El Sereno Trust Acquires Property for Those In Danger of Homelessness

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The El Sereno Community Land Trust, which consists of some of the neighborhood's residents and stakeholders, announced today that it acquired its first property as part of a pilot program to protect people in danger of falling into homelessness.

The multifamily apartment building in Alhambra will be restored and converted into an equity sharing ownership structure with grant funds invested by the trust. Information about the cost and location of the property was not immediately available.

Member Alejandra Liera described the trust and similar ones as “nonprofits that acquire property, taking them off the speculative market and putting them in the hands of the community to prevent evictions and ensure permanent affordable housing.''

In November, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors authorized the L.A. County Development Authority to work with the Community Land Trusts Coalition to expand the Pilot Community Land Trust Partnership Program to include non-Chapter 8 properties and partner with nonprofits to ensure sufficient capacity to deliver projects. The decision also allocated $14 million to the program.

“The process is never easy but we're all very excited and eager to keep working class families in their homes,'' said Sua Hernandez, executive director for the El Sereno Community Land Trust.

Members pointed out the importance of community land trusts, especially at a time when properties distressed by the COVID-19 pandemic are being sought out by private investors for profit. They cited the California Reinvestment Coalition's executive director Paulina Gonzalez-Brito, who testified in a congressional hearing that “corporations have amassed $300 billion for the prospect of purchasing pandemic hit real estate ... if something is foreclosed upon, turn it over to Community Land Trusts so we keep those properties in community-owned hands.''

Photo: Getty Images

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