With a two-acre lot donated by a local resident, $25,000 in locally raised funds and a matching grant from the Islands Challenge Fund, the members of North Haven Sustainable Housing (NHSH) are ready to start construction on an energy efficient, affordable home.

Beginning in 2004, NHSH, an all-volunteer community group, saw the need for year-round affordable housing and contacted Genesis Community Housing Fund in Damariscotta for assistance in becoming an incorporated nonprofit organization, With the promise of donated land from NHSH board member Charlie Pingree, the group approached the Islands Challenge Fund and was awarded a $25,000 challenge grant in March 2006. The Islands Challenge Fund was established in 2004 to support island-based community development initiatives by the Genesis Fund, the Maine Community Foundation, the Island Institute and the Maine Seacoast Mission.

Members of NHSH spent the spring and summer of 2006 clearing the lot of trees and brush and raising $25,000 in matching funds from the local community. By early fall, both goals were accomplished and a local excavator rolled in to begin foundation work.

As site preparation continues, members of the board are working on eligibility and selection criteria to choose a North Haven year-round resident or family as the new homeowner. The locally-raised funds and the Islands Challenge Fund grant will allow the completed home to be sold for $130,000, which falls into the standard guidelines of affordable for a family that makes 80 percent of the area median income.

NHSH board member and local science teacher John Dietter commented, “While we’re setting the house back from the road, we’ve cleared enough trees so that people can see what a solid, attractive house this will be. We want people to know that affordable housing can be high quality housing. We hope this will be first of many. We’re off to a great start.” q

For information about the Islands Challenge Fund, which has made grants to community groups on Monhegan and Islesboro as well as North Haven, visit www.genesisfund.org/icf.htm.