Good Life

Helping Hands: Help for first-time Centre County homeowners

According to the 2009-2013 American Community Survey, more than 12,000 rental households and about 7,000 homeowners live in unaffordable housing.

Affordable housing means that a household spends no more than 30 percent of household income on mortgage/rent and utilities. Centre County Housing and Land Trust practices one effective model in our community to meet this need for decent, affordable homes. CCHLT’s mission is to strengthen communities through the development and stewardship of permanently affordable homes for people of low-to moderate-income in Centre County.

As a community land trust, CCHLT belongs to a nationwide network of more than 200 CLTs. This model typically features a nonprofit maintaining ownership of land while homeowners own their homes, which eliminates about 30 percent of the purchase price. CCHLT believes in successful homeowners, so we also provide pre- and post-purchase stewardship services and intervention to cure delinquencies and prevent foreclosures. Since 2007, CCHLT has operated as a nonprofit featuring the collaborative effort of five local organizations to focus on promoting and preserving of affordable housing, providing education, creating partnerships and assisting municipalities on affordable housing policies.

Think of the young professional first-time homebuyers in our community. Many of these men and women work hard but can’t afford to own a home in the area. Instead, they spend half of their income each month on rent for a nearby apartment.

“Young professionals are essential to the growth and sustainability of this area, but we are limited by the high cost of owning or renting a home. CCHLT supports young professionals as they look to buy their first home,” said Brodie Dalton, of the CCHLT Board of Directors.

In 2015, CCHLT is focusing on completion of the 14-lot community, Thompson Place, with two new single-family homes to be constructed this year. If you are interested in becoming a first-time homebuyer, contact CCHLT at Thompson Place has been possible through the efforts of CCHLT, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County, Patton Township and the original landowner.

So what can you do to support permanently affordable homes? Become a member of CCHLT, volunteer your time on a committee, be an ambassador and share updates to your network, attend municipal meetings to advocate for affordable housing policies, and so on, but do something. The solution is not in one organization, but in our community working together to meet housing needs.

For more information, visit, or email Follow CCHLT on Twitter: @CentreCountyHLT.