Throughout its nearly 20-year history, and especially during a tumultuous 2020, Kulshan Community Land Trust (KulshanCLT) has tenaciously pursued their mission. They strengthen community by holding land in trust for permanently affordable homeownership and other community needs, and by offering financial and educational services to low- to moderate-income working families in Whatcom County.
They are scaling up to meet the ever growing need for affordable housing. Multiple community partners are helping them move their mission forward.
In Fall 2020, KulshanCLT, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Whatcom County and Whatcom Community Foundation, completed the first phase of construction at Telegraph Townhomes. Eight low- to moderate-income working families became permanently affordable homeowners! KulshanCLT will enter the next phase of construction, building four more townhomes at the site in mid-2021.
Urban Farming Feeds the Birchwood Neighborhood and Beyond
City Sprouts Farm is entering its third successful season of urban farming on a half-acre of KulshanCLT’s Birchwood Neighborhood property. The farm’s organically-grown produce is sold from June through October at the Birchwood Farmers Market and a number of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. They also grow 1,000 pounds of beets and 300 pounds of tomatillos on contract for the Bellingham Food Bank’s “Food Bank Fresh” program each year.
On the remainder of the three-acre Birchwood property, KulshanCLT is working with architect Dan Welch of [bundle] design studio and the City of Bellingham to further pre-development site planning for nine or more new homes.
New Texas Street ADA-Accessible Home
Bellingham City Council approved the transfer of a surplus residential parcel (611 Texas Street) to KulshanCLT for affordable housing. KulshanCLT will build an ADA-accessible, permanently affordable single-family residence there. A potential family has been identified for the home, one with a disabled child with a progressive illness.
The project was not possible without the city transfer because lots in that area are selling on the open market in excess of $160,000.
World–renowned, Bellingham-based architect Greg Robinson has developed a beautiful cottage design for the home. Cascade Joinery is very excited to build the home. Construction will continue through early 2021.
New Millworks Co-op Housing
KulshanCLT is also hoping to participate in a new community housing development on the waterfront at the base of Cornwall Avenue, land currently owned by the Port of Bellingham. KulshanCLT Executive Director Dean Fearing and representatives from Millworks have been meeting with Whatcom Community Foundation to solidify KulshanCLT’s role in facilitating the project’s homeownership component.
They hope to use a co-op model where families buy shares of the building, owning either condominiums or co-op style homes. A seven- or eight-story building is planned with a ground-floor commercial processing kitchen and both affordable rentals and permanently affordable homes for purchase. This project will be the first to honor the Port’s commitment to include at least 10% affordable homes in the development. They’ll ambitiously begin construction in early 2021. Kulshan Community Land Trust, 1303 Commercial St., Ste. 6, Bellingham, 360.671.5600, kulshanclt.org
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