Stories of Hope

San Juan Community Home Trust

San Juan Island, Washington

The Issue: Long-time San Juan residents don’t have affordable housing options.

On an island filled with breathtaking natural wonders, vacation homes, and seasonal rentals, affordable housing and jobs are severely lacking. And the 7,000 residents of San Juan were feeling the affect—until the San Juan Community Home Trust stepped in. They explored a community land trust model that was working well on nearby Orcas Island and, together with the community, determined a community land trust was a good way to create permanently affordable housing for their residents. Although land trusts use various approaches to maintaining affordability, the San Juan Community Home Trust enforces an income limit on buyers and restricts resale prices.

Their Impacts: Providing affordable housing options for residents while empowering residents to be homeowners.

The San Juan Community Home Trust has developed 29 homes in two neighborhoods, and they’re slowly building on a 15-acre parcel, which was zoned for multifamily housing. They also offer homebuyer-education classes and help applying for federal program assistance and loans. Most recently, the San Juan Community Home Trust recycled 14 early-20th century homes—moving them from Vancouver, British Columbia to San Juan.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development support has helped the San Juan Community Home Trust replicate its success by participating in the Resident Ambassadors Program of the National Community Land Trust (NCLT).