The North Gulfport Community Land Trust was founded in 2004 by Rose Johnson, an African American woman who grew up in a predominantly low-income African American community where "a village raised a child". She had grown up in a time and a place where community members knew they could rely on each other to get through the hard times and folks would come together and celebrate when times were good.
Over the last few decades though, she had watched her community flood more and more each year. She had witnessed developers move into her community, fill the surrounding wetlands and build shopping centers and hotels upon them, and her community suffered more and more each year.
Rose decided that she must rise above this wetlands destruction and the destruction of her community. She was soon recognized locally and nationally as a protector of environment and a protector of community. In 2004 Rose discovered the community land trust movement and recognized it as a tool for furthering her efforts to protect her community as well as the surrounding wetlands.
The North Gulfport Community Land Trust (NGCLT) is one of over 200 community land trusts (clt's) around the nation working to provide permanently afforable housing and community preservation. This we accomplish through the clt ground lease and resale restriction. The clt model has been recognized nationwide as the best model for providing affordable housing for low and moderate-income individuals and families because the subsidy that is used to make the purchase of the home affordable remains with the property in perpetuity, thus presrving the affordability forever.
Affordable housing is not all we do though. In an effort to revitalize the North Gulfport community and address the immediate needs of community members, we recognize that housing is not the only issue. We have been working tirelessly on our other projects that include leadership development and environmental protection and awareness.
In a recent strategic planning session the NGCLT Board and Staff recognized that we must focus, over the coming years, on three major campaigns: land acquisition, environmental awareness and protection, and community education.
A community land trust owns land and holds it in perpetuity. It improves the land with affordable housing and any other developments necessary for community revitalization. The NGCLT has been and is in the process of acquiring scattered parcels of land throughout the North Gulfport community that it is developing with affodable housing and other projects to benefit the community.
The "yellow house" at 2806 Monroe is the first community land trust home to be sold in Mississippi. This house was originally located 7 miles away from its current location. It was donated to the NGCLT, we picked it up and moved it, restored it, and now it is occupied by our first client. Sarah will soon purchase the home from the NGCLT for roughly 1/2 its appraised value.
When Veronica Mulazeem came on staff at the NGCLT, we had no idea what we were in for. Less than a month after beginning as a staff member, she formed the North Gulfport Community Youth Council.
The Youth Council then began taking on projects throughout the community. They started working with senior citizens, they started building a positive relationship with the local police, they started and Afro-centric studies program, and they started their own wetland protection program. Once in a while they took time out to have fun together! They have done so many great projects in this community that their efforts have been captured repeatedly in local and national media. Hats off to Veronica and the Youth Council!
Environmental Protection and Awareness
Anyone who knows Rose Johnson and the NGCLT, knows that the wetlands come first. Rose has been fighting for the protection of her wetlands for decades as she knows that the wetlands protect her community from flooding and stormwater.
Though we try to avoid being controversial at the NGCLT, we know that we must do whatever possible to protect our surrounding wetlands as others may not be totally aware of their importance.
We have been very successful at organizing hundreds of community members from within North Gulfport and beyond, in an effort to protect our precious wetlands. This would never be possible without our innumerable partners including Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights under the Law, Sierra Club, Mississippi Center for Justice, Gulf Restoration Network, and many, many more.