Seattle, WA – Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has gifted $10 million in unrestricted giving to Homestead Community Land Trust, a developer and steward of permanently affordable homeownership opportunities for income-qualified people in King County.
Homestead CEO KathleenHosfeld says, “We are beyond grateful for this unprecedented investment in our work, and for Ms. Scott’s recognition of our leadership in addressing the affordable housing crisis, building community wealth and partnering with communities experiencing displacement. This gift will enable us to accelerate our work to build homes that are permanently affordable to current and future generations.”
Home prices in King County and surrounding areas are up to 7 times the median household income, according to State of Washington research(1). With home prices $400,000 or more above what most residents can afford, the crisis of supply of affordable starter homes shuts all but a few out of the benefits of ownership. This widening gap between what homes cost and what people can afford has disproportionate impacts on people of color.
“Ms. Scott’s visionary investment is a vote of confidence in our approach, one that centers the voice of affected communities in what we build and how we build it. This gift will enable us to expand such partnerships, bring significantly more homes and land into trust, and position ourselves to steward a legacy of permanent affordability and climate equity,” says Ms. Hosfeld. “We hope other funding partners are inspired to match Ms. Scott’s vision so that our resources to build new homes match the scale of need in region.”
In the last 18 months, Homestead has celebrated multiple milestones in support of its mission to deliver permanently affordable and environmentally sustainable housing solutions to the region including:
- Opening Village Gardens in the Central District of Seattle. All units built fossil fuel-free to achieve a Built Green Four-Star environmental standard,
- Groundbreaking of The Southard, the first multi-unit affordable homeownership project in Tukwila, with homes that are designed to use no more energy than they generate over the course of a year. Named in honor of the late Patti Southard, a green-building activist, the homes are being constructed with materials and systems that reduce climate and environmental impacts while at the same time reducing utilities bills, and
- Cultivating a pipeline of projects to build up to 200 new homes, many in partnership with community-based organizations experiencing or at risk of displacement.
Homestead is a classic community land trust, following the model created by Civil Rights era leaders in the 1960s and 1970s to prevent displacement and allow people to build wealth through ownership. Homestead builds new homes, fundraises to reduce the price of homes to what is affordable to a lower-income household, and keeps homes affordable permanently through agreements with our homeowners and post-purchase support. Homestead lowers barriers to homeownership for those excluded by discrimination, and has nearly 60% ownership by people of color. Typical home prices through Homestead range from $240,000 to $330,000. Homestead has 245 homes in trust and has created over 300 first-time homebuying opportunities for income-qualified buyers.
The community land trust model of leasehold ownership – known as permanently affordable homeownership — has become a regional policy priority because of Homestead’s leadership. Deep investments in the environmental standards of Homestead homes achieve climate equity and justice for lower-income households, who otherwise bear disproportionate impacts of climate change. Building on the power and strength of community, Homestead prioritizes community-led housing projects and equitable development partnerships.
This unprecedented investment coincides with news of gifts from Ms. Scott to organizations such as Grounded Solutions Network, a membership organization for community land trusts and other shared-equity homeownership organizations, and the National Housing Trust, an organization with strong ties to the community land trust movement.
To increase awareness of the historical forces that have created racial disparities in homeownership and household wealth, Homestead hosts Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, and journalist, Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr at an event in Town Hall Seattle, Sept. 7. Ticket sales and event sponsorship information are available at website.