Affordable Housing on Whidbey Island

Home on Whidbey Community Land Trust 

Contributed by Sandra StipeSi Fisher

Here at Windermere Whidbey, we are dedicated to building sustainable communities for generations to come. We realize that truly affordable homeownership opportunities are key to maintaining a stable workforce and strengthening our economy. Local supporters of affordable housing are following the lead of the neighboring San Juan Islands who have successfully created Community Land Trusts to permanently address this critical need.  


Introducing: Home on Whidbey (HOW) Community Land Trust (CLT)

Home on Whidbey (HOW) is based on a traditional Community Land Trust (CLT) model, a non-profit organization created to hold land for the benefit of a community and the individuals within. 

The CLT acquires property through purchase or donation, removing the land from the speculative real estate market, and providing homes for individuals and families who would otherwise be squeezed out of the housing market due to their income level. CLT homeownership is a highly successful model across the nation, creating high quality, always affordable homes.

So how does the HOW CLT work? 

HOW uses a shared equity model of housing, combining community investment with income qualified homebuyers. 

The Homeowner owns the home structure and pays a nominal fee to lease the land it sits on, and agrees to a resale formula that maintains affordability for future owners.

Subsequent sales of the home are based on a re-sale formula providing a fair return for the first owner while keeping the home's price accessible to future buyers. 

For more information on
Community Land Trusts
check out:
The Regenerative Real Estate Podcast 

Wondering what buying a home on Whidbey would look like for you?

Benefits to individual and families:


  • HOW provides access to affordable homes in markets that may otherwise be out of reach for people with limited incomes.
  • HOW allows for homeowners to build equity on their investment with a reasonable rate of return.

  • HOW helps create stable and secure homes, promoting healthy families and financial stability.

  • HOW supports homeowners with homebuyer education, home maintenance workshops, membership participation, and leadership opportunities.  

Community benefits:


  • HOW provides affordable and stable housing options to attract and retain workers who would otherwise be priced out of the housing market. This creates a reliable workforce for local businesses, while improving the overall economic stability of the community.

  • HOW protects local residents from rising property values that often displace individuals and families with lower and moderate income.

  • HOW promotes strong community ties and the connection that comes from putting down roots. 

The best part is we don’t have to wonder if this model works…  it has already proven to be successful right here in our backyard on Orcas Island!


The OPAL CLT projects, on Orcas Island, have been wildly successful in creating a positive impact on the individuals, families, and overall community. 


“When I learned about the possibility of buying an OPAL house, it was like someone opened a window on the rest of my life. The insecurities were gone. My three daughters and I would have a roof over our heads and a home that I could afford. My children could grow up on the island where they belong. I would have neighbors I could count on for support. Even now it is hard to describe what OPAL offered us and what a difference it has made in our lives.” – Former OPAL Homeowner 


If you would like to know more about the OPAL CLT, check out the video and links below: 

Living at OPAL | Orcas Island on Vimeo

Creating Affordable Homes for the Orcas Island Community


Affordable housing is crucial for the wellbeing of our residents and our economy. HOW Community Land Trust is dedicated to providing permanently affordable homes and thriving communities here on Whidbey Island. 


By supporting affordable housing projects, Windermere Whidbey is working towards creating a more vibrant and thriving community for all. This commitment to the community reflects our belief that everyone deserves access to safe and affordable housing, regardless of their income level. We invite you to join us as Members of HOW CLT. 


To learn more about HOW CLT and how you may become a supporter/member please check out their Website and Facebook page.

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