Thanks to the support of many islanders, the Northern Heights Apartments across from the library will continue to be year-round and affordable rental housing. OPAL Community Land Trust will purchase and then renovate the property. The current tenants will be able to stay.
After learning last December that the Washington State Housing Trust Fund would not award grant funding, islanders re-grouped and donated to fill the funding gap.
The Orcas Island Community Foundation pledged grant funding; San Juan County increased their grant to the maximum allowable amount. OPAL dedicated an anonymous unrestricted donation to the project, and then hundreds of islanders contributed.
The response from community members exceeded expectations. It showed a strong dedication to solving the local housing crisis and the importance of keeping island residents in their homes.
This shift in support has also become an added benefit as it allows for more flexibility regarding tenants. Not having state funding means these apartments will be available to people with a wider range of incomes.
Now the contract to purchase moves forward. Once OPAL has purchased the property, renovation work will begin. Current tenants will be able to stay onsite during the work, as it is not projected to be overly disruptive.
The continued support for island neighbors ensures this property will provide affordable year-round rentals for many, many years to come.