On Friday March 4, more than thirty community partners gathered in the Perkins Centre in East Hamilton for a 1/2-day conference to discuss creative solutions for developing and preserving affordable housing and other community assets in the city. At the centre of this discussion was the community land trust model and its role in supporting the work of existing local players in real estate, housing, and community development. Our approach was to bring together those with the necessary resources, expertise and formal authority to help us develop and implement a plan of action to move the land trust forward.
Partners with representatives in attendance included:
- Anne Tennier Consulting
- City of Hamilton
- Community Forward Fund
- Environment Hamilton
- Evergreen CityWorks
- Hamilton Community Garden Network
- Hamilton Community Legal Clinic
- Hamilton Victory Gardens
- Kiwanis Homes
- Neighbourhood Action Strategy
- Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust (Toronto)
- REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington
- Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton
- Tim Welch Consulting
- w5th Equity Management
- Victoria Park Non-Profit Homes
- YWCA Hamilton
Divided into multiple discussion groups, attendees worked together to identify and problem-solve issues. Topics of discussion ranged from the general to the specific – from city-wide to local, street-level problems, including: development roles and partners, business models, land trust governance, and housing models and finance.
A fifth session took a somewhat different approach – that of a mini-charrette, one with the goal of determining potential uses and considerations for a real-world property that the land trust may be in a position to acquire. In other words, what could potentially be built on a property like that to maximize its use and impact? What potential issues may need to be overcome? What partners and funding sources could be drawn upon? What sort of a timeline should be expected? These are the questions the group set out to answer.
Participants and Hamilton Community Land Trust organizers left the conference with a renewed sense of energy and feeling of collaboration in tackling some of the city’s most pressing issues.