Land Trust of Sonoma County (HLT)
is a private, non profit corporation established in
MISSION STATEMENT: The
mission of the Housing Land Trust of Sonoma County
is to provide home ownership opportunities to low-
and moderate-income families in Sonoma County while
ensuring permanent housing affordability through the
use of a land trust model. Our mission is based upon
the belief that (1) all working families deserve a
home of their own, and (2) communities with homeowners
from a broad socio-economic range are the strongest
and most vibrant.
The model used to fulfill
our mission is the Community Land Trust model (CLT).
In this model the land trust organization owns real
estate in order to provide benefits to its local community
- and in particular to make land and housing accessible
to residents who cannot otherwise afford them. The
land acquired can be purchased outright, or donated.
The property can be vacant and HLTSC can arrange for
the development of housing on it, or the property
can have existing structures on it. HLTSC works closely
with a variety of local organizations, local government
and developers to create affordable housing opportunities
for low to moderate income families.
HLT has created 45
homes and we are currently working on 20 more, all
in Sonoma County; we have served 55 families to date
as we have had 10 re-sales.
Our first development,
the Kali Subdivision in Santa Rosa,
was done in partnership with Habitat for Humanity
of Sonoma County that built 6 homes and The Housing
Company that built 4 homes. Our next project was in
Petaluma, at the Southgate Subdivision
where, as part of the inclusionary zoning ordinance,
Delco Builders built 26 homes for HLT in a community
of 200 homes. In Cloverdale, HLT has partnered with
the City to preserve the affordability of 2 existing
units, keeping them from being lost from the workforce
housing stock. In 2013 we housed 6 families at the
Sonata Subdivision in partnership with the City of
Healdsburg with homes built by D.R. Horton,
as part of the inclusionary zoning program. In 2014
we began construction on 5 homes in partnership with
the City of Cotati and with Habitat
for Humanity of Sonoma County as the builder, and
received approval for 4 new homes in Healdsburg
where homes will be built by Barry Swenson Builders.
For 2015, we are in the planning stages that include
the development of 12 new homes, all in Sonoma County.
This housing model makes it possible to recruit and
retain our workforce. By making it possible to live
and work in the same city families are able to give
their time and energy to their community which reinforces
that this place is truly “home.” In all
cases the land and buildings are treated differently:
The land is held permanently by the land trust so
that it will always benefit the community; buildings
are owned by those who reside in them with exclusive
rights to the property.
HLTSC provides access
to land and housing for people who are otherwise priced
out of the housing market. The model employed helps
people to purchase homes on affordable terms. The
land beneath the homes is then leased to the homeowners
through a long-term, 99-year, renewable lease. Residents
and their descendants can use the land for as long
as they wish to live there. The land lease requires
that owners live in their homes as their primary residences.
When homes are resold, the lease ensures that the
new owners will also be residents - not absentee owners.
A key benefit of HLTSC
is the ability to ensure prices stay affordable: When
the homeowners decide to move, they can sell their
homes. The land lease agreement gives the HLTSC the
right to buy each home back for an amount determined
limited by HLTSC resale formula. The resale formula
is designed to give homeowners a fair return for their
investment, while keeping the price affordable for
future low to moderate income families. At the time
of sale, the homeowner has the benefit of having equity
and a possible small gain from the sale of the house.
Upon resale, the home
price will be determined by what the family can afford,
regardless of the housing market. The home made affordable
to a family in 2015 will be affordable to a family
in 2025 as the increase in home price will be based
on the percentage increase in the median household
income, as determined by the Department of Housing
and Urban Development (HUD) or Standard Metropolitan
Statistical Area. Such increase will be measured by
comparing the median income on the date of the sale
to the first owner family to the median household
income on the date of the resale to the subsequent
owner family of equivalent area median income level.
The price of the home
is as affordable to the subsequent owners for decades
as it is to the first owner in the same income level.
This aspect is unique to the Land Trust model and
what sets it aside from other models that start off
by offering affordable housing but are unable to continue
to do so after the first sale; tying future resale
prices to the percentage increase in the area median
income over time has a great impact every time the
home is sold, it ensures the home remains affordable