Fideicomiso Comunitario Tierra Libre training session

Greetings from the Board of Directors. My name is Fanny Guzman Ortiz and I’m one of the Co-President of the Board of Directors of FCTL. It is my pleasure to introduce you to our organization and give you a little bit of background about our origins and where we things stand now. Our organization just launched this website and we’re working on publishing more content for our members and supporters. Please follow us on social media as well and we’ll do our best to keep you in the loop of our current and upcoming work.

Origins and Timeline of Organizational Development:

Fideicomiso Comunitario Tierra Libre (FCTL) joined the California Community Land Trust Network (CACLTN) and I joined the CACLTN Board of Directors. As a Community Land Trust that is working to address the systemic disinvestment of our community and the impacts of COVID19, I believe FCTL needs to work locally and statewide. On a local level we understand issues and solutions based on the experiences of our members and community. On a statewide level we learn from the diverse groups of organizations that share a common mission of achieving racial, social and economic justice. Both local and statewide organizing helps us implement strategies around leadership development, community land stewardship, and alternative housing models. These strategies are essential because they empower residents to stay in their neighborhood, build collective generational wealth, and define the future of their community.

In January of 2020, during the convening at Oakland we held discussions on the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) to intentionally build a strategy to pass TOPA locally and statewide.

Immediately following the CACLTN convening, all five local Community Land Trusts (CLTs), Trust South Los Angeles (TRUSTSLA), El Sereno Community Land Trust (ESCLT), Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust (BVCLT), Liberty Community Land Trust (LCLT) and FCTL started meeting and decided to create the Los Angeles Community Land Trust Coalition (LACLTC). As a coalition we decided to work locally to pass a local version of the Tenant Opportunity Right to Purchase (TOPA) the formation of the LACLTC is the unique opportunity to shift housing policies towards community control.

In March 2020, FCTL as member of Community Power Collective (CPC) joined the Coalition of HealthyLA in response to the current conditions brought about from the COVID-19 global pandemic, and the systemic racism that capitalizes on the back of the working class people of color by criminalizing, killing, extracting wealth, and marginalizing our communities. FCTL has been actively pushing for the cancelation of rent and mortgages to secure an inclusive recovery plan for the most vulnerable in our communities and to have a chance to survive during and after the pandemic by staying housed.

In June of 2020, FCTL officially signed an Memorandum of Understanding with Restore Neighborhoods Los Angeles Incorporation (RNLA) for the acquisition of ownership of the three empty lots in Boyle Heights.

In November 10, 2020 the LACLTC won $14 million to acquire properties eligible for acquisition and rehabilitation of at risk housing through the expansion of the Community Land Trust Pilot Program from the LA County Board of Supervisors. The expansion will help Community Land Trusts acquire properties across LA County and help protect our neighborhoods from corporate interest and help tenants stay in their homes.

In December 2020, FCTL in partnership with Little Tokyo Service Center Community Developer Corporation (LTSC CDC) placed a bid to acquire a multi-family building in East Los Angeles in need of rehabilitation.

Now, a year later and 10 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, FCTL is more vested in making sure the collective work we are envisioning for community ownership and community control of land and housing continuous through the passing of local and statewide policies with the collective support of the coalitions we have built. Our infrastructure is growing. We now have a full time staff and a half time staff member. We have fundraised close to $1 million with the LACLTC, which of that FCTL will receive $150,036.

In January 2021, FCTL will join CACLTN to advocate and pass of SB 1079 to ask the State of California Budget Committee to allocate $103.5 million for CLTs and Community Development Corporations (CDCs) for the preservation of housing and pre-development acquisition and rehabilitation of at risk housing to intervene in the foreclosure auction process in order to keep homeowners and tenants in small 1-4 unit buildings from losing their housing and becoming homeless. Currently there’s 6,000 properties in California in some stage of foreclosure.

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