80% or less of the Area Median Income for their family size. Similarly, affordable rental housing is deemed affordable when it is available to households who earn 50% or less of the Area Median Income for their family size.

How does it work?


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Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are nonprofit initiatives governed by a board of CLT residents, community members, and public representatives that provide permanently affordable housing opportunities. CLTs exist in 45 states and the District of Columbia. The heart of CLT’s work is the creation of homes that remain affordable for generations to come. CLTs are a proven tool to maintain and provide economic diversity, preserving the authenticity of Lawrenceville.

While typical subsidies for affordable housing, such as second deferred mortgages, can create affordability for a decade or so, the CLT model creates permanent affordability, preserving the initial subsidy in perpetuity.

The CLT model limits homeowner equity in order to ensure long-term affordability—a typical trade-off as every dollar of equity is gained in exchange for a dollar of affordability. However, CLT homeownership still builds equity.

CLT homes represent the first rung in the ladder of homeownership and the Lawrenceville Corporation seeks to build the ladder!

What is the CLT's mission?

The Lawrenceville Community Land Trust promotes, expands, and preserves permanently affordable housing opportunities. The work of the Lawrenceville CLT is guided by the following values:

  1. Participatory and Representative Governance: The CLT and its work must be informed and be endorsed by our community. Thoughtful constituent engagement must be central to our efforts.
  2. Market Balance: The CLT must increase the supply of affordable housing.
  3. High Quality Design: The CLT must push the neighborhood’s housing market to a new level of sustainable construction and living standards. It is imperative that the CLT produce high-quality, energy efficient homes that provide moderate income homebuyers the best chance for housing stability and long term success.

Lauren Connelly

Manager, Business Development,
Allegheny County Economic Development
Lawrenceville Corporation Board Member
Tenth Ward Resident

Deirdre Kane

Owner, 52nd Street Market
Lawrenceville United Board Member
Tenth Ward Resident

James Eash

Real Estate Development Officer, ACTION-Housing

Matthew Galluzzo

Executive Director, Lawrenceville Corporation

Amanda Neatrour

Tenth Ward Resident

Dave Green

Lawrenceville Corporation Board Member
Tenth Ward Resident

Ed Nusser

Real Estate and Planning Manager, Lawrenceville Corporation

Dave Breingan

Executive Director, Lawrenceville United
Lawrenceville Corporation Board Member
Sixth Ward Resident

Interested in learning more?

 Contact us to set up a meeting about CLT homeownership opportunities. You can also click here to see the slides from our CLT 101 presentation, which covered the basics about how the Land Trust works and how to buy one of our houses.