Submitted by Lopez
Community Land Trust
A Lopez couple has wanted to visit relatives in Europe for years, but with an aging parent in their home, they kept delaying the trip. She has Alzheimer’s and needs constant care. A local artisan, who doubles as a home caregiver, helped the couple to have their dream come true. The caregiver, Stina Soderlind, has been renting for years, she’ll soon have her own.
“I am so thankful to be getting a home of my own that I am helping to build. We just poured the slab floor. Having moved more than 45 times as a renter, I am so happy to have a home of my own for the first time in my life,” Sonderlind said.
Lopez School needed a teacher and housing is a major issue for incoming workers. Along came a great teacher but it’s hard to make ends meet with a small child on a new teacher’s salary. “It’s hard to describe the deep and visceral upwelling of gratitude I am living in each day as I see my little home grow out of the ground,” said Kristen Ryan. “It is not without commitment, hard work and sacrifice on many people’s part that these housing opportunities are an option for us. The whole experience has been a community effort.”
A Lopez graduate Valentino Tijerina returned to Lopez for work. He has been working for local businesses but can’t find a rental that is truly a home, not just an extra room or a shack. His wages aren’t enough for rentals on Lopez.
“I’ve never thought that I would be living on Lopez past graduating Lopez High School,” said Tijerina. “I’ve gone out into the world living in various places In Washington and California, but I’ve never been able to find a place that was like Lopez. The beauty of the island and the community are some of the most treasured things that I’ve come to love. Now to be building a home here with the help of the LCLT is incredible. I’m very thankful to be able to stay on Lopez and to have a place that I can call mine. It’s a true freedom.”
These three new homeowners complete the LCLT neighborhood of Salish Way. All three are contributing sweat equity on site and will be moving into 500-square-foot cottages with monthly housing expenses of $600 a month. All homes are designed to be net zero in energy usage, using solar credits from Orcas Power and Light Cooperative’s community solar project on Decatur. LCLT has provided 45 homes on Lopez since its inception, made possible by the generosity of the community.
If you’d like to join us and help out with painting, sanding, framing, site clean-up and more contact the LCLT office at 360-468-3723. This Lopez-style barn-building. There’s not much more fulfilling work than helping a neighbor find home.