West Side Community Land Trust gets $50,000 from U.S. Bank to help fund affordable housing

Founded in 2017, the nonprofit focuses on developing permanently affordable housing for longtime Charlotte residents in historically Black neighborhoods.

U.S. Bank Foundation is recognizing emerging leaders at organizations focused on decreasing economic disparities by investing $1 million in 20 nonprofit organizations across the nation.

One of those organizations, West Side Community Land Trust, will receive $50,000 to support its efforts to provide affordable housing in neighborhoods under the threat of gentrification.

Charis Blackmon, the trust’s executive director, called the selection “monumental” due to the competitive nature of the grant, and indicative of the trust’s impact.

“I’m excited about it because it’s helping us to shift beyond concept and to be able to develop more quickly and more sustainably,” she said.

The West Side Community Land Trust was founded in 2017. One of its challenges is raising the money needed to develop affordable housing. Blackmon says the U.S. Bank grant will help the trust establish a fund to cover those costs. 

Jeff Gatica, community affairs manager for U.S. Bank in Charlotte, said that in addition to the funding, the bank is exploring ways to support the nonprofit leaders and organizations by creating opportunities to build their networks.

“We look forward to learning from these leaders as we continue to work to break down traditional power dynamics in philanthropy,” Gatica said. 

Land Trust gains

West Side Community Land Trust Executive Director Charise Blackmon at the trust’s very first permanent affordable home on July 16. Photo: Sarafina Wright/QCityMetro
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For the West Side Community Land Trust, July has brought significant developments.

LendingTree Foundation’s newly minted philanthropy program, LendaHand Alliance, selected the trust for funding — $375,000 over three years — in its inaugural cohort of 10 nonprofits.

[Related: LendingTree Foundation announces inaugural LendaHand Alliance cohort

The trust plans to use the funding announced on July 13 to buy land and support development efforts.

On July 16, the trust unveiled its first affordable home, at 3313 Tuckaseegee Road. The 1,500-square-foot house was donated and moved to west Charlotte from the Sedgefield neighborhood in south Charlotte. Once in its new location, the house was renovated and will be sold to a buyer with income equal to about 60% of the area’s median income (AMI).

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The trust has a pool of 70 prospective buyers, Blackmon said. All are westside residents currently participating in the organization’s home ownership program.

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[Related: West Side Community Land Trust completes its first affordable home in Enderly Park]

Under the land trust model, homebuyers are guaranteed a set rate of appreciation, but the trust retains some rights to the property.

“It allows us to be able to steward the property forever and ever in perpetuity,” Blackmon said. “It’s on a 99-year inheritable and renewable ground lease, so we’ll be in partnership with our homeowners forever.”

At another site off Beatties Ford Road, the trust owns three lots where it will relocate three additional donated homes. Work on those homes is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Blackmon said the trust also recently negotiated a ground lease deal for a multifamily rental development. If all goes well, she said, that project will add 120 additional units on the West Boulevard corridor. 

Blackmon said the trust hopes to have 50 affordable homes and units occupied by families by 2023.

This article was published as part of our West End Journalism Project, which is funded by a grant by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Sarafina Wright
Sarafina covers Historic West End under a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. She earned a journalism degree from Howard University. Email news tips to sarafinawright@qcitymetro.com or connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @sarafinasaid.

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1 Comment

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  1. I really like this. The West End is very deserving of this honor. Everyone needs a safe comfortable home to life in.

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