Housing — specifically, affordable, place-appropriate housing, both owned home and rentals — is one of the most vexing challenges facing rural and remote communities and First Nations. Young working individuals and families in rural settings, where wages often lag behind those found in major urban centres, find themselves unable to break into the commercial real estate market, and rentals are often scarce and expensive, relative to the local wage situation.
While the rural housing situation is often daunting, it is not hopeless. There are examples of small rural communities that have managed to tackle their housing problems, for example through Community Land Trusts (CLTs), in the process providing local residents with attractive options that allow them to build toward eventually entering the traditional housing market if they wish, while providing them with affordable, well-built homes in the meantime.
Lisa Byers, Executive Director of Washington State’s OPAL Community Land Trust, explains the history and accomplishments to-date of her organization in the webinar below.