CHT is excited to bring Dr. Theresa Williamson of Catalytic Communities to Burlington for a presentation and discussion on how the community land trust model is addressing housing insecurity in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro as part of our 35th anniversary celebration. The event will be at Contois Auditorium at Burlington’s City Hall from 7pm to 8:30 on Thursday, November 14. It is free to the public and all are welcome to attend.

Her presentation, “Could Community Land Trusts be the Answer to the Housing Crisis in the Global South?”, draws and builds upon models developed here in Burlington and will be followed by a panel of guests including CHT’s Brenda Torpy; John Emmeus Davis who has traveled the world consulting on CLTs; and City Councilor Brian Pine, who was Burlington’s Housing Director for years.

The CLT model has shown itself to be resilient and adaptable, without ever losing its core tenets and clear objective: guaranteeing permanently affordable housing that builds community. With the price of land escalating worldwide and threatening people’s access to shelter, Community Land Trusts are now being explored more than ever as a way to protect vulnerable communities. In Brazil, residents of the informal settlements knowns as favelas are considering and applying the CLT model after-the-fact.  In this talk specially developed for her visit to the Champlain Housing Trust, Dr. Williamson will present the historical realities and current struggles of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, and how a model so close to home may just offer a revolutionary solution to communities half a world away.


Theresa Williamson, Ph.D. is a city planner and founding executive director of Catalytic Communities (CatComm), an NGO working to support Rio de Janeiro’s favelas through asset-based community development. She is a longtime advocate for the recognition of the favelas’ heritage status and their residents’ right to be treated as equal citizens, has received numerous awards and has been published several times including four op-eds in The New York Times.