“If anyone knows how gentrification has displaced Black working-class residents in Atlanta, it’s Makeisha Robey, a preschool teacher. During her two decades living in the city, she has watched affordable apartment complexes vanish as new developments arise and wealthier, white residents move in.
After being priced out of renting in a series of neighborhoods, Ms. Robey, a 43-year-old single mother, became determined to buy a house of her own. “Being able to build some kind of equity, being able to have this home base where your family can come visit,” Ms. Robey said, “I wanted that for myself.”
That wish became a reality when she discovered the Atlanta Land Trust, an organization that creates and protects affordable housing. Community land trusts are locally run nonprofits that purchase land, build homes on it and sell those homes below market rate to low-income buyers. The trust keeps the deed for the land, leasing it to homeowners who sign a long-term agreement to limit their home’s resale price, so that it stays affordable into the future.
“You make a one-time investment in creating a community land trust unit, and that unit is affordable forever,” said Amanda Rhein, executive director of the Atlanta Land Trust. Community leaders founded the organization in 2009 during the development of the Atlanta BeltLine, a 22-mile rail park — similar to New York City’s High Line — that has inflated housing prices in historically Black neighborhoods nearby. . . . “