The Lehigh Valley Community Land Trust is committed to strengthening communities by providing permanent, affordable housing in the Lehigh Valley.
To create and preserve affordable homes for working families, the Trust either builds or renovates homes and sells these homes to income-qualified applicants in its program.
Unlike many other home providers, the Trust is committed to promoting long-term self-sufficiency and success with homeowners. Homeowner support is provided both before and after the purchase of a home.
The Trust is pledged to insure that there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. If you are interested in becoming a homeowner, please visit our page on how to buy a Trust Home. .
Who We Are
The Lehigh Valley Community Land Trust evolved from a dedicated group of about thirty-five, community-involved individuals who have a strong interest in local housing. A diverse group of professionals, they brought a tremendous amount of talent and effort to the formation of the Trust. They studied the most successful of the 200 community land trusts in the country today and took what they believe to be “Best Practices” in designing the Trust for Lehigh and Northampton Counties.
The Trust is administered by the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley and governed by a Board of Directors that represents the interests of the community. The Board of Directors is structured in a three-part fashion, featuring representation by Trust homeowners, local government, and community representatives.
The Trust’s day-to-day administration is managed by Project Coordinator Mike Handzo.
Current Board of Directors
- Neal Koplin, Peoples Security Bank & Trust – PRESDIENT
- Paulette Gilfoil, Real Estate, Marketing, & Community Development Professional – VICE PRESIDENT
- Dan Beers, Lehigh Co. Housing Authority / Northampton Co. Housing Authority / Valley Housing Dev. Corp. – TREASURER
- Stacy Milo, County of Lehigh Department of Community & Economic Development – SECRETARY
- Lisa Borick, Redevelopment Authority of Easton, PA
- Mark Hartney, County of Northampton Department of Community & Economic Development
- Jackeline Garrido, LVCLT Homeowner
- Rebecca Troutman, LVCLT Homeowner
- Leonard Mackey, LVCLT Homeowner
- Altagracia Mercado, Office of Senator Pat Browne
- Robert Vidoni, City of Bethlehem City Clerk
- Amanda Raudenbush, Lehigh Valley Planning Commission
- Rebecca Newsom, Lafayette Ambassador Bank
- Frank Kovacs, Retired from the Construction & Development Industry
- Larry Bonner, Real Estate Broker
What We Do
Although new to the Lehigh Valley, community land trusts have been promoting neighborhood stability throughout the U.S. for over 30 years. A community land trust is a private, non-profit organization whose goal is to acquire and hold land for the benefit of the community and to provide secure, affordable access to housing for community residents. Community land trusts attempt to meet the needs of those priced out of the housing market. They also help to reduce real estate speculation, to limit absentee ownership, and to preserve the community’s long-term affordability investment in their housing stock.
In a community land trust, a nonprofit community-based organization owns a parcel of land and then agrees to never sell it. Like conventional market housing, the homeowner has every legal right to use, occupy and enjoy the land. A community land trust homeowner may even pass the home on to his or her heirs. But the community group—the community land trust—maintains ownership of the land.
Community land trust homeowners lease the land under their home through a 99-year ground lease. This ground lease is the legal agreement that protects the homeowners’ interests—including the rights to privacy, security, and a generational legacy. It also provides that homeowners are voting members of the community land trust.
Furthermore, whenever a homeowner wishes to sell her or his home, the ground lease protects the future affordability of the property in two ways. First, a provision in the lease ensures that the house is sold to another homebuyer who is income-qualified. Secondly, a resale formula allows the homeowner to participate in the equity appreciation of the property by giving the homeowner a pre-agreed upon percentage of the net proceeds at the time of resale. This is one of the reasons it is called a community land trust; each homeowner agrees to pass the benefit of affordability on to the next homeowner. In so doing, the property remains affordable to future generations of homebuyers in the community.