The Island Housing Trust’s new community investment plan will get a boost with $110,000 in state tax credits through a new state program.
Island Housing Trust, a nonprofit organization that develops sustainable affordable housing projects on the Island, was one of 38 community organizations awarded Community Investment Tax Credits totalling $3 million. The tax credits will be distributed by the Island Housing Trust to investors in exchange for donations.
The tax credits will allow the Island Housing Trust to broaden its donor base, executive director Philippe Jordi told the Gazette Monday. The credits will also allow the organization to “do more with what we have” and engage businesses, foundations and individual donors, he said.
For donations starting at $1,000, those who owe state taxes will receive a tax credit worth half the amount of the donation. For example, for a $1,000 donation the tax credit would be $500. The remaining $500 would be treated like any other tax-deductible donation, Mr. Jordi said.
The Island Housing Trust has been approved for one year, and can reapply to the program for the next two years. “If all goes well, it will just continue,” Mr. Jordi said.
“We’re interested in connecting with people who live here, or summer here, and really understand these issues we’re trying to address,” he added.
The Island Housing Trust became a certified community development corporation last year, Mr. Jordi said, and received a $25,000 grant from the state. Using the grant, the trust created a community investment plan, and worked with towns and other Island groups in conducting a survey to determine need on the Island.
At a retreat in December, the board of directors and the advisory council created three areas of focus for the next few years, including communication and outreach, maintaining existing affordable housing and rental properties “to make sure for decades to come these resources will be available to the community,” Mr. Jordi said. The third goal is to produce more affordable homes, adding 50 new homes in the next two or three years.
Mr. Jordi said he hoped the tax credits will help the organization raise more money to continue some projects already in the works. The Island Housing Trust recently bought six apartments in Vineyard Haven that will be renovated, and they will work with towns to raise money so the apartments can be affordable.
The trust is also in the pre-development stage for a donated property across from the Black Dog Bakery on Water street in Tisbury, he said. Island Housing Trust will be applying for a permit to build as many as five one-bedroom apartments there. They will also continue partnerships with other organizations, Mr. Jordi said, including working with Habitat for Humanity, Thimble Farm and Island Grown Initiative to build housing for farmers.
The organization’s plans will be discussed at the Island Housing Trust’s annual board meeting on April 12.