Hillsborough County Community Land Trust Could Help Lower House Prices

Finding affordable housing is such a challenge that Hillsborough County leaders are turning to a creative solution to help residents.

The commissioners set up a community land trust, allowing the county to buy land, build housing and ensure affordable prices.

“I think our challenge is that there isn’t a panacea, there is no magic pill that will solve the problem. Instead, we need a toolbox of options. “said Commissioner Harry Cohen.

Commissioners approved $ 750,000 to build the public-private program for three years, with assistance from the Florida Housing Coalition.

“A community land trust makes housing affordable all the time,” said Jaimie Ross, CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition. “Most of the state, house prices, homeownership, house prices are at their highest ever.”

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Ross said a community land trust (CLT) separates the land from the housing it is on. The program will allow the county to purchase land and then work with a developer to build homes to rent or buy for eligible families. A community land trust could also allow the county to purchase an existing building and renovate it.

“So that takes you out of the rental and into the property. That way the CLT owner can save money and plan,” Ross said.

County officials have said the lack of affordable housing is a crisis and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem.

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“This could be a tool to help people enter the housing market for just enough less than what it would cost with a conventional type approach,” Cohen said.

Commissioners will come up with a plan in a month or two, then find the ground and develop it. Community land trusts are gaining traction across Florida, and Ross said she was happy this gives families another option.

“So a community land trust is one tool in the affordable housing toolbox, so it’s not like it’s going to solve all affordable housing issues,” Ross said. “But it is this extremely important tool.”


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