This 2018 photo shows Mike Rogers of LARK Studio Landscape Architecture describing the layout of Island Housing Trust’s proposed workforce-affordable housing development near Jones Marsh at the head of Mount Desert Island during a Bar Harbor Planning Board site visit. ISLANDER PHOTO BY DICK BROOM

IHT receives $400K challenge grant 

MOUNT DESERT ISLAND — Island Housing Trust has received a $400,000 challenge grant from an anonymous donor that will match all donations to the organization’s Coming Home campaign received through the end of the year. 

All funds raised through the challenge will be used to support the completion of the 10–home Jones Marsh neighborhood and other IHT priorities. The campaign has raised over $2.8 million in gifts and pledges of its $3.5 million goal. 

“This is an incredible opportunity for IHT. This grant and the gifts raised to meet the challenge will allow us to exceed our goals, so we can do even more to provide year-round housing on MDI. We are extremely grateful to this generous donor for investing in our work in a way that encourages others to deepen their support,” said Marla O’Byrne, IHT’s executive director.  

Jones Marsh is planned as a year-round neighborhood of 10 energy-efficient homes on approximately 7 acres near the head of Mount Desert Island. It will include two duplexes to provide a range of price points for ownership. IHT staff has worked with Showcase Homes to develop energy-efficient buildings. Other IHT priorities include increasing funding for the Home Ownership Assistance Program, which assists qualified home buyers of existing island homes with down payments, and building an Opportunity Fund to enable IHT to act quickly when new opportunities arise to acquire land or affordable homes. 

“Thanks to this generous matching pledge, there has never been a better time to support IHT’s practical and innovative solutions to the workforce housing challenge facing our island communities,” said Deedie Bouscaren, IHT board president and co-chair of the campaign. 

Island Housing Trust promotes viable, year-round island communities by advancing permanent workforce housing on Mount Desert Island. IHT envisions a future where MDI has affordable year-round housing available to the workforce. IHT homes are protected by covenants, enforced in perpetuity.  

Since 2003, Island Housing Trust has completed 48 homeownership projects serving 143 adults and children on MDI. IHT holds covenants on 37 homes and has overseen the successful resale of several of these properties at below market rate. 

“IHT has in place a strong Board of Directors, seasoned, capable staff, the support of the four towns on MDI, and donors who believe passionately in our mission,” said Peter Rogers, campaign co-chair and IHT board member. “We are so grateful to the anonymous donor and to our friends and neighbors who will help us meet this exciting challenge. Housing that is affordable to MDI’s teachers, first responders, and the people who staff our many amazing businesses and organizations benefits everyone who calls this island home, no matter the time of year.”  

To make a donation to this campaign, go to, call (207) 244-8011 or email [email protected]  

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