To be honest, I have always been a homebody. I love being at home. When I leave home by myself, I do whatever errand or work thing I need to do and I come straight back. I am never that person who stops at a coffee shop randomly or wants to check out the new thing. I don’t lack a love of adventure, but for whatever reason the inertia to get the adventure started is just hard.
Maybe that is why I care so deeply about housing and homes in the East End. I love the East End and the home-like atmosphere that many people feel here. Somehow, in a city of over two million, in a metropolitan area of six million, this neighborhood can feel like a small town. However, not everybody gets to stay in the East End. Every day as property values increase and rent and property taxes follow, more people are pushed out and the neighborhood is worse off without them. For neighborhoods to be rich and thriving places, they need to be welcoming and inclusive of everybody who calls it home, especially those who make less money.
Enter the Houston Community Land Trust. A Community Land Trust (CLT) is a type of housing for those who cannot afford to buy. It allows residents to have well built homes and continue to live in their neighborhood. Instead of owning the land, the owner owns the improvements on the land. Then they least the land from the CLT who holds it in trust. That 99 year least is inheritable, renewable, and effectively perpetual. Unlike other housing subsidies, this is a permanent option that builds stronger neighborhoods.
Last week, our East End leaders got to celebrate with the Houston Community Land Trust as our year of advocacy, teaching, and information sharing has led to the purchase of the initial sights of land in the East End! The Houston Community Land Trust hosted their second conference to share about the model, we toured some newly build homes, and we got to show off some of the best things that the East End has to offer, such as Finca Tres Robles.
We know that we are just at the beginning of this journey and there is a long way to go. But together, we know that we can work toward the common good for the whole neighborhood. Which makes sense! We are after all the work of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, the church that strives to be a cathedral for Houston that embodies its diversity, inspires faith, and leads change for the common good of all peoples and communities.
If you would like to get involved or learn more, get to know us at eastendcollaborative.org