Back in the Summer of 2017, when we were first forming the Start Up Committee to build a Homes and Hope Community Land Trust here in Snohomish County, we were all certain that the real estate market had left nearly half of our neighbors with no ability to own a home. Housing instability is a great stressor for people, impacting their health, their quality of life and their job performance. At that time, the gap between a median-priced home in Snohomish County and the home that a median-income family could afford was more than $100,000. Today, two years later, it remains about the same.
This summer, we begin to work on homeownership orientation meetings and homebuyers’ education so that we can bring buyers to the Habitat Snohomish development of Twin Creeks Village and our own emerging project off of Highway 99, just north of 112th Street. Over the next few months, we will be connecting Snohomish County families of low and moderate income to the resources they need to be able to buy a home that will be affordable for them! Their children will be growing up in a neighborhood where they will know their neighbors and their schools. These first Snohomish County community land trust buyers will be able to save money for vacations and retirement. They will be able to plan for life events like first bicycles and summer camp; high school proms and graduations; weddings, in-laws and grandchildren, and with the affordability covenant through the community land trust, future Snohomish County families will be able to experience these same advantages that come with homeownership.
We have started some conversations over the past two years that we plan to continue: How can we reach communities who have been left out of the credit world and hence, homeownership? How can we build our homes so that people of all ages and stages of life can visit or live there? How can we foster community spirit through thoughtful planning of community infrastructure? What are the barriers to healthy, affordable living in our county? Follow along our journey and join in our conversations with the upcoming blog posts here.