Land in Trust. Homes in Reach. Always.
June is the time to celebrate homeownership. In Centre County, there are programs available to support lower-income households to purchase their first home. The State College Community Land Trust (SCCLT) is one of these programs. Housing prices in Centre County have been increasing at a much faster rate than wages, thus making it increasingly more challenging for first-time homebuyers to find an affordable house to purchase.
The SCCLT was formed in 1996 and since then over 65 households have purchased their home through us. The SCCLT is one of the first community land trusts operating in Pennsylvania. Currently there are over 225 community land trusts throughout the US. Community land trusts (CLTs) are nonprofit organizations governed by a board of CLT residents, community residents and public representatives that provide lasting community assets and shared equity homeownership opportunities for families and communities. The heart of the CLT work is the creation of homes that remain permanently affordable, providing successful homeownership opportunities for generations of lower income families.
How does the SCCLT work? Income eligible homebuyers purchase the house and lease the land that the house is sitting on from the SCCLT. The SCCLT retains ownership of the land. This lease ensures that the house will remain affordable forever, as whoever buys the home is required to sell it to someone else that is income-qualified. Thus the house remains permanently affordable.
To further enhance housing affordability, the SCCLT is looking to reduce monthly utility costs in our homes to make them more affordable. Last year, the SCCLT built and sold two net-zero energy ready homes (GreenBuild). As a result of the partnerships developed during the GreenBuild project, we are continuing to work together on our new Energy+ initiative. Energy+ is a program to design, implement, and evaluate residential energy efficiency-focused capital improvements specifically for affordable housing in the State College area. This program will systematically address residential energy efficiency towards “permanent affordability” of existing housing stock in order to lessen resident energy burdens, reduce the environmental impact of existing housing stock, and enhance the public investment in housing affordability.
On Saturday, June 8th from 11am to 2pm, stop by our house at 129 Sunrise Terrace, State College, 16801. During your visit you can hear more about our Energy+ initiative and see our energy saving rehab plans for this house. People will be on hand to answer questions about the SCCLT and how it works. This event will feature a self-guided tour of energy performance and design upgrades being considered.