SAN JUAN COUNTY, WA. June 9, 2023 – San Juan County is celebrating the completion of the HolliWalk Neighborhood in Friday Harbor – a project that received over $1.5 million of County funding. This is the County's second largest contribution to affordable housing, dwarfed only by its contribution Orcas Island's April’s Grove OPAL project in 2020, which received approximately $1.75 million.
“The Home Fund contributed one-quarter of the cost it took to build the HolliWalk Neighborhood, which was the biggest contribution we received,” said Amanda Lynn, the Executive Director for the San Juan Community Home Trust. “Because of the County’s contributions, we are able to plan our builds in ways that are better for the community.”
The brand new Holliwalk Neighborhood on Price Street in Friday Harbor is the fourth neighborhood on San Juan Island that the Home Trust has developed, and the seventh project that the Home Fund has funded. The neighborhood consists of eight, permanently affordable homes, soon to be occupied by families, essential service workers, retirees, and service industry workers.
“The Home Trust and its staff and volunteers deserve huge praise for bringing this project across the finish line,” said Ryan Page, San Juan County’s Housing Program Coordinator. “This is exactly the sort of project we envisioned when the Home Fund was first proposed, and this project might not exist without the funding from the County.”
The Home Fund is a real estate excise tax-funded program managed by San Juan County’s Health and Community Services Department, dedicated to developing and preserving affordable housing. The Home Fund is often a large piece of the funding puzzle for local affordable housing projects.
“It is critically important that the County has the foresight and flexibility they do with the Home Fund to be able to work with the Home Trust to meet local needs,” said Lynn.
Quick facts about San Juan County’s Home Fund
- In 2018, the Home Fund was projected to make $15.2 million in 12 years. Its to-date revenue total has already surpassed $10 million, with $2.5 million generated in 2022 alone.
- The completion of the HolliWalk Neighborhood brings the total number of affordable housing units constructed or preserved with Home Fund dollars to 101.
- The County has already committed funding to projects which will create another 61 affordable housing units in the coming years.
“The actual dollar amount from the County is only part of the story,” said Page. “When the County commits local tax dollars to affordable housing projects, it signals to other affordable housing funders that these projects are big priorities to our local community. That increases our chances of getting State and Federal grant funding.”
According to Page, the budget projections for real estate excise tax revenue in 2023 are roughly $2 million.
Quick facts about San Juan Community Home Trust
The Home Trust is a Community Land Trust as well as a nonprofit organization that creates permanently affordable home ownership opportunities for residents of San Juan Island. The Home Trust develops and maintains the affordability of these homes.
- The Home Trust has built a total of four neighborhoods and 41 homes.
- 57 families/individuals have bought all of the homes, many of which are working in essential roles for the community.
The Home Trust provides eco-friendly homes at a permanently affordable rate. When asked about her experience working for the organization, Lynn said, “we are thrilled about the sense of community stability that we are able to provide. That’s the goal.”
Now, with the completion of the HolliWalk Neighborhood, eight families are able to move into new, environmentally-friendly homes that they can call theirs, at an affordable rate in perpetuity.
For more information about San Juan County’s Home Fund, visit: https://sjchomefund.com/ or https://www.sanjuanco.com/1595/San-Juan-County-Home-Fund
For more information about the San Juan Community Home Trust, visit: https://www.hometrust.org/