Construction to begin on Lynn Street Cottages in central Columbia

The homes are intended to be affordable housing

Construction to begin on Lynn Street...

Columbia leaders will be on hand Thursday to officially break ground on the Lynn Street Cottages. The new housing development in central Columbia is managed by the Columbia Community Land Trust and it is being marketed as affordable housing.

One Lynn Street resident told ABC17 News that workers had just finished marking the area Thursday morning. The ground has been leveled and prepared since June.

The plan is to build seven homes and each will be equipped with solar power, which will be paid for with federal funding. Habitat For Humanity is building one of them. A private contractor will complete the other six.

The city council allocated $200,000 to the CLT in 2014. The construction will cost much more, but community partners like Providence Bank have worked with the CLT to make the new development possible.

According to Michael Brown, a consultant with Burlington Associates and Community Development who specializes in CLTs, there are hundreds of Community Land Trusts across the country.

He said the CLT builds the homes and low-income families buy them but the land trust retains ownership of the land.

"By owning the land, the community land trust can allow that individual homeowner to purchase and own that home at a price they can afford," said Brown. "But should they choose to sell, the CLT organization can ensure that home remains affordable to the next buyer by limiting the price at which the first homeowner is able to sell the home."   

Since it leases the land and home, the CLT is able to stay involved in the upkeep of the home and provide resources for the family that lives there.

"This ground lease agreement stipulates the expectations," said Brown. "That in exchange for receiving assistance to purchase and own a home you otherwise wouldn't be able to afford, we expect you to behave like everyone else who lives in the community."

So a family builds some equity in an affordable home and Brown said that keeps the homes in the right price range for low-income families but gives them assets to help them move up in the world.

 "We're transitioning people, we think, if we're doing this the right way, helping people into home ownership so they don't need assistance," said Brown. "They're doing just fine like any other household in the community who owns a home because the CLT has kept the home affordable and can start the process all over again and transition people through that."

Eligible applicants must have a certain credit score and gross income level. Sign-up for homes began July 1.

The CCLT will own the land and sell the homes to people within that certain income level.

The homes, six of which will be built by R. Anthony Development Group, are expected to cost between $80,000 and $100,000.

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