Frequently Asked Questions

In which parts of Northern California is NCLT active?

To date, the majority of NCLT projects have served neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area. Communities served by NCLT through development or technical assistance include the City of Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond, San Rafael, San Jose, East Palo Alto, and San Francisco among others. We also provide technical assistance services to outside organizations and municipalities.

What types of people does NCLT serve?

NCLT serves all types of clients, ranging from homeless people in transition to first time single-family homebuyers who are below the median income for their area. We also partner with resident and community organizations to create many of unique community based projects. The bulk of our clients are people classified by housing professionals as "low and very low-income households" and who are often referred to in the press as "the working poor". Our clients include people using wheelchairs and many single-parent families. In a high-cost housing area like the San Francisco Bay Area, these families and individuals have a very difficult time finding housing. Lower-income families frequently must decide between living in overcrowded and dilapidated housing or foregoing other necessary purchases such as childcare and healthcare.

How long has NCLT been in operation?

Founded by community activists in 1973, NCLT is more than 30 years old. NCLT operated as a largely volunteer organization until the early 1990s. At that time we reorganized to focus on housing and community development in the Bay Area, rather than all of Northern California. We also hired our first professional staffers and began building relationships with Bay Area municipalities.

What is NCLT’s operating budget? Where do you get funding to operate?

NCLT's operating budget is a little over $900,000. The operating budget is used for the day-to-day operations of NCLT and not for development of our properties. Each property has its own separate development budget. We get our operating funding from four main sources: development fees; consulting fees from assisting governments, communities and other agencies implementing the land trust model; block grant funding from the city of Berkeley; and management/ground lease fees from the properties in our permanent portfolio.

What are NCLT's development budgets for properties?

Our development budgets have ranged from $20,000 for small single-family home rehabilitation to nearly $5 million for mid-sized multi-family projects such as the Noodle Factory and Mariposa grove. NCLT's development funding includes money from housing trust fund monies administered through local government agencies, the Affordable Housing Program, community lending institutions, traditional lending institutions, and private donors including individuals, foundations, and corporations.

What challenges does NCLT face?

NCLT faces the challenge of constructively addressing the need for affordable housing in a climate where the gap between incomes and housing costs is rapidly widening and where the supply of housing is falling significantly short of the need for housing. Our mission and challenge is to promote and utilize the innate capacity of the land trust model to develop and sustain affordable housing in the face of these dynamics.

What opportunities do you look forward to?

Communities and city governments are waking up to the crisis that is developing from the shortage of affordable housing and increasingly recognizing the land trust model as a model that has the potential to respond to this crisis. NCLT is uniquely positioned to bring attention to the land trust model, educate people of its potential and technical details and provide the expertise to implement land trusts. An exciting aspect of our work is the possibility for turning the challenge of addressing affordable housing needs into an opportunity to empower communities to develop and implement a vision of hope for the future.

Why would I want to own a home?

Most scholars, public policy makers, industry analysts, and civic and community leaders agree that supporting homeownership is good for America, and will produce four fundamental benefits*:
  1. Homeownership is a commitment to personal financial security. Through homeownership, a family acquires a place to live and raise children and invests in an asset that can grow in value and provide the capital needed to start a small business, finance college tuition, and generate financial security or retirement.
  2. Homeownership is a commitment to strengthening families and good citizenship. Homeownership enables people to have greater control and exercise more responsibility over their living environment.
  3. Homeownership is a commitment to community. Homeownership helps stabilize neighborhoods and strengthen communities. It creates important local and individual incentives for maintaining and improving private property and public spaces.
  4. Homeownership is a commitment to economic growth. Homeownership helps generate jobs and stimulate economic growth. The design, construction, and rehabilitation of homes employ local labor and use a vast array of American-made products and services. Homebuilding has often led the economic recovery from national recessions due to its strong job multiplier effect and because increased housing starts and home sales represent renewed economic confidence.
*From "National Home Ownership Strategy: Partners in the American Dream" by the U.S. Dept. Housing and Urban Development (HUD), May 1995
© 2017 Northern California Land Trust
3120 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley, CA 94705
Phone: 510-548-7878 Fax: 510-548-7562