Photo Credit: Larisa Casillas Photo Credit: Larisa Casillas
Our take on the state of the region

A different housing system for stronger communities

Author: Larisa Casillas

Urban Habitat is a proud member of the People’s Land and Housing Alliance (PLHA), a regional network of organizations working to advance community-based solutions to the region’s housing crisis. Many of these partner organizations work directly with low-income communities of color – organizing for better housing conditions and advocating to include alternative housing solutions, such as community land trusts.

The coalition created a glossary of terms related to alternative housing solutions to inform and organize community members. The glossary is also available in Spanish and will be used as a political education tool.

Our housing market and the mortgage system assumes consistent economic growth and rising incomes. Both of which we know are false premises. We need to build something new. Our community’s health and well-being for future generations is linked to stable, affordable, and accessible housing. Sustainable, long-term solutions demand that we transition to a housing system that prioritizes individual, family, and community stability and health, and views land and housing as a central means to these ends.

One of our PLHA partners, the South Bay Community Land Trust (SBCLT), recently purchased their first property, saving tenants from displacement. SBCLT tenants are now learning about community ownership and how to operationalize it. Community ownership is key to alternative housing because it gives tenants the power to democratically control their housing decisions. Land trusts directly address displacement and decommodify land, keeping housing permanently affordable regardless of tenant or owner make-up.

To learn more about a community land trust or democratic control, check out the glossary! You can quiz yourself on your knowledge of alternative housing concepts. We will be building off of the glossary to include trainings and other projects. Stay tuned!