Community Land Trusts in Montana
Trust Montana is a new statewide Community Land Trust that invites other Montana conservationists, preservationists and affordable housing advocates to join together for the well-being of all Montanans. Trust Montana encourages productive social investment to permanently remove some lands from the speculative market for farmland, open space, historic preservation, affordable housing, and conservation -- thereby strengthening residential neighborhoods, livable small communities and local self-reliance. According to the New Economics Institute, a CLT is a form of common land ownership with a charter based on the principles of sustainable and ecologically-sound stewardship and use. The land in a CLT is held in trust by a democratically-governed non-profit corporation. Through an inheritable and renewable long-term lease, the trust removes land from the speculative market and facilitates multiple uses such as affordable housing, village improvement, commercial space, agriculture, recreation, and open space preservation. Individual leaseholders own the buildings and other improvements on the land created by their labor and investment, but do not own the land itself. Resale agreements on the buildings ensure that the land value of a site is not included in future sales, but rather held in perpetuity on behalf of the regional community.
The Northwest Montana Community Land Trust, Inc. (NWMTCLT) is a Community Land Trust (CLT) based in Kalispell, Montana. The NWMTCLT board includes members from the private and public sector, and CLT homeowners. The existing CLT homes represent well over $3,000,000 in community assets. The CLT is an essential part of solving the Flathead Valleys’ affordable housing crisis. There are 50 permanently affordable homes in the CLT. Local banks, mortgage companies, and USDA -Rural Development and NeighborWorks Montana and Montana Board of Housing all participate in financing the CLT homes.
NWMTCLT works with potential homeowners to prepare them for the responsibility of homeownership through the Community Action Partnership Northwest Montana (CAPNM) HUD -approved Homebuyer Education course, future home maintenance training, and one-on-one counseling.