Community land trusts (CLTs) are locally based, private non-profit organizations that acquire and hold land for the benefit of a community, whether a neighbourhood, a city or even a region. They do so with the specific purpose of making this land available perpetually for affordable housing, usually with the idea that the housing will target low- and moderate-income residents.
CLTs mainly acquire property through donations and grants of land from various sources, which is why a few CLTs in Canada have attained registered charity status. The housing options provided through CLTs are more affordable than at-market housing, since the arrangement removes the cost of the land from the price of the house.
Originally, CLTs in Canada tended to focus on using a particular mixed-tenure arrangement, in which the land is leased on a long-term basis while the buildings are sold to the leaseholders. CLTs have evolved to incorporate a variety of affordable housing models, underpinned by a shared philosophy regarding the importance of permanently affordable housing, collective sharing of resources and equitable access to affordable homeownership and rental housing.