Homes that working people can afford in the communities surrounding Tomales Bay.
CLAM believes that people who work in West Marin should be able to live here if they wish to. And those who have settled their roots here should not have to leave because they can no longer afford to stay. But affordable homes that provide stability to a wider segment of the population are rarely available here. And this situation endangers the vitality of our community.
What is affordable? According to government guidelines, affordability means that residents spend no more than one-third of their income on total housing costs.
CLAM’s mission is to provide stable and permanently affordable housing in an environmentally responsible way in the communities surrounding Tomales Bay. As a community land trust, CLAM holds land and housing in trust for the community in perpetuity while creating housing that working people can afford. These homes, woven naturally into the community, benefit the community now and its future generations.
Local Housing—Hard to Come By, Hard to Afford
In vacation and second-home communities such as ours, many working people cannot afford to buy—or even rent—local housing. Surrounded by protected open space, and with growth restricted by zoning and septic limitations, housing is scarce to begin with. The very qualities of beauty, peacefulness, and close-knit community that make the area attractive also cause land and housing costs to escalate. When that happens, we risk losing valuable community members—teachers, firefighters, caregivers—as the “everyday” people who serve the community are priced out of the market.
When this happens, young adults who grew up here can’t afford to stay. Young families with children are forced to move away, diminishing the school population. We lose caregivers for seniors, volunteer firefighters, and health care providers. Over time, local independent shopkeepers are affected. In short, our communities risk losing a healthy variety of people and businesses.
In 2007, CLAM asked 110 workers from 40 local businesses and organizations about their housing needs. We heard from teachers, caregivers, oyster workers, librarians, park rangers, and retail clerks—all contributing skills vital to the community. Not surprisingly, we found many workers need to live outside the area in order to find stable and affordable housing for themselves and their families.
Community Land Trusts
Founded in 2001, CLAM is one of more than 250 community land trusts (CLTs) throughout the United States. Just as agricultural land trusts preserve land for agriculture, and conservation land trusts save land for open space, community land trusts hold homes in trust for the community in order to ensure housing that will be permanently affordable. Jointly, CLTs provide more than 7,000 permanently affordable homeownership and rental units in the United States.
To read more about CLTs go to http://www.cltnetwork.org/About-CLTs/What-Are-Community-Land-Trusts
CLAM has now secured eight affordable rental units and helped two families purchase a property as tenants in common. Here’s what CLAM has done to date:
2005: Purchased a single-family home and converted it into two affordable rentals.
2006: Facilitated a tenants-in-common home purchase for two long-time area families with young children.
2009: Purchased and renovated a single-family home using modern energy-efficient methods, providing an important model for bringing older-home renovations into line with global warming and energy use concerns.
2010: Built the first new-construction passive house as a second unit on the property of the 2009 home, employing highly energy-efficient methods.
2010: Purchased a four-unit apartment building in Point Reyes Station.
2013: Purchased and renovated a house in Inverness, which it plans to sell as a Community Land Trust home—the buyers will own the home and have a long-term lease on the land, while CLAM retains ownership of the land. This home will remain affordable for the next family that buys it—and all the families following, while each ownership family realizes the equity they invest.
CLAM’s goal is to create 50 affordable homes in 25 years in order to build a solid base for a strong, stable community. We envision young families growing here, working members of our community able to live here, and elderly community members able to remain in their homes. The stability of home ownership and affordable rentals will ensure a strong and diverse community fabric.
Fifty homes in 25 years is an ambitious goal, but we are right on target to reach it. There are many routes to achieving that goal, involving the following strategies:
• Donations of property
• Donations of homes
• Assisting local families to purchase properties as tenants-in-common
• Assisting home owners to create affordable rentals by converting vacation rentals, legalizing existing second units, or building new second units
Other Communities Have Done It!
Other communities with similarly splendid locations and limited housing have had impressive success with community land trusts. Washington state’s Orcas Island is similar to West Marin as a second-home and vacation destination. Since 1989, the Orcas Island CLT has created 65 affordable homes that house 83 adults who work and contribute to the community, and whose 72 children represent 15% of the local school enrollment.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming—another high-end vacation destination—also has a Community Land Trust making affordable housing available to local workers in the face of rising housing prices. Since 1990, it has created 85 homes benefiting 117 working families.
Housing for the Community—Now and for the Future
You can help. Together we can create 50 units of permanently affordable housing in Inverness, Point Reyes, Olema, Marshall, and Tomales. Not only will fifty families benefit from CLAM housing as soon as it is established, but 100 families, 150 families, 200 families—and the communities they contribute to—will all benefit from this housing over the decades that follow. When you match your vision to ours—a vision of a healthy, stable community that thrives with a wide range of community members—CLAM’s vision will become a lasting reality.
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P.O. Box 273 Point Reyes Station, CA 94956 (415) 663-1005 | email@example.com CLAM is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax-deductible.
Copyright © 2013 CLAM.