Creating Affordable Homes
for the Orcas Island Community
OPAL Community Land Trust is working to maintain the character, vibrancy and diversity of the Orcas Island community by answering the ongoing need for permanently affordable housing.
Our work helps bridge the gap between the island’s high property values and the modest incomes of many who live and work here – people who are vital to our quality of life and our community’s well-being.
OPAL’s efforts make a difference on many levels:
- Working families, earning island incomes, have the opportunity to put down roots and thrive. Meet two families in this brief video.
- Children can grow up in stable, safe, healthy homes and supportive neighborhoods. (Currently 10% of Orcas Island’s school-age children live in OPAL homes.)
- Our island community has access to housing that is affordable to teachers, healthcare providers, retail and restaurant employees, office staff, small business owners, people in the building trades. These residents provide essential services and contribute to a healthy economy.
- OPAL serves families, singles, seniors and the disabled, helping our island remain balanced and whole – with young and old, working and retired, and a wide range of incomes. (OPAL households currently represent nearly 5% of estimated full-time residences on Orcas.)
- OPAL projects attract millions of dollars in grants, provide jobs for island workers and support local businesses.
- Because OPAL housing remains permanently affordable, the public and private dollars invested are protected in perpetuity. It is a community asset that will benefit Orcas islanders for generations.
Founded in 1989, OPAL (which stands for “Of People And Land”) was one of the first community land trusts in the West, and remains at the forefront of perpetually affordable housing. Our work is funded by private donations and public grants. OPAL is a member-based, registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.
Community Assets Under OPAL Stewardship:
- 8 neighborhoods
- 108 permanently affordable ownership homes
- 30 permanently affordable rental apartments
- 138 households
- 5 office spaces for rent/lease
- 55.7 acres of land
- 5 community gardens
“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
Watch an interview with Michael Sky on Peak Moment TV, which reveals some of the core principles and early history of OPAL: