Partner Spotlight: Island Housing Trust

Friends of MCHT share their work and stories

Communities across Maine site lack of affordable housing as a primary concern. MCHT is working with partners, like Island Housing Trust, to help address the issue while preserving wildlife habitat, clean water, working waterfronts, and places for people to be in nature.

Island Housing Trust

Island Housing Trust (IHT) is a nonprofit organization based on Mount Desert Island. IHT grew out of a community visioning effort, called MDI Tomorrow, to address longstanding and growing need for permanent, year-round housing for people earning a media income on Mount Desert Island. Medical professionals, teachers, first responders, Acadia National Park employees, scientists, and other workers found it increasingly difficult to find homes they could afford on MDI. It was a problem for those working, and for the communities that needed them.

Year-round housing provides stability for MDI residents: it breaks the summer/winter rental cycle and its attendant uncertainties, as well as the instability for children of not only moving neighborhoods but also, often, moving from one school to another. Year-round housing provides stability for businesses, providing a strong customer base during the off season and making it easier to recruit and retain employees who can afford to live on MDI. 

Since its first housing opportunity was completed in 2007, IHT has provided 58 opportunities across MDI, with 47 houses under covenants keeping them affordable for generations. More than 150 individuals have found homes through IHT programs.

Learn More about Island Housing Trust

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  1. One of IHT’s first projects was completed in partnership with Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Acadia National Park in 2008. MCHT purchased a three-acre property, one acre of which was an ANP inholding parcel (property eligible to become part of the park). MCHT conserved the one-acre inholding, and worked with IHT to sell the adjacent property, which included a year-round house, to buyers who met IHT’s eligibility requirements. In 2023, MCHT donated a nearly three-acre parcel to IHT, abutting the first partnership property, which IHT is banking for future development.
  2.  In 2016, MCHT approached IHT with another partnership project, to purchase 60 acres of wetlands and upland. MCHT purchased 30 acres of wetlands important to the health of the Northeast Creek watershed, which has become the Jones Marsh Preserve, and IHT purchased 30 acres of uplands. IHT’s property is now a neighborhood of 10 year-round energy efficient homes, with 20-plus acres set aside as open space, to provide additional buffer for the Jones Marsh wetlands.

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