Throughout cities, families and individuals in the workforce increasingly fall into the gap between those qualifying for low-income housing and those who can afford market-rate housing. While there is not a single solution, Community Land Trusts (CLTs) offer a unique tool to fill that gap in the housing continuum by offering: Homeownership (allows buyers to purchase a house without buying land, making ownership and taxes more affordable) and Rentals (leasing a housing unit located on CLT land to the resident).

Austin Community Land Trust Accelerator Program

The Austin Community Land Trust (CLT) Accelerator will help expand CLT programs, both existing and in neighborhoods that currently lack CLTs.

Key Partners:

  • Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation
  • Austin Revitalization Authority
  • Blackland Community Development Corporation

The Accelerator will be a 3-year program that establishes a CLT ecosystem, helping to move community development corporations (CDCs) from CLT conception to home sale by the end of the program. Our program partners will be leading affirmative marketing and community engagement efforts to promote the program and identify organizations interested in participating in the program.

The Accelerator will grow and scale the capacity of a cohort of community-led developers to increase community land trust availability, establishing long-term affordable homeownership opportunities along Project Connect transit lines to help households stabilize their finances and avoid displacement. Community-led organizations may apply to participate in the first cohort that will begin in Spring 2024.

Trust and understanding are important components of this program, and to support this, there will be specialized homebuyer education that will specifically outline the aspects of owning a community land trust home and participation on the CLT neighborhood boards. The homebuyer’s education will meet the national homeownership counseling and education standards and HUD guidelines for approval of downpayment assistance programs.

The program will include training and expansion efforts that will increase CLT capacity in collaboration with Business & Community Lenders of Texas (BCL), a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), to develop an appropriate and flexible community land trust mortgage product and administer a homeowners assistance fund (HAF) catered to homebuyer needs. Funds will be available to residents on a first-come, first-served basis for CTL homes.

Long-Term Value and Benefits of CLTs

Reduces displacement of existing neighbors.

  • CLTs can support revitalization of neighborhoods.
  • CLT can support long-term residents and create new housing opportunities for existing residents.

Provides long-term stability to neighborhoods, with resulting benefits to families and childhood education.

  • Fixed asset appreciation guards against market volatility.
  • CLTs can provide homebuyer education, support, and foreclosure prevention as part of the regular communication with its homeowners.
  • Preventing and mitigating property tax and mortgage defaults is built in to the relationship and agreement between CLT and homeowner.

Provides housing opportunities for working class households.

  • CLT targets 60-120% Median Family Income (MFI) for homeownership.
  • CLT can provide home buying opportunities for income demographic that has scarce opportunities otherwise.

Upward mobility between low-income and market rate housing.

  • Modest increase in equity through fixed appreciation helps homeowners move beyond CLTs.

Permanently affordable housing, including future residents.

  • CLT 99-year ground lease moderates resale price and ensures income requirements in future resales.

Asset continues to benefit the community that owns it.

  • CLT owns the land; taxing jurisdictions collect taxes on improvements and lease value of the land.
  • CLTs become self-sufficient over time.

Can involve market-rate developers.

  • For-profit builders can develop CLT housing.

Can provide for a mix of housing opportunities.

  • If well-capitalized, nonprofit CLTs can respond quickly to land-acquisition opportunities — more so than government.
  • CLTs are commonly used for homeownership but also can be used for rental housing.

Source: Urban Land Institute - Austin

Eligible Projects

Project must be within Displacement Risk Areas within one mile of Project Connect**:


  • 130,000 Population
  • 56,000 Housing Units
  • 9,600 Affordable Housing Units


  • 51% Hispanic, Latino/a/x, Chicanx
  • 30% White
  • 11% Black/African American
  • 4% Asian
  • 4% Other


  • 71% Communities of Color
  • 72% Low Income
  • 37% Children Living in Poverty
  • 57% Renters (23% Severely Rent-Burdened)
  • 66% 25 Years or Older Without a Bachelors Degree

Source: City of Austin Housing and Planning