Luis Oyola Named Director of the Piedmont Community Land Trust

After a lengthy search, Luis Oyola has been selected as the next Director of the Piedmont Community Land Trust (PCLT). Most recently, Luis served as Director of Organizing at the Legal Aid Justice Center.

Luis has been a community organizer and advocate in the Charlottesville area since he arrived from Puerto Rico in 2008. His experience has taken him from advocating for a living wage at the University of Virginia, to solidarity with Black Lives Matter, responding to white supremacist violence in the summer of 2017, advancing immigrant rights policy, and more. Affordable housing has always been a common thread in his years of organizing, namely in his volunteer support of the Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR) and the predominantly immigrant community of Southwood.

It was during his years of supporting PHAR that a community elder once told him “land is the key,” which has proven true with the correlation of increasing land value in the Charlottesville area and increased cost of living. This sent Luis down a long path of research on land ownership models that preserve affordability and put development in the hands of the community. Chief among these models is the community land trust, which became a source of ideas and inspiration, and is now a reality as he joins the PCLT and Piedmont Housing as a new leader.

Luis also brings years of project management, organizational leadership, developing race equity initiatives, and supervision from his Development Coordinator role at CustomInk and his Director of Organizing role at Legal Aid Justice Center. In his role as PCLT’s Director, he will use this mix of grassroots organizing and formal organizational leadership to create and preserve a permanent supply of affordable homes in the Charlottesville and develop the community’s understanding of land trusts as one crucial tool among many in placemaking for low-income communities.

Luis began his new role PCLT November 27, 2023.