Being a real estate professional in today's scorching real estate market and seeing home sale prices at an all-time high, the need for affordable housing is glaringly obvious. Homeownership equals wealth and stability. More stable and wealthier households lead to more productive and healthier people, less dependent on medical services, mental health services and public assistance needs, and fostering neighborhoods with less crime. It's a win-win for the whole community.
- Benjamin Zack / Weber State University, Courtesy Dept of Energy Solar Decathlon Flickr
In Plato's "Republic," he says that our needs will be the real creator—loosely translated into the more familiar phrase, "necessity is the mother of invention." Kôr Community Land Trust was born during a dining-room discussion between co-founders Amy Warren and Jason Offut, who asked the question, "How can we help the people who work in Bend, continue to live in Bend?" Drawing from observations of friends and peers moving away due to home prices climbing skyward and affordability becoming very difficult, "We noticed that school teachers could no longer buy a home, and service industry workers were having a harder and harder time trying to find housing," comments Offutt.
That dinner conversation grew into what is now a thriving nonprofit with its flagship community, Kôrazon, well underway. Kôrazon is a cluster cottage community located on the east side of Bend off of SE 27th Avenue—a joint venture with Housing Works of Central Oregon. The homes, now visible from 27th Avenue, are 1,100 square feet, consisting of two bedrooms and two bathrooms. They are goal Net-Zero-energy homes, built to higher efficiency standards, with aspirations to produce enough renewable energy onsite to offset their energy usage. This goal is dependent on future donations, to achieve the ability to afford solar panels and other necessary efficiency systems.
The owners of these homes were chosen through a lottery system and then passed through a vetting process. Homes will be sold to one middle-income household, three homes to low-income households, and one to a very low-income household. Based on the land trust model, homeowners will own the structures while the land trust HOA will own and maintain the land, leasing it at a very low cost.
Kôr is hosting a public open house at Kôrazon, at 21221 Hurita Place in Bend on Saturday, Sept. 26 from 11am to 3:30pm.
Meanwhile, Kôr has a second development in the works on NE 8th Street in Bend's Orchard District, slated to begin construction in the spring. The need for land is urgent. Warren would like to stress that to continue this goal of providing affordable housing, finding new land for future projects is paramount. As a nonprofit, they look to community members who are able to donate or sell land. Your land could provide a lasting legacy for the Bend community.