The Bottom-Up Revolution Is…Forming a Community Land Trust

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It’s been more than a decade since the 2008 Recession first hit, yet for many of our communities, the impacts are still felt today. One of those tremendous impacts is in neighborhood housing. In one Kansas City, Missouri, neighborhood, for instance, so many families were foreclosed upon during the recession that the area has flipped from being 65% owner-occupied homes, to well below 50% owner occupied. Absentee landlords swept in to grab up the cheap properties, leaving neglect, vacancy, and crumbling buildings in their wake.

But that’s not the whole story of this place. The Marlborough Community Land Trust in Kansas City has been stepping up to help connect more neighbors, especially low-income neighbors, with opportunities for homeownership and to ensure that those opportunities continue in perpetuity for future families, too. Community Land Trusts are a model for stabilizing neighborhoods while at the same time allowing low- and middle-income people the chance to build household wealth.

This conversation on The Bottom-Up Revolution podcast, hosted by Rachel Quednau, features Rebecca McQuillen, Executive Director of the Marlborough Community Land trust, and Rodger Kube, president of the Land Trust’s board. You’ll hear them talk about how they got started, including the creative ways they’ve pursued funding and built positive partnerships to accomplish their goals. 

You’ll also hear a really thorough description of how a land trust works and why it’s been a successful approach in many neighborhoods like theirs. Rebecca and Rodger get candid about the challenges of this work, especially in the current, hotly competitive housing market. And they tell some moving stories of how the chance to pursue that American dream of homeownership has changed lives in the Marlborough neighborhood.

P.S. If you listen to this episode, you’ll also get to enjoy our new podcast music, created by Strong Towns Content Manager, Jay Stange.

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