Building Equitable Communities is a collaborative series with the National League of Cities and Citi that will explore how community land trusts create lasting affordability in housing and how worker ownership can build wealth and create quality jobs. 

Local governments have traditionally played a role in entrepreneurship, workforce development and homeownership. However, too often local policies and programming do not create equitable outcomes and/or economic mobility for low wage workers, women, immigrant, and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals. This lack of access to economic mobility can make saving towards retirement, becoming a home or business owner, advancing education, and employment mobility much more difficult to obtain.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic and the most recent racial unrests across our country have once again exposed the longstanding racial wealth gaps that BIPOC households continue to face. During the month of June 2020, the unemployment gap between Black and white Americans was 5.3 percentage points, the widest gap since May 2015. The Federal housing aid that congress passed under the CARES act has favored white households over minorities, with Black households most at risk.

As communities look to reimagine how their cities, towns, and villages will be rebuilt, Building Equitable Communities plays a crucial role.

Topics covered in this series will include: 

  • Recommendations on how to build lasting affordability through community land trusts and how to build wealth and create quality jobs through worker ownership. 
  • Expert insight from the Democracy at Work Institute, Grounded Solutions Network and city leaders implementing community land trusts and worker cooperatives throughout the nation.
  • How city leaders and community stakeholders are developing safe, quality affordable housing and quality jobs in their communities.

Creating Lasting Affordability Through Community Land Trusts

Unlike traditional affordable-housing policies and programs that have specific term limits, community land trusts help to create lasting affordability.  

More than 250 community land trusts in the United States provide affordable rental and homeownership opportunities largely for low-and moderate- families in urban, suburban, and rural communities. If there is anything this pandemic has taught us, it is that the need for affordable housing and housing stability is critical.

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Building a Just Economy with Employee Ownership

Across the country, communities are faced with income and wealth inequality, exploitative working conditions, and displacement. As cities think about how to support workers and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, worker ownership offers a solution to assist with creating quality jobs, building local wealth, and eliminating disparities. For legacy businesses owners, entrepreneurs and workers, worker ownership can provide long term job stability and wealth creation. 

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Lasting Affordability in Housing Now: Our Path to Racial Equity

“Lasting affordability using shared equity homeownership models can close the growing racial wealth gap — counteracting our history of exclusionary public policies that have resulted in a typical white family’s net worth being nearly 10 times greater than that of the typical Black family.”

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A More Equitable and Just Recovery with Employee Ownership

“As 2020 year-end comes into focus, small businesses are running out of options. By December, a meaningful segment of business owners is likely to seek a way out, resulting in a flood of businesses being put up for sale with no clear buyers and even more shutting down for good. Regrettably, many of the businesses that will close are viable high-quality firms that would have recovered post-crisis. They were simply victims of a global crisis that froze demand and stalled cash flow.”

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