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Posted on: January 17, 2019

County Adopts Time-Tested Model for Continually Affordable Homes

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA — The Maggie Walker Community Land Trust, or MWCLT, has closed on its first home in Chesterfield with support from the county. MWCLT will repair and rehabilitate a vacant home at 5616 S. Melbeck Road and sell it to a new homeowner in 2019. Funding will come from a federal funding program called Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG. This funding will also allow MWCLT to purchase, repair and sell additional unoccupied homes this year.

Under the community land trust model, each MWCLT home remains permanently affordable through the program’s long-term ground lease and equity-sharing agreement. When an MWCLT home is purchased by a homebuyer, the trust retains ownership of the land, thus reducing mortgage and down-payment costs. When a homeowner decides to sell, the trust and homeowner share the increase in value, ensuring that the home will remain affordable for all future homebuyers. Nationwide, hundreds of community land trusts have successfully expanded homeownership opportunities, especially in neighborhoods where rising real estate prices make it difficult for some families to purchase their own home. MWCLT is the second community land trust in Virginia and the first in the Richmond region.

Since 2017, MWCLT has developed homes in the fast-changing Richmond neighborhoods of Church Hill, Barton Heights and Randolph, selling to households earning between 50 percent and 115 percent of area median income. MWCLT homes in Chesterfield under this current program will be sold to households earning 80 percent of area median income and below.

“MWCLT is thrilled to have the opportunity to work in partnership with Chesterfield County to enhance communities and provide inclusive home ownership opportunities,” said MWCLT Board Chair Laura Lafayette.

Dan Cohen, director of the Chesterfield County Community Enhancement Department, added, “Chesterfield County is committed to increasing homeownership opportunity and we see great potential for the land trust’s model of perpetual affordability to help with this goal.”

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