From Tenants to Homeowners: Supporting Generational Wealth Building, Neighborhood Stability for Oakland Residents

From Tenants to Homeowners: Supporting Generational Wealth Building, Neighborhood Stability for Oakland Residents

Owning your home is among the most stabilizing and sustaining forms of wealth in our society. As part of the San Francisco Foundation’s commitment to building the wealth of Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities, we are proud to partner with the Oakland Community Land Trust to reduce displacement of residents and support asset- and wealth-building for communities of color in Oakland.

The Bay Area Community Impact Fund committed a $900,000 loan to support the Oakland Community Land Trust with critical early financing to purchase properties with tenants put at-risk of eviction, making them permanently affordable and helping Oakland Community Land Trust members transition from tenants to homeowners.

The first use of these funds was in April 2021 to secure four family homes in a largely gentrifying neighborhood near Fruitvale BART. The tenants had faced the rollercoaster of four different property owners over the last 10 years, having to fight eviction and aggressive rent hikes. Oakland Community Land Trust was able to reach an agreement with the latest owner to sell to the land trust and is now working with the current tenants to eventually become homeowners.

According to Steve King, the Executive Director of Oakland Community Land Trust, “the unfortunate reality is that the private market continues to place low-income families in harm’s way by trading shelter as a commodity; Oakland Community Land Trust and our residents are partners in disrupting this pattern. We share a belief that housing is a human right and land should be protected for the common good. To meaningfully advance our vision, we need access to affordable capital to stabilize both families and at-risk housing stock in Oakland. Our loan from the Bay Area Community Investment Fund will enable Oakland Community Land Trust to be more agile in the market and permanently preserve more community-controlled housing.”

Oakland Community Land Trust is a nonprofit established in 2009 on the premise of making resident-owned homes on community-owned land, to keep Oakland’s community and culture in place. Rather than stopping at affordable rentals, they take a long-term shared ownership approach, balancing opportunities for residents to build equity while creating permanent community wealth. Oakland Community Land Trust helps Oakland residents find affordable homes, supports them through the process of becoming homeowners, and builds stability and wealth for residents and for the larger Oakland community.

The Bay Area Community Investment Fund’s loan to Oakland Community Land Trust revolves into new projects, multiplying the impact of our dollars. Oakland Community Land Trust uses our funds to purchase small properties and replaces them as they secure permanent financing for the projects. Then, the land trust can use our funds for other new projects. Once properties are acquired by Oakland Community Land Trust, they remain affordable in perpetuity. For single-family homes, the Oakland Community Land Trust retains permanent ownership of the land, leases it long-term to the resident, and sells the home to the resident by helping them secure a mortgage. For multi-unit buildings, Oakland Community Land Trust creates a collective ownership structure whereby individual households and businesses operating in the property own shares in a limited-equity housing cooperative. In both models, tenants benefit by controlling how the property is managed, keeping mortgage and rental rates affordable, and holding equity ownership in the property.

We are proud to be invested in the long-term wealth-building of people of color in Oakland with partners like Oakland Community Land Trust.