2014 Annual Report
Over the past year the Home Trust has made significant organizational progress on a number of fronts.
Stewardship of our Homes: The largest component of the Home Trust’s mission of creating permanently affordable homes involves the stewardship of our existing homes in order to insure affordability to our current and future homeowners. This is most telling at the time of resale. There were four re-sales in 2014 (and another one in progress). All the homes sold were offered to people on the Home Trust waiting list, all of whom had been determined to meet the eligibility requirements. In each case, the first person to be offered the home accepted!
The Home Trust is happy to celebrate that the first phase of Salal is ten years old this year! It is looking lovely as the landscaping has grown and homeowners have begun using their maintenance reserve funds for repainting – and there are some new and vibrant colors- and roof maintenance is underway as well.
Data management: The Home Trust received a grant in 2013 from the National CLT Network to begin using a program tailored for Community Land Trusts (CLTs) called Homekeeper. In 2014 the Home Trust entered the data for all its 29 properties and 42 sales, including all data about appraisals, construction grants, mortgage amounts and other secondary homebuyer financing; income information for our homebuyers at the time of sale, demographic data, and re-sale information.
There are 52 CLT programs across the country using Homekeeper data to demonstrate the social impact of their programs, both individually and collectively. The Home Trust can now show (among other things) that 91% of all community investment is long-term, that our average household is at 61% of Area Median Income, and that on average, the houses are appraised at $70,000 more than the sale price.
We are also using a Homekeeper as a tool to manage the growing waiting list of applicants, and tracking all the steps required in applying for a mortgage and buying a home.
2nd Annual Fiesta Fundraiser: Los Bambinos returned for the 2nd Annual Fiesta San Juan on July 5th. The event was even better than 2013, with a large tent outdoors at the Brickworks allowing us to accommodate 250 people. There was great music, delicious food, a terrific silent auction and a great show of community and volunteer support! Approximately $14,000 was raised towards our operational budget.
Grants: A $40,000 grant was awarded to the Home Trust this fall from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). CCHD supports organizations where low-income people participate on the governing board – and since Community Land Trusts aim to have one-third of Board members residents of the homes, CLTs are a good fit. The funds will be used for operations, for Board members to participate in the NWCLT Coalition fall conference, and towards the design of Phase 2 of Sun Rise.
Partnerships and Collaboration: The Home Trust is a member of the National CLT Network, the NW Community Land Trust Coalition, and the San Juan County CLT Alliance. Home Trust Executive Director Nancy DeVaux is on the Board of Directors of the NWCLT Coalition, which meets monthly via conference calls with Board members from Washington, Oregon and Montana. For the past year they have been planning the fall, 2014 gathering in West Glacier Montana. Thanks in part to the grant from the CCHD; five people affiliated with the Home Trust are attending: staff members Nancy DeVaux and Heather Cain, and Board members Peter Kilpatrick, Chinmayo, and Dina Melic. The conference takes place September 22-24 and will offer courses on a variety of topics ranging from Mortgage Lending to Resident Engagement. Several courses will be led by National CLT Network staff.
Planning for more homes: Most exciting are our plans for adding more 12 to 14 new homes to our portfolio. See article below.
Sun Rise Phase 2: A New Approach
For Phase 2 of Sun Rise, plans are underway for an unusual, unique and conservation-minded approach. For this neighborhood, we are planning to “save” well-constructed homes dating from the early 20th century and move them to San Juan Island.
This summer a group from the Home Trust went to Victoria to look at houses that are available to purchase and move. These homes are more affordable than new construction; they preserve raw materials and have a character which new buildings may lack. As neighborhoods in Vancouver, Seattle and Victoria are seeing demographic changes, small bungalows are being replaced by larger, new homes. Some of these homes have great craftsmanship; were constructed using old-growth wood and have other fine features.
The Home Trust is planning to barge the homes to the island a few at a time (up to four can fit on a barge) and refurbish them as needed, adding energy saving appliances, new electrical panels and other upgrades.
How will Sun Rise Phase 2 be funded?
In the past the Home Trust has relied upon grant money available from the WA State Housing Fund to finance a good portion of the construction costs. But in the past few years, their budget has been eliminated by the State Legislature.
At our Fiesta fundraiser in July, we announced a much welcomed and wonderful matching challenge grant of $300,000 to kick off fundraising for Phase 2 of Sun Rise. The Home Trust already owns the land and we need to raise approximately 1.2 million dollars to cover all the site development and construction costs. This represents a little over a third of the total cost of this project. Homebuyer mortgages will cover about two-thirds of the total costs.
The Home Trust is now actively fundraising in the community for this approach. Grants from foundations and individuals are being sought. Donations of any amount are most welcome.
We are also seeking major donors who will consider sponsoring a new home. A $75,000 donation (which can be made over a 3-year period) would pay for a house and the move to its permanent location on the island. Donors would be able to follow its progress from its original location to its new site, and watch as it is lowered into place, renovated and finally occupied by its new owner. They will also be honored with a plaque or tile, placed on the house.