- We are changing our name to Olympic Housing Trust, and currently working with an artist on a new logo. We will be creating a new website to reflect these changes once they are complete.
- We are expanding our Board of Trustees! If you share our commitment to housing and have skills to contribute, please send a letter of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org today.
- 2021 is a critical year to build momentum for a housing trust in Jefferson County. These are our goals to rebuild Homeward Bound:
- Building partnerships: Two of our Board members have begun participating in a monthly mentorship with the Executive Directors of Homestead CLT and Lopez CLT, two regional community land trusts that are leading the way in this movement. Another Board member has joined the Housing Task Force to build relationships with our local community of housing providers. All our Board members are engaging with the Northwest Community Land Trust Coalition to build our knowledge and skills and connect with others doing this work.
- Growing our Board of Trustees: We are seeking out specific skills and new talent to grow our working board. Rachael has jumped fully into one of our most needed roles – Treasurer – but we are also seeking folks with skills including housing development and organizational development.
- Organizational Administration: Critically, we are diving into administrative aspects of the organization that were not adequately addressed while the Board was heavily focused on the Cherry Street project. We are reviewing financial flows, past records, updating information on many fronts, rebuilding relationships with our existing homeowners in Clallam County, and addressing the needs of a few properties there.
- Co-Creating Our Vision: We aim to build the case for a housing trust through listening to the needs and values of community members. We want to identify the key gaps in our housing landscape that Homeward Bound could help to fill, and build a stronger vision for our housing trust in partnership with the community.
THE POWER OF A COMMUNITY LAND TRUST
Community land trusts, also known as housing trusts, are rooted in the goal of strengthening a community’s social fabric and resilience through a more collective ownership and management of its most critical resources – land and housing. Holding land and housing in a trust takes those assets off the speculative market, enabling a community to shape its future. As housing prices skyrocket across the Olympic Peninsula, and especially in Jefferson County, Homeward Bound provides a path for the people of this region to regain a sense of agency in determining how and where we will develop new housing, and whom it will be accessible to.
Housing trusts are designed to be accountable to the people they serve, and driven by their needs and priorities. One third of the Board of Trustees must be either: clients of the organization, people who are low-income, or people who work in organizations that serve low-income populations. Furthermore, as a membership organization in which members have voting rights on certain decisions, Homeward Bound is accountable to the broader communities that it serves. Therefore, every asset that is given to or acquired by the organization belongs to the community.
Housing trusts are flexible enough to serve the needs of a specific community. The model can provide an array of housing opportunities, including home ownership, quality rentals, intentional housing developments, mobile or tiny home communities, limited equity cooperative housing, condominiums, and more. No matter what type of housing a specific community land trust focuses on, the housing must be permanently affordable. Homeward Bound aims to provide both home ownership and rental opportunities, through building new, high-quality housing and managing homes that are donated or purchased.
Housing trusts are not just about making sure that all community members have access to housing – they are also committed to keeping them in their homes. The organization provides services, resources, and support for every person who is served in its housing. CLTs collect a reserve fee each month from current homeowners to fund major external repairs like a regular roof replacement. Additionally, CLTs can administer various programs to support housing in the community. A CLT in Marin County, CA created a program to help regular residents convert part of their homes into “junior units” and then matched those landlords with income qualified tenants. Lopez CLT manages non-housing community assets including farmland and mobile meat processing equipment.
Read more about the Community Land Trust model here.