ALT sells the house to a family or individual and provides the homebuyer with a 99-year renewable ground lease for the land. The ALT homeowner has full use of the land and can pass the home to their heirs just like any other homeowner. But if the homeowner decides to sell the house, ALT will buy the house back from them or help them find an income-eligible income family or individual to purchase the home.
ALT homes are available for families and individuals that earn no more than 80% of the area’s median income. See the chart below for the maximum family household income limit in our area. Our homeownership clients generally have a minimum credit score of 640 and the ability to make a small down payment. ALT will work with you to determine your eligibility for the program and will connect you with a lender to complete the process. Please note there is a waiting list for homes, but we have several homes under construction.
Maximum annual household Income for ALT program eligibility by household size
(Based on 2022 limits for Athens-Clarke County):
So, if you are a family of four and the total annual household income is less than $61,500, you are eligible for our program.
ALT homes are less expensive than other houses on the market. By making monthly mortgage payments, ALT’s homeownership clients have the opportunity to build (and pass on) equity. They are able to exit the rental market and enjoy the stability and predictability of homeownership. If they sell their homes, they make a modest profit (based on the ALT resale formula) that can be used for their next home purchase. ALT is a long-term resource for ALT homeowners. We have a 0% foreclosure rate among our clients. We are here to help you succeed.
Retaining ownership of the land allows ALT to keep the house affordable to low- to moderate-income households in perpetuity. The ground lease between ALT and the homebuyer contains a provision that states if the homeowner wishes to sell the home, they are required to sell it back to ALT or to another income-qualified household. In this way, ALT can ensure that the home is always occupied by an income-eligible family. The ground lease is the legal instrument that enables this.
Most of the houses we have built or rehabilitated are in the Hancock Corridor, West Broad neighborhood, or East Athens. Our work is not restricted to those neighborhoods – we’ll work anywhere in Athens-Clarke County.
ALT works with families and individuals making below 80% of Area Median Income. Our ground lease model enables us to keep those homes affordable to income-eligible families in perpetuity. It also ensures the homes are always occupied by the homeowners. This means that ALT homes never turn into student rentals or investment properties. ALT homes are not used as comparisons for appraisals or tax assessments, so while the neighborhood benefits from having problem properties fixed up, they do not suffer from increased property taxes because of these new or renovated homes.
Don’t let a low credit score keep you from reaching out to us. All ALT applicants attend a free information session, participate in a homebuyer education class, and participate in one-on-one housing counseling. This often includes helping applicants rebuild their credit and improve their credit scores. ALT’s housing counselors will work individually with applicants to address credit problems.
Interestingly enough, Community Land Trusts like ALT were started as a way to address the lack of power that sharecropping had created in Black communities in Georgia. The first CLT, New Communities, Inc., was organized by civil rights activists in the 1960s in Albany, Georgia to enable Black sharecroppers who had lost their homes and jobs to register to vote. Community Land Trusts are formed to hold land for the benefit of those that often don’t have access to ownership or control. Our homeowners are able to build equity and move out of rental situations, allowing them more stability and opportunities.
If you are interested in learning more about the history of Community Land Trusts, here are a few resources:
“The Community Land Trust Model and Movement” https://groundedsolutions.org/tools-for-success/resource-library/community-land-trust-model-and-movement
“The Black History of Community Land Trusts” https://www.northwestclt.org/post/the-black-history-of-community-land-trusts
“Real Power is in the Land: Community Land Trusts—Past, Present and Future” https://www.lisc.org/our-stories/story/real-power-is-in-the-land-community-land-trustspast-present-and-future/
“Roots of the CLT: Origins & Evolution of the Community Land Trust in the United States” https://www.burlingtonassociates.com/home-slides/roots-of-the-clt