Community land trusts (CLTs) are place-based nonprofits that hold land in perpetuity on behalf of a community. CLTs can help preserve affordability in hot markets and help revitalize neighborhoods in cold markets. Despite their potential,only a handful of the nation’s more than 220 CLTs hold over 50 housing units in their portfolios. Moreover, while there has been significant research on the formation and impact of CLTs, less has been written on either the obstacles that have stymied the growth of existing CLTs or the strategies used by the handful of CLT leaders who have significantly expanded their group’s housing portfolios. This report aims to fill these gaps via literature reviews and interviews with leaders of 10 notable CLTs and other experts in the field. I find the strategies taken by these leaders to fall into five “macro strategies”for scaling-up:

  • Secure the support of local public officials,-Use mixed portfolios and programs,
  • Leverage partnerships,
  • Reducing reliance on grants, and
  • Advocate as a collective movement.

While these “macro strategies” were broadly similar across organizations, each leader’s specific tactics depended on the housing market of their CLT’s service area, their larger goals for the organization, and their assessment of the needs of the communities served by their CLT.