I am thrilled to be recently appointed as the Executive Director for the Chelan Valley Housing Trust (CVHT). This non-profit is fulfilling a much-needed void in our community and is a passion for me.

CVHT has a mission to build permanently affordable homes to allow lower-to-middle income folks ($30-52K annual household income) to live here and contribute to our town. I believe the dream of owning a home is fairly universal. These homes will provide ownership for the teacher of your kids, the nurse caring for you or a family member, a new City staff person to call to remedy an unsafe issue, and so many other hard-working folks who find it challenging to purchase a home in the Chelan Valley.

We are using the tried and true Community Land Trust model to make this happen. The basic formula is to get the cost of the land (historically 1/3 the cost) out of the selling price of each home. This model has worked in big cities like Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle and also in resort towns like Truckee, CA, Flagstaff, AZ as well as those on Orcas and Lopez Islands.

In less than one year of becoming a 501(c)3 nonprofit, CVHT is making great strides in large part from folks donating capital, land and/or services. Our first 5-townhome community, Emerson Village in downtown Chelan, is already underway. We look forward to working through the buying process with our first owners. Maybe one of them will be you or someone you know.

My wife, Janice, and I have lived in Chelan for 16 years. Together we own a small business and I have served the City as a Council member and Mayor. Yet, there is still a very visible need in our community that I would like to see met: bridging the gap in home ownership with quality homes that folks can afford.

More attainable homes will help keep our middle class intact rather than having them relocate to outlying areas. These folks are the backbone of our community. Many of them grew up in our Valley and raised children who grew into young professionals, with talents in far-reaching industries, who would love to move “back home”.

This is not a bad thing to fight for! But we do need the entire community to be involved.


Mike Cooney
Executive Director
Chelan Valley Housing Trust