Thomas Jefferson Land Trust

In a paragraph or two, describe your nonprofit’s mission.
TJCLT’s mission is to create affordable homeownership opportunities in the Charlottesville region now and for the future.  To accomplish this mission TJCLT partners with eligible homebuyer families to acquire homes and makes the purchases more affordable to the homebuyer by paying the cost of the land in each transaction. Depending on home and land values, TJCLT’s contribution can reduce the cost of housing to the homebuyer by 20-30%.  TJCLT then holds the land in trust and grants a long term (90 year) land lease to the homeowner for use of the land. With the land lease TJCLT and the homeowner also agree that the property will remain in the land trust and be offered as an affordable homeownership opportunity to the next eligible purchaser in the event the homeowner chooses to sell the property in the future.
The community land trust model can enable working families earning 80% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI)  to purchase their own home. Homeownership builds and strengthens communities and offers a pathway to economic stability for families. In the Charlottesville area, there is an affordability gap that has led to a sharp decrease in homeownership in the region over the last 40 years. Home prices continue to rise while the purchasing power of low to moderate income families continues to decline. TJCLT creates homeownership opportunities for families who would otherwise be shut out of the market.

What need in our community brought about the creation of your nonprofit?
The housing affordability crisis. Homeownership rates in Charlottesville are significantly lower than the state, and have been declining over the past 40 years. Many working families in our region are priced out of the housing market.

How has your nonprofit made a difference in our community?
TJCLT currently has a portfolio of 6 homes, enabling those individuals/families to become first-time home owners. Homeownership builds and strengthens communities, and offers a pathway to economic stability for families. The TJCLT has partnered with Habitat for Humanity, the City of Charlottesville, Piedmont Housing Alliance, Wells Fargo, and Nest Realty to make these projects possible. Two additional homes in partnership with Habitat for Humanity are currently under construction.

How can community members help you achieve your mission?
The land trust model is unfamiliar to most people, and involves some degree of complexity. The TJCLT needs more people in the community to be aware of the model and our organization, and to help us to build partnerships and identify potential home buyers. We need people in the community to be knowledgeable enough to have conversations with others to establish the TJCLT as an effective partner and additional tool to create affordable housing opportunities in our community.

Tell us a story that has come out of your work.
One of our leaseholders had moved to the Charlottesville area with her husband and child. They loved the community, but were concerned they would need to move elsewhere due to high housing costs here. She was familiar with the Land Trust model, and sought us out. The TJCLT was able to purchase the land during the family’s purchase of an existing home of their choosing, keeping them in our community. The resulting low mortgage payments enable them to save money for their child’s education and retirement, creating a secure future. She now serves as a member of our Board.

Learn more about Thomas Jefferson Community Land Trust

Meet Your Nonprofit is a special feature brought to you in partnership with Center for Nonprofit Excellence.

Strengthening nonprofits to realize the potential of our community.