For Immediate Release
Community Land Trust Helps with Home Ownership
Bob and Tina Caldwell have spent a lifetime helping others.
The couple, who have four grown children, made their way to Springfield in 2001 after 30 years of serving in Assemblies of God ministries all over the southwest.
Bob is now an adjunct professor of theology at Global University and a missionary associate with the Assemblies of God World Missions, assigned to Network 211. Tina manages the Goodwill Store on Battlefield. Their youngest, Katie, lives with them and attends Ozarks Technical Community College.
"We owned a home in New Mexico when we were first married," Bob says. "Over the years, through different employment situations and moving around, we haven't been able to own one since. Even now, while we are able to make payments, we really would not have been able to come up with the down payment for a home."
With help from the Springfield Community Land Trust, the Caldwells are preparing to close on their brand-new home at 846 S. New.
"What the Community Land Trust has provided is a way for us to get into this home and own it ourselves," Bob says. "Our monthly payment will be less than our lease on the apartment we've been renting."
A community land trust is essentially an affordable housing program for those who are credit-worthy but have low to moderate incomes, says Brendan Griesemer, Planning and Development manager for the City of Springfield.
"Home ownership stabilizes neighborhoods, " Griesemer says. "Typically, homeowners get involved with their neighborhood organizations. That's important to the City because we want to have healthy, thriving neighborhoods."
The Springfield Community Land Trust, a partnership between the City of Springfield and Community Partnership of the Ozarks, sells renovated or newly built homes on foreclosed properties in center city. While buyers own the house, the land beneath their home belongs to the trust. The homeowner holds rights to the land by paying a small monthly fee through a leasehold agreement.
"What that does is buys down the initial cost of the home by about 20 to 25 percent, which supplements the down payment and opens up the possibility of home ownership for people who don't have a large amount of money set aside for a down payment, " says Terra Erwin, a master's in sociology student who is completing an internship with the Springfield Community Land Trust.
The Springfield Community Land Trust is a unique in that it was formed not because the cost of land in the area is high, but because the median income among Springfield residents is low, Erwin says.
"We have people who are working full time but are still unable to purchase homes," she says. "By the time they get involved with us, they've been looking to buy a house for awhile and they're excited and appreciative that we can finally make it happen for them. The homes in the trust are appraised significantly higher than their purchase price."
Erwin adds that the land trust currently has approximately 20 homes in various stages of development.
"We've sold three so far and have two currently under contract. We have some that haven't been renovated yet," she says. Erwin added that some of the properties, like the Caldwells,' will be demolish-and-rebuild.
"We've watched the construction of this home since they were putting the insulation in," Bob says. "I've been over here just about every day after work to see what's going on with the house. One of the things I appreciate about this program is that even though it's an affordable housing program for people of a little lower income, they didn't go cheap with the materials and construction. They did better than they had to, and we can't wait for this house to officially be ours on April 19."
Griesemer says that the City, through Springfield Community Land Trust, is thrilled to have the ability to help its citizens gain affordable home ownership.
"Up until the land trust was created, there was only one other affordable housing program. For people who were above the minimum income range, there were really no other opportunities. By participating in the land trust program, they're able to reap the benefits of home ownership," he says.
For more information about Springfield Community Land Trust, call Lee Ann Carney at 417-888-2020 or visit www.springfieldclt.org.
View the Caldwell's video story.