WINTER PARK, Florida. “As the affordable housing crisis deepens day by day, housing supply is at an all-time low and rents are skyrocketing, News 6 has found a solution for homeowners through the Hannibal Square Community Land Trust.
“Community land funds perform best in areas where house prices are skyrocketing,” says Camilla Reynolds Lewis, CEO Community Land Fund in Hannibal Square said. “The land fund, which is a non-profit organization, acquires land in the form of donations, surplus by local governments or purchases, we acquire land, and then we build houses for low and middle income families.”
The Hannibal Square Land Trust started back in 2004 when residents just outside Winter Park noticed development and felt the threat of gentrification, joining in a collective group working with the City of Winter Park who donated land to found the trust.
“We’re taking the cost of land out of the equation, so plus subsidies helps drive down the price,” said Reynolds Lewis. “So you are essentially buying a house, not land.”
Gounded Solutions is a national organization that tracks community land funds and said there are more than 275 community land funds in the United States, which are growing as the affordable housing crisis rises across the country.
In this video, they explain how it works:
For Linda Rambeau, she purchased her 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home in Hannibal Square in 2009 on a $ 126,000 mortgage with grants, bringing her monthly mortgage payment to $ 739 per month, adding an extra $ 45 in a month for rent, the land is still part of the communal land fund. However, when News 6 visited her on Thursday, she had just refinanced, now with a mortgage of just $ 634, just a few blocks from Winter Park’s Park Avenue.
“This is a blessing from God, this is a blessing from God,” said Rambeau.
Rambeau is currently retired from Social Security but also works part-time in a retail store.
“It needs to be implemented so that more people are absolutely happy when it happened,” she added.
There are currently 21 homes in the Hannibal Square Land Trust, but Renolds Lewis said they are building 24 more homes in Apopka and 30 more homes in Orlando. She adds that there are currently over 100 families on the waiting list hoping to get into one of the affordable homes.
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