Last spring, the City of Roseville invited homeowners to consider selling to a new affordable housing program that would help the next generation of families achieve the dream of homeownership.
The city, partnering with nonprofit Twin Cities Habitat For Humanity, hoped to acquire and update four homes and sell them to qualifying families. City staff mailed 900 letters to homeowners explaining the new program, called a land trust.
No one knew quite what to expect.
The warm and welcoming community response dramatically exceeded expectations with 11 Roseville homeowners agreeing to sell their properties to the new Community Land Trust program.
“It’s been phenomenal. We’ve been very happy with the community response,” said Roseville’s Housing and Economic Development Program Manager Jeanne Kelsey.
One young family has purchased and moved into their new Roseville home and Habitat is working on updates for the other ten properties with the goal of selling to new qualifying families in the coming year. The program is also helping seniors who are interested in downsizing but have been dissuaded by the cost of repairs needed to sell their home.
“It’s been a win-win. Everyone who has gone through the program has been able to walk away without having to have to make repairs,” Kelsey said.
The land trust is one way Roseville leaders are working to promote housing choices and foster an inclusive community. The Roseville City Council has proclaimed April as Fair Housing Month to commemorate the passage of the Federal Fair Housing Act on 1968, which prohibited discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing.
“The location where people live has a direct impact on the quality of their health, education and access to economic opportunities,” according to the proclamation. “The City Council establishes the City of Roseville as an inclusive community committed to fair housing.”
Roseville's Economic Development Authority entered into the partnership with Habitat in the fall of 2021, setting aside more than $1 million in community development block grants, EDA funds and federal pandemic aid to launch the land trust. City leaders had made significant efforts to complete affordable rental projects in the city and were now interested in focusing on affordable homeownership. The city and Habitat decided to focus on homes valued at $300,000 or less.
A land trust keeps thing affordable because families purchase the home structure, but the parcel is held in the land trust. If the family sells the home, they gain some equity through an equity-sharing formula with the trust. Homes in the trust can only be sold to income-qualifying families.
Roseville leaders chose to partner with Habitat because they’re experts at remodels and repairs including new siding, interior paint, new furnaces and kitchen upgrades. All homes undergo a full environmental assessment to ensure they’re safe for new families and young children.
Habitat also works closely with its would-be buyers helping them learn about the finances and upkeep that go into homeownership. Both the city of Roseville and Habitat are providing funds to make the remodeled homes affordable.
Roseville resident Thelma Boeder was the first homeowner to sell her family home to the land trust and her former rambler is the first one to be purchased by a new family. The retired archivist, who moved to a nearby senior condo, she wanted the beloved three-bedroom rambler to go to another family.
“This program aligns with my ideas of what cities can do to promote equity,” Boeder said when she sold her property. “I got a very reasonable price, didn’t have to pay realtor fees and I didn’t have to do any kind of staging.”
Interested in selling your home to improve housing affordability?
Contact Jeanne Kelsey at 651-792-7086 or firstname.lastname@example.org.