Thank you for your interest in Pahali Community Land Trust.

We are currently preparing for a 2019 public launch of a community land trust (CLT) in East Palo Alto.  We have posted this backgrounder in response to a spate of attention triggered by recent press coverage.  For more information, or to support the launch, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   It will be a pleasure to correspond or talk in person.

Mission Statement

Pahali’s mission is placekeeping for local placekeepers; serving the region, focusing on East Palo Alto.  Pahali CLT orchestrates procurement of affordable homes for proven local justice practitioners who can anchor and sustain a community of practice to secure EPA's legacy and destiny as a just city, and assure this resource of permanently affordable homes will chain forward place-security for future generations’ advocates.

What’s in a name?

*PAHALI is an acronym for the legal name Preserving Affordable Housing Longterm, Inc..  Pahali is also a Swahili word that means “place.” The name is an intentional reference to African-American roots of the community land trust movement in the United States and to the African-American leadership of the establishment of self-governance for East Palo Alto residents; and establishment of policies and civic institutions to sustain economic and cultural diversity and balance the forces of displacement.

What’s a community land trust?

A community land trust (CLT) is a not-for-profit organization that acquires and holds land in perpetuity on behalf of the community for housing and other community serving purposes.  Typically, the CLT land-leases the land to homeowners or community based organizations who own the buildings; and the land-lease includes provisions that restrict the resale price of any buildings in order to assure permanent affordability.  The classic CLT model features a general membership which selects 1/3 of the board of directors, complementing another 1/3 selected by CLT residents and 1/3 selected by the board.

Launch Status

  • Our founding board is recruiting a full board—comprising the classic CLT balance of community leaders and advocates, angels and domain-savvy professionals, and current and prospective owners/resident in CLT homes.
  • We are taking title to our first two acquired CLT parcels, each land-leased to a lower-income homeowner—being transferred from our incubation partner, Northern California Land Trust (NCLT).
  • We are negotiating an administrative and property management services contract with an established local non-profit housing developer—an intentionally lean and collaborative staffing model.
  • We are preparing to establish a digital presence—generally embargoed pre-launch (our apologies) except for this posting and brief mentions through NCLT and the Bay Area Consortium of Community Land Trusts.
  • We are currently scaffolding five additional prototype projects, each scheduled to reach major milestones in 2019:
    • Development of an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) at one of our CLT homes
    • Discount purchase of a highly-appreciated rental home from a local “mom and pop” landlord, then resale to the long-time tenant at an affordable price
    • Rescue purchase of a foreclosed home unjustly sold at trustee sale, then resale back to the homeowner through a lease-with-option-to-purchase
    • Discount purchase of a home built by long-time community supporters, now relocating, to anchor a scattered-site affordable homeownership coop
    • Construction of a ten-condo housing coop targeted to next generation community leadership, including scholar-in-residence quarters for “just city” research/writing
  • We are laying the foundation for a capital campaign that will raise five-year bridge loans for these projects, as well as permanent legacy donations to swap out the bridge loans.

Bona Fides

If you are doing due diligence, considering supporting our launch, we hope you will contact us directly.  We do understand your sensible desire to research our bona fides. 

  • You will discover that our tax exempt (501c3) status is in effect. However, if you would be more comfortable donating or grant-making or working through our incubation partner, NCLT is ready and willing—we will welcome donations, grants, loans, investments, leads to catalytic projects.
  • You will discover that our tax returns for prior years are just a bunch of zeroes, because we did not have reason to activate our dormant corporate shell until July 2018.
  • To oversee the launch, Pahali has tapped, as founding board: Duane Bay, former mayor and former director of the county housing department; Ofelia Bello, an urban planner who is an East Palo Alto native and early graduate of our local Eastside College Preparatory School; and Mark Moulton, the founding director of Peninsula Habitat for Humanity (since merged to form HfH Greater Bay Area), who led projects to build 33 Habitat homes in East Palo Alto and raise $25 million for affordable homeownership.



Pahali CLT: Duane Bay, Executive Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  650-804-0932

NCLT: Francis McIlveen, Program Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  510-548-7878 ext 369