The History of the Home Trust is best told in the words of its Founders.
Reminiscences from Lee Sturdivant, one of a handful of movers and shakers behind the establishment of the San Juan Community Home Trust and a Board Member Emeritus:
“I first heard about a Community Land Trust through Lisa Byers when she led the early OPAL effort on Orcas. I was fascinated by the idea of “permanently affordable” housing and just what that might offer in an island community of ever increasing rents and house prices. Could this be a way to help keep a diverse island community ?
Jim Lawrence and I attended several meetings about getting a CLT started on San Juan Island. Stacy Markman got us together with others, but we weren’t at all sure how to get it going here. We had endless meetings about “the problem”, but no real results. Then one Saturday morning Jim Lawrence introduced me to Larry Soll at Jim’s market tomato stall. They were talking about ”the problem” and I joined in. Bingo.
Soon after we were meeting at my house over soup and Larry turned our idle talk into reality by expressing a willingness to add start-up financial backing and business sense that any such effort so desperately needs. Soon after, two local builders, Mark Hetrick and Peter Kilpatrick joined in.
It is now 29 permanently affordable homes and several years later, with the third Home Trust project in full swing, and time to stop and give a big salute to Larry Soll and Nancy Maron for their willingness to back such an awesome community program. And to Mark and Peter for making it a reality. Sure, the Home Trust might have happened without them, but it’s very hard to imagine quite how.”
“What Lee wrote about says it all. The introduction of Larry and Lee at the farmers market was huge. Larry was and is magnificent. So’s Lee. Actually what’s made the HT work well is the people and the great combinations of good people. Pete has been close to sainthood as Nancy is as well. I feel like I’m at the academy awards and don’t want to leave anyone out. There have been great people with great hearts who’ve worked really hard to bring a rewarding success to the HT.
The community has also been a wonderful support. There have been several local anonymous donors who have literally saved us at very crucial moments. We are lucky to live in this community.” – Jim Lawrence