To the Editor:
I think the West Hennepin Affordable Housing Land Trust, dba Homes Within Reach, is so successful in advancing affordable homeownership opportunities to working families in the suburbs of Hennepin County because of how it uses its community land trust practice to transform people’s lives through homeownership.
How our nonprofit, community-based land trust program has assisted 183 families purchase homes in 12 Hennepin County suburban communities: The trust acquires land and maintains ownership of it permanently and by doing so removes the value of the land from the mortgage equation to create initial affordability. Homes Within Reach homeowners enter a long-term, renewable lease instead of a traditional sale. So, when one of our homeowners sells, the family earns a portion of the increased property value and the remainder is kept by the trust to preserve affordability for future working families.
This means that working families can more easily purchase a home, retain it for generations and work in or near their communities. As a result, both our families and our communities can rely on affordable homeownership opportunities and a stronger local workforce.
Homes Within Reach provides a program that helps cities reach their affordable housing goals and helps provide stability for homeowners.
I have served as president of the HWR Board for the past four years and as I now prepare to resign, I’m deeply grateful to have worked with such a dedicated group of people – on the board and the staff. We share similar interests and concerns about affordable housing and family well-being.
Our collective insights and hard work have helped our organization grow as we continue to pursue our mission to use the community land trust practice to provide housing for working families that would be otherwise unable to buy a home in Hennepin suburban communities, offering both communities and homebuyers the ability to sustain permanently affordable homeownership (homeswithinreach.org).
Working together we can help the world we live in, one family, one house at a time.
Brian Sullivan is president of the West Hennepin Affordable Housing Land Trust.