Skip to content

On Common Ground: Grounded Solutions Network CEO Pens Essay, Adds Racial Justice Context

Grounded Solutions Network CEO Tony Pickett

Wealth and land ownership in America has historically been tied to systemic racism, segregation and targeted African-American exclusion from homeownership – with present-day Black Lives Matter 

 protests for justice reminiscent of the Civil Rights Movement – according to Grounded Solutions Network CEO Tony Pickett and leading housing advocates around the world in a new book tracing the global growth of community-led development on community-owned land.

Pickett joined forces with forty-two scholars and practitioners from a dozen countries to author On Common Ground, International Perspectives on the Community Land Trust, a collection of twenty-six original essays tracing the international growth and diversification of the community land trust model.

“It is important that evidence of racial inequities in land access and housing quality is examined globally and collectively to inform scalable solutions that increase access for Black and Brown communities,” said Pickett, adding that the Community Land Trust (CLT) model promotes wealth building, permanently retaining public resources for community needs while advancing racial and economic justice.

In his chapter, “The Burden of Patience in a Long March Toward Racial Justice,” Pickett discusses how once legally-segregated communities of color were subjected to redlining and restrictive covenants related to government-backed FHA mortgages, setting the stage for predatory subprime home mortgage lending and contributing to a well-documented and expansive racial wealth gap that remains throughout America.  He additionally highlights how CLT’s increasingly serve and economically benefit families of color, countering the combined impacts of long-term, bias-driven housing outcomes of foreclosure, displacement, and gentrification.  An excerpt is below:

“…The shared equity housing sector, of which CLTs make up a major part, now boasts a track record of equitable performance, whereby resale-restricted, owner-occupied homes are increasingly benefiting lower-income families of color. This represents indisputable proof that the CLT model can be effective in addressing our nation’s documented racial wealth gap for African-American households. These benefits will remain limited to a small fraction of the population, however, unless our programs are expanded in capacity and unless our portfolios are increased. We need to focus on such practical aspects as standardization of shared equity mortgages, consistent governmental guidelines for resale formulas, a uniform appraisal methodology, access to greater amounts of dedicated public funding, greater access to private commercial financing, and increased attention to the sustainability of our organizations. 

Unless we rise to the challenge of shared equity expansion, a majority of Americans still suffering the impact of discrimination-and those who are most in need of quality housing-will remain untouched by our efforts.”

Additional information about On Common Ground is available here. 

To listen to an audio excerpt of Pickett’s chapter, “The Burden of Patience in a Long March Toward Racial Justice,” please visit here.

To view a video conversation with Pickett and On Common Ground Editor John Emmeus Davis, visit here

Leave a Comment