Housing Trust clarifies affordability safeguards


To the Editor:

Last week’s article in the Vineyard Gazette regarding the Island Housing Trust’s request to amend the West Tisbury planning board’s special permit conditions for the 250 State Road project contain certain statements that are inaccurate. The trust’s requested language would provide consistency between the project’s special permit conditions and the trust’s Fannie Mae approved ground lease form (as well as the town of West Tisbury’s own affordable housing covenant), which provides banks the right to sell an affordable house without restrictions at foreclosure.

Our local banks have always been required to follow certain federal mortgage underwriting standards and practices that enable them to offer conventional mortgage financing to income qualified homebuyers purchasing trust homes. These measures protect the bank’s investment and provide homebuyers with competitive mortgage financing options.

The trust’s ground lease model, used over the past five years in four Island towns involving 30 properties, ensures that the affordable housing we create and invest in today is affordable for future generations. Many layers of protection are built into the ground lease to ensure the trust’s right to purchase any trust home that goes into foreclosure. These rights and protections held by the trust are agreed to in writing by the mortgage lender and the buyer in a recorded permitted mortgage agreement.

Most importantly, the trust maintains an ongoing relationship with homeowners through a nominal ground lease fee. In this way, the trust has an opportunity to work with homeowners and prevent a foreclosure from ever happening. Copies of the trust’s Fannie Mae approved ground lease form as well as other information about trust may be found at the Island Housing Trust’s website at http://www.ihtmv.org or on its Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Island-Housing-Trust/215501119575

Philippe Jordi
Executive Director
Island Housing Trust
West Tisbury