Housing for All: Lawrenceville Breaks Ground on Community Land Trust

Press Release

PITTSBURGH, PA – The Lawrenceville Corporation is proud to announce the ground breaking of Western Pennsylvania’s first community land trust: seven permanently affordable, for sale homes in Upper Lawrenceville.

“Pittsburghers always find ways to solve hard issues. As a 21st Century city, we must have innovative out-of-the-box solutions to 21st Century issues. The City is proud to support Lawrenceville Corporation’s CLT initiative­–a direct implementation of the City’s Affordable Housing Task Force recommendations with clear alignment with our p4 Performance Measures,” said a spokesperson for Mayor Bill Peduto.

 

“A land trust can remove housing from the ups and downs of the market and put it in the control of the neighborhood. This is exactly the right tool for Lawrenceville at this moment of intense change. I am incredibly proud and excited to see the Lawrenceville Community Land Trust become reality. Kudos to Lawrenceville community members for their vision and congratulations on bringing the first affordable housing land trust to Western Pennsylvania,” said Councilwoman Deborah Gross, District 7.

LC has worked with the team of project consultant Palo Alto Partners, architect Rothschild Doyno Collaborative, and modular homebuilder EcoCraft Homes. The homes blend in with neighborhood context while featuring 21st century design elements, and they are durably constructed for maximum efficiency and energy cost savings. In addition, the homes incorporate the products of local craftspeople through Bridgeway Capital’s MONMADE initiative.

The homes are part of Pittsburgh’s first community land trust, bringing a new tool to address affordable housing challenges in the region. The CLT model provides opportunities for home ownership priced in line with local wages, as opposed to local property values. In a community land trust, a community-based nonprofit owns the land and leases it to the homeowner through a ground lease, which stipulates a maximum home resale price to ensure the home remains permanently affordable, no matter what happens to property values in the neighborhood.

“Community land trusts have proven themselves in nearly 300 communities across the U.S. as an effective strategy to preserve housing affordability, to prevent market-driven displacement, to protect and leverage the public sector and private sector housing affordability resources, and to assist limited-income households in their efforts to become and remain successful over time. But for a new CLT just getting started, it needs its first project to ‘prove’ that it works in its community, as well. That’s why Lawrenceville Corporation’s first CLT homes are such a big deal. In addition to being quality, permanently affordable homes that will benefit numerous households over multiple generations, these first CLT homes in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County will, without question, provide ‘proof of concept’ and pave the way for more CLT housing in the region,” said Michael Brown, CLT consultant and partner at Burlington Associates in Community Development.

 

“This is a direct and catalytic response by the Lawrenceville Corporation and our partners to the issue of housing insecurity. The neighborhood, through the award-winning Upper Lawrenceville Vision Plan, set “housing for all” as a priority. The CLT initiative, and these seven houses, reflect the effectiveness of neighbors coming together to confront big issues and to set a course for an authentic future. We are excited to be taking one more step in our disruptive, innovative approach to create housing that is permanently affordable,” said Matthew Galluzzo, Executive Director of the Lawrenceville Corporation.

For more information on the Lawrenceville Community Land Trust, including how to apply, please visit lvpgh.com/CLT or contact Ed Nusser at the Lawrenceville Corporation: ed@lawrencevillecorp.com or (412) 621-1616 x 106.

This work would not be possible without the support of LC’s key partners: State Senator Wayne D. Fontana, City of Pittsburgh – Mayor William Peduto, City Council District 7 – Councilwoman Deborah Gross, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, Bridgeway Capital, WesBanco Bank, The Heinz Endowments, the Buhl Foundation, Neighborhood Allies, UPMC Health Plan, PNC Bank, Duquesne Light, and Fort Willow Developers.

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