Comm. Garcia proposes 1 million dollars for countywide land trust program

Commissioner Adrian Garcia
Commissioner Adrian Garcia

HARRIS COUNTY, TX – May 14th – Commissioner Adrian Garcia has proposed to invest one million dollars in a new Land Trust pilot program that could give Harris County residents an opportunity to own a home.

On Tuesday, Commissioner Garcia requested the court discuss and approve the establishment of a Land Trust Program for Unincorporated Harris County. Under the current proposal, the program would operate as a Community Land Trust (CLT) nonprofit owned by the county and will have the ability to acquire land, including accepting land currently owned by the county. The acquired land will be used to develop affordable housing, which will be made available to low- and moderate-income families at below-market rates. The County will continue to own the land and lease it to the homeowner. In exchange for purchasing a CLT home at an affordable price, buyers agree to resell at a price that is affordable for future low-income owners. A likely scenario would include a 99-year lease that may be renewed and inherited.

“My Precinct has the highest percentage of renters among all 4 precincts. Most residents rent because they cannot afford to own and I want to change this. This type of program makes homeownership accessible to those who may not be able to do it otherwise,” said Commissioner Garcia.

“One of the most significant driving factors of gentrification in Harris County is the cost of land. By offering the opportunity to own and pay taxes on only the improvements and providing the land for a low-priced lease, Harris County will be providing an opportunity for housing that will remain affordable in perpetuity,” said Commissioner Garcia.

Commissioners Court authorized Harris County Engineering, the Community Services Department, and the County Attorney to establish the land trust, and create policies and procedures to determine how it will work. Harris County would be setting aside one million dollars for the program with each Precinct receiving $250,000.