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affordable Housing through Community Land Trusts

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NOTE: The house build has been a private undertaking and is not part of our nonprofit.  I include it here on our website because it fits with the Be the Change Project's mission and values.  It is an example, like most of what we do, of our life work intersecting with our "professional" work. It's one path that winds towards the same goals.    

Big thanks to all of you who contributed in the form of loans, materials, expertise, time, and good vibes to the effort.  We could never have done it alone and this house stands as a testament to what can arise from a supportive and engaged community.  Big cheers all around!

Community Land Trust
We began with the intention of making an affordable home that expressed our values far into the future.  Reno, like so much of the country, has a shortage of affordable housing which leads to or exacerbates a gamut of social problems.  A community land trust seemed like the ideal approach.

Initially, there wasn't an existing land trust in Reno so we thought we might have to create another nonprofit.  But luckily, the Community Foundation of Western Nevada started one in 2017.  After reaching out to them and having a couple of meetings we agreed to work together. 

For general info on land trusts, go here

In 2018 they built a 200-unit affordable rental complex, "The Village on Sage Street," and will be starting construction on 10 new single-family homes in the coming months.  Our house will be the first single family home in the trust.  

A brief overview of how it works:

  • Ownership is limited to people who make 80% or less than area median income based on family size

  • Upon approval and then sale, we will donate the land to the trust.  The land is valued at $55,000 so that means the cost of the home is that much less - this savings is passed on to the new owners.

  • The new owners will then lease the land from the trust (99-year contract) for a small amount per month

  • The homeowners can build on the property, improve the house, etc, just like with normal ownership with these improvements adding value to the property that can be realized upon future sale

  • If and when the house is sold the price from the original sale can only increase as much as area median income has increased plus improvements.  For example, if area median income rises by 10% over x years then the house can be sold for 10% more than it was purchased for. This keeps the house affordable for the next owners while allowing for a modest profit in the sale.  The new owners would also have to make 80% or less than median income. 

  • There are no closing costs because it is an "in-house" deal mediated by the Foundation

  • A mortgage company with experience working with land trusts will carry the mortgage

House Info

  • Sale Price: $225,000 

  • 2000 McCloud Avenue, Reno, NV 89512

  • 1120 sq feet

  • 2 BR, 1 loft room (160 sq ft), 1 Bath

  • 0.39 acre lot (although Katy's garden section will remain leased to the Be the Change Project to ensure that space remains productive and inspiring with produce to share)

  • Big front porch with a view of Mt. Rose 

  • Finished shed with water & electric and washing machine 

  • 6 kW Solar PV System: the house should be net zero with energy use/production

  • Super-insulated walls with R-Max foil-faced rigid foam (salvaged from Burning Man) in addition to the usual pink stuff

  • Efficient mini-split heater/ac unit

  • Locally milled and sourced wood siding

  • Efficient LED lighting throughout and two solar tubes for natural lighting

  • Cool, salvaged fencing 

  • All in a great neighborhood with outstanding neighbors:)

The house was sold to a couple in early 2021! This is the FIRST single family home in a land trust in Nevada.

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