South Bend Heritage launches Indiana’s first community land trust

NOW: South Bend Heritage launches Indiana’s first community land trust

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- South Bend needs affordable housing, particularly in its deeper neighborhoods, like the northeast side.

“There's definitely a demand and a need for affordable housing in South Bend," said Kristin Givens, director of marketing and strategic initiatives for South Bend Heritage. "You often see older individuals or people that have been in the neighborhood for a long time, whether they are low- income or just elderly, sometimes they are pushed out of the neighborhood."

The South Bend Heritage Foundation (SBH), working with the Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization Organization and other community partners, created Indiana's first community land trust!

"The areas that we're developing in are areas that need our attention,” Givens said. “So I think it's important for us to stay in the affordable housing space."

Here's how it works:

SBH owns the land where the newly- built homes hit, so the income-qualified buyer gets the home at a fraction of the normal cost, and inherits less of a tax burden too.

Here's the catch:

"The next time this home is sold, it has to be sold to another low-income or income-qualified individual," Givens said.

Previously, SBH found their properties were being resold, and the initial income-qualified buyer collected a fat payout.

"That would lead to-- it would lose its affordability," Givens said.

This new system keeps the properties affordable for generations of South Bend families to come.

“It's a much-needed effort in our area, and so, we're proud to do the work," Givens said.

The community land trust includes two properties so far, one just listed at 705 St. Louis Blvd, and another, getting listed soon, at 719 Turnock. The plan is to expand with more properties in 2024, maybe even townhomes in the trust, Givens said.

To see the properties or learn about the community land trust, an open house is set for Friday from 3-5 p.m. at 705 St. Louis Blvd.

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