OPAL Community Land Trust, Inc Programs
More than 60 children (10% of all the school-age children on the island) live in OPAL homes; 53 kids who lived in OPAL homes have graduated and launched their independent lives. OPAL is home to 14 islanders who work in some aspect of health care. In addition to these critical health care workers, OPAL homeowners perform a wide variety of vital jobs in the community: school teachers, grocery store clerks, bank tellers, waiters and waitresses, cooks, small business owners and more.
We have homeowners in five neighborhoods: Opal Commons, Bonnie Brae, Oberon Wood, Lahari Ridge and Wild Rose Meadow, as well as scattered site homes. We have rental units near our office at the Reddick Farmhouse Office and Apartments. Nearly 100 families call OPAL houses or apartments home. We primarily serve very-low (50% of area median income) and low-income (80% of area median income) families. Most homeowners have more than one job or occupation. Homebuyers provide roughly 55% of the cost of the house. Another 22% comes from government funding. The remaining 23% comes from private individuals and foundations.
Wild Rose Meadow Phase II
Our current construction project is the final 14 residences being built in Eastsound, for a total of 32 houses in the neighborhood. This construction began in fall 2009 and employs a local firm as general contractor as well as most of the subcontractors, the excavation contractor and the landscaper. We are pleased to have positive economic impact in the local community.
Lavender Hollow Apartments
We are in the process of acquiring 22 rental units in Eastsound which primarily serve the extremely-low (30% of area median income) or low-income (50% of area median income) tenants.
Stewardship OPAL Community Land Trust will own the land forever, and with that ownership comes a lasting stewardship responsibility, for the land, and for the people who own or rent the buildings that are on that land. We must provide technical advice for residents as well as administrative support for the neighborhood associations, such as to facilitate the re-sale, purchase and financing of homes, advocate for policies and practices that assure these homes remain permanently affordable; and manage rental properties. OPAL's mission is perpetual. Our long-range plan and vision document is available on our web site, www.opalclt.org
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Wild Rose Meadow In 2009, the first 18 homes were built and occupied in our newest neighborhood. The houses are well-constructed with a number of green features to increase durability and reduce operating costs. Each house has a passive solar orientation, insulation exceeding codde requirements, metal roofing and cement-board siding, radiant electric heat (ConvectAir), and is ready to receive future solar/alternative power upgrades. These houses were built and occupied while virtually all other construction on the island was stalled by the economy. Homebuyers were able to move forward with their purchases because they were ready. OPAL provides homebuyer education that helps them prepare to purchase their residence. The Orcas Island Community Foundation has identified affordable housing as the most under-served need on Orcas Island in recent survey. We are glad to be part of a solution to this problem.
We need to raise $500,000 close the affordability gap to complete construction on the Wild Rose Meadow neighborhood of 32-permanently affordable homes.