A Housing Crisis in Milwaukee

As housing prices continue to rise, many Americans are stuck in unpredictable currents of rent hikes, gentrification, and displacement. Homeownership is key to building financial security and generational wealth, but it’s growing further from the grasp of hard-working families.

This national crisis is even more pronounced in Milwaukee, where communities of color are disproportionately impacted. Compared to its peers, Milwaukee has the lowest homeownership rate among Black and Hispanic households. Our city’s homeownership rate stands at 56% for white families, 38% for Latinx families, and 27% for Black families – that’s half their white counterpart. 

Building pathways to affordable homeownership helps create stronger, safer, and higher quality diverse neighborhoods in Milwaukee. The Community Land Trust is a proven, effective model that creates affordable housing for generations.

Community Land Trusts Explained

Benefits of CLTs

A Community Land Trust, or CLT, is an innovative solution that keeps homes affordable for generations. There are more than 250 CLTs in the United States. 

For a Homebuyer:

CLTs offer lower-income residents the chance to own a home who otherwise would be unable to do so.

  • In a CLT, homeowners buy their home at a price they can afford, far below the usual “market rate.” Even though homeowners don’t own the land, they can use the land exclusively, stay in the home for as long as they wish, and they can even pass the home down to their heirs. 
  • In exchange for getting an affordable price for the house, CLT homeowners agree to pay it forward: If they decide to sell their home, CLT homeowners agree to sell to another low-income family, at a price they can afford. This ensures that CLT homes stay affordable for generations to come.  
  • CLTs don’t just get homeowners in the door – they keep them there. Because of the supports they create throughout homeownership, CLTs have much lower rates of foreclosure and delinquency. One study even showed that CLT foreclosure rates were 6x lower than the national average.

For the Neighborhood:

CLTs have a lasting impact on neighborhoods and communities:

  • CLT homes will be permanently affordable – no matter what happens to the housing market in the neighborhood. This means fewer low-income families will be pushed out of gentrifying areas. 
  • Neighborhoods are safeguarded from runaway speculation. Our nonprofit governance structure keeps decisions about land and housing in the hands of the people who live here and the broader community. 

For an Investor

Public or private investors have a new, sustainable option for affordable housing. In this model, affordable housing stock doesn’t slip away when affordability restrictions lift. Because of the CLTs’ resale restrictions, a CLT home will always be affordable – and a one-time investment or subsidy in affordable housing is recycled for generations to come.