In 2008, with foreclosures skyrocketing in Boston, particularly in neighborhoods with high percentages of lower income and Black and Latino households, a number of tenant, community, and advocacy organizations and community development professionals came together and formed the Coalition for Occupied Homes in Foreclosure (COHIF). The goal of COHIF was to keep homeowners and tenants in their homes during and after the foreclosure process, thereby promoting household and community stability. Originally formed as an advocacy organization, COHIF and partners advocated for several years for tenant protections and resources to create permanently affordable housing in low-income communities and communities of color. In response to community need and the lack of capacity of other groups, COHIF decided to move beyond advocacy and to purchase and renovate several occupied foreclosed homes in Dorchester and maintain them as rental housing, with the support of the City of Boston. Following the success of this initial pilot project, COHIF began to seek additional opportunities to develop affordable housing and stabilize neighborhoods.
Over the past year, in consultation with residents and community partners, COHIF made the decision to transform itself into the Boston Neighborhood Community Land Trust (BNCLT) and to acquire and renovate bank-owned homes and other properties and convert them into community-controlled, permanently affordable housing, under the community land trust model. A city-wide land trust, BNCLT is currently prioritizing acquisition of properties along the Fairmount Corridor, which includes Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan, communities facing displacement and continued real estate speculation.
With a resident-led Board of Directors and the support of the affordable housing and tenants rights movement, BNCLT serves as a model of resident ownership and community control where housing is a right, not a profit vehicle. We are doing more than holding up that model: we are building it from the ground up.
In 2008, with foreclosures skyrocketing in Boston, particularly in neighborhoods with high percentages of lower income and Black and Latino households, a number of tenant, community, and advocacy organizations and community development…