'Community' land trust wants to get into the housing business

By John Hanron
Methow Valley News


Methow Valley, WA - With real estate purchases requiring down payments in the tens of thousands of dollars, potential homebuyers often find the American Dream remains just that–a dream.

But one strategy that has made the dream more accessible to those without a large amount of cash on hand is starting to take hold in eastern Washington.

Sherry Stewart, a Winthrop resident and the former housing and utilities manager for the Swinomish Tribe in La Conner, is exploring the idea of creating a community land trust (CLT).

Not to be confused with a land conservancy, the CLT would entail creating a non-profit group that would purchase a piece of land near Twisp or Winthrop. Parcels of the land would be leased to people for 99 years. Leasees would then be able to build houses on the property, ideally with 100 percent financing.

Stewart will be hosting a meeting next week to explore the local need for affordable housing and to get input on the idea of a CLT.

Folks from Lopez Island and Leavenworth will talk about successful CLTs that have been developed in those areas. A housing specialist with the USDA will be on hand to discuss 100 percent loans.

The meeting is set for Tuesday (Feb. 10) at 7 p.m. in the Confluence Gallery.

For more information, contact Stewart at 996-3770.



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