Letter: At home with land trust

The hardship and havoc wrought by the bursting of the nation’s housing bubble in 2008 highlights how the buying and selling of houses is dominated by interests at odds with individual homeowners’ basic human need for shelter. The slow recovery from the devastation caused by insufficiently regulated greed offers an opportunity to consider alternatives. One model is the community land trust, in which a community trust owns the land and leases it to homeowners.

While some might feel uneasy with the idea of building a home on land they do not own, we who have been involved with the Franklin County-based Valley Community Land Trust for decades believe that owning a home on community land trust land offers several important practical advantages.

VCLT’s core belief is that since land is not the result of human labor, it’s fundamentally unjust for people to profit from the buying and selling of land; that our proper relationship to land is as stewards rather than owners, with a responsibility to care for the land and pass it on in as good or better shape for future generations. Our homeowner model places less emphasis on building equity, and more on the land’s and home’s intrinsic value, and the possibilities of living an economical life close to the land, with little or no debt and relatively low monthly expenses.

A unique opportunity for affordable home ownership in a community setting is now available in Colrain on land offered for 99-year lease by the Valley Community Land Trust. We are currently accepting applications for two new homesteads on a quiet road, 10 minutes from Greenfield. The new lessees will be able to start construction on their new homes without having to purchase the land they will live on. For more information, visit VCLT.org.



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