The East New York Community Land Trust (ENY CLT) is a grassroots, people of color-led non-profit organization founded by community residents dedicated to preserving affordability for future generations and providing a vehicle to create generational wealth. We aim to protect, stabilize, and expand the stock of affordable homes, locally-owned small businesses, and green spaces in East New York and Brownsville to benefit low to moderate-income BIPOC residents. We use community organizing, education, and multi-generational engagement as the guiding forces of how we approach our work. The ENY CLT will acquire land and lease it for developments/projects that will benefit all residents, such as affordable housing, gardens, community centers, etc. If housing exists on the land, there will be a ground lease agreement between the ENY CLT and the property owner to ensure that it remains permanently and deeply affordable. We will ensure that the community maintains control through our democratically elected governing board made up of local residents.
In March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, East New York and Brownsville residents mobilized quickly to form a steering committee to bring their vision of a community land trust to fruition. We knew that we had to organize a community land trust to take community control of land and housing. Without ENY CLT, the pandemic will exacerbate the predatory real estate activity in East New York and Brownsville as private financial actors look to take advantage of the real estate downcycle and residents’ increased economic vulnerability.