Will you leave a legacy in our community? Most people plan ahead for their future. Can that same model be applied to our homes? It is no surprise that we have an issue with a lack of quantity and quality of affordable housing in Centre County. Affordable means that you pay 30 percent or less of your household’s income on housing costs. Here in our community, 52 percent of renters (11,439 households) and 23 percent of homeowners (7,559 households) spend more than 30 percent on housing costs and are considered housing burdened, according to 2006-2010 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.
So yes, we need more housing created for people with low- to moderate-incomes, but how can we create a sustainable stock of affordable housing? A growing nonprofit, Centre County Housing and Land Trust, strengthens communities through the development and stewardship of permanently affordable homes for people of low- to moderate-income. As a community land trust, CCHLT belongs to a nationwide network of more than 200 CLTs that steward homes in an effort to maintain inclusive and equitable communities. Additionally, CLTs focus on empowering successful homeowners through education like budget counseling and intervention to cure delinquencies and prevent foreclosures.
Our model offers a stepping stone into homeownership, allowing a renter to transition to a first-time homebuyer with a network of support or for a young professional to make Centre County their new home. Kelly Ryan, a CCHLT donor, supports CCHLT because she believes that “affordable housing is necessary to ignite and maintain a community of innovative, young professionals. CCHLT is committed to reducing barriers to homeownership and dedicated to sustaining young talent in Centre County.”
Why does it matter that our community promotes and preserves housing opportunities for people with low- to moderate-incomes?
“A healthy community provides homes that are affordable to people at all income levels,” said George Khoury, of the CCHLT Board of Directors.
Our vision is to lead the way to create diverse, vibrant communities through long-term affordable housing in Centre County. With two new homes almost completed, CCHLT looks forward to its next opportunity, the Legacy Program with Ferguson Township. The Legacy Program’s goal is to steward affordable homes created through inclusionary housing ordinances in Centre County. These affordable homes will strengthen our community through an affordable housing stock that will last.
This work is all possible because of you. You are the ones who become members, who volunteer on committees, who give through Centre Gives on May 3-4, who stand up for a community that welcomes people home regardless of their income. You are the person who can make a difference. Will you leave a legacy?
Rachel Fawcett is executive director of the Centre County Housing and Land Trust and chair of the Centre County Affordable Housing Coalition.