Housing & Community Development

Harnessing our common need for land, shelter, and community 
through sustainable stewardship.

Liz Curry launched CommonLand Solutions, LLC to meet the needs of organizations, nonprofits, municipalities, and cooperatives for comprehensive housing and community development services. Curry’s work is grounded in the principles of the commons – the belief that community stewardship is our responsibility to sustain the physical, cultural, and natural resources we create and consume, for future generations.

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About CommonLand Solutions

CommonLand offers 25 years of experience, technical skills, pragmatic solutions, and systems thinking to tackle housing and community development challenges so that clients can strengthen their organizational impact, portfolios, and meet their community development goals.

 

I grew up in big cities with the benefits of close-knit neighborhoods, mostly in Pittsburgh, where steel mills, ethnic and cultural neighborhoods, and the civil rights movement shaped my values of economic, racial, and social justice and equity. While living in Washington DC as a teen and young adult I gained a deep sense of how people with the power to control others’ living situations can either create or squash the conditions that lead to safe, secure, and equitable neighborhoods.

With an academic background in land use policy and zoning, I entered the work world as a carpenter, housing inspector, and rehab specialist while homelessness surfaced as a symptom of how our real estate system creates winners and losers based on race and income. At that time, Burlington’s and Vermont’s community land trust movement emerged as a solution, borrowing from the First Nations' concept of "the commons", and introducing a mechanism to remove land and homes from the speculative market to ensure that current and future generations safe, secure, and affordable housing tenure and neighborhoods.

Following Burlington's example, Vermont's housing and farmland activists designed statewide housing policies that integrate the use of deed covenants and easements to ensure perpetual access to land for affordable housing, farmland, natural area preservation, and outdoor recreation. The legal codification of land access is rooted in the African American community, which founded the first land trust in the 1960s to create economic security through land ownership for Black farmers. They borrowed from communal land ownership models in India, Israel, and native tribes.

 

While the land trust sector’s growth exploded, the community development field recognized that housing alone can’t solve the structural, racial, and economic disenfranchisement of people forced to the margins of our society. Community-based development seeks to engage and center the voices of marginalized communities at its core, a principle incorporated into other community development tools like Community Development Finance Institutions, micro-business lenders, and cooperative ownership models as economic empowerment tools. In Vermont's rural economy,  these entities work collaboratively through a technical assistance infrastructure aimed at sustaining a healthy rural society.

CommonLand Solutions’ brings these tools and values to its clients, to deliver expertise in affordable housing and community development. Services include planning and project management, convening partners, financial packaging, and securing funding for nonprofits, municipalities, and cooperatives to make housing, infrastructure, and community facility projects happen.

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Town of Westford, VT

Secured a $466,194 grant funding from Northern Borders Regional Commission-EDA for Community Wastewater Infrastructure

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Spectrum Youth & Family Services

Secured Project-Based Section 8 Vouchers for eight rooms in Homeless Youth Housing

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Rutland Housing Authority

Secured Covid-Relief Grant and provided pre-development services for Homeless-Health Care Bridge Housing Program

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East Calais Community Trust

Development consulting and financial packaging services for revitalizing local economy with historic preservation, economic development, and affordable housing

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City Roots Community Land Trust

Business plan development and sustainable financial modeling for  Rochester, NY community land trust in start-up phase

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Early Care Learning Partnership

VT Community Development Program planning grant application for rural community child care assessment and adaptive reuse of elementary school

Organizational Description
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Cooperative Development Institute

Project management, grant administration, and financial sustainability analyses for infrastructure redevelopment in two manufactured home park cooperatives  

Lamoille
Community House

Comprehensive project development consulting services for LCH's offices, programatic space, and emergency housing  for individuals and families who need temporary housing.

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Town of Lamoille Skatepark

Developed $190,000 Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative grant application to redevelop municipal skatepark to state-of-the-art regional facility.

Expertise in planning and implementing projects and services

which further the community stewardship of affordable housing,

land, historic buildings, and infrastructure.

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Have a new project in mind? From advising during project development to helping you find grants and financing solutions, CommonLand Solutions can assist your community with converting ideas into tangible and successful projects. CommonLand Solutions delivers directly and through partnerships the following services:

  • Project planning, feasibility, financing packaging, permitting, and management;

  • Grant writing, administration, and compliance;

  • Financial packaging and restructuring portfolio assets including building commissioning and clean energy technical assistance to reduce energy-related costs;

  • Procuring and managing development and construction teams;

  • Connecting you with partners and funding resources; 

  • Market research and analysis.

Strategic Consulting Partnerships

Collaborations with other consultants allow CommonLand to provide the robust capabilities that community development projects often require. Through strategic partnerships with Peterson Consulting, Amy Wright Consulting, and Cx Associates, Inc. CommonLand can offer a broader network and more depth of expertise and services in:​

  • Multifamily and manufactured home park portfolio financing projections and packaging;

  • Building energy commissioning and energy engineering; and

  • Capital Needs Assessments and owner's representation /construction project management services.

 CommonLand Solutions is an approved consultant for the VT Housing & Conservation Board's Rural Economic Development Initiative.

 CommonLand Solutions and Cx Associates are an approved team as Enterprise Green Communities Technical Assistance Providers for 2021.

Consulting Services and Partners: 

A Comprehensive Approach

CommonLand Solutions 
Recent Clients 2020 - 2021

Spectrum, Rutland, CRCLT, and ECCT were collaborations with Brian Pine, of Pine Consulting, LLC

"Liz led an interfaith coalition in the Town of Shelburne through the process of developing the town's first permanently affordable multifamily community, combined with the redevelopment and preservation of a historic mixed-use town-owned building. This project stands out to me because of the way in which Liz handled the community relationships, building strong engagement, support, and good-will with both the interfaith members and Town officials...In addition to her extensive and very pertinent experience and successes, I would add that I have rarely worked with someone of her keen intellect and the courage to take on any challenge. Liz is a pleasure to work with and would be an asset to any community development project requiring advanced skills and a commitment to social justice."

Brenda Torpy, founder and recent past CEO of Champlain Housing Trust

Contact Me

Burlington, VT 05401

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