Common Sense with Dominick Bonny – Common Ground Community Housing Trust


Dominick Bonny talks with Thom Nees about the Common Ground Community Housing Trust.


Common Sense with Dominick Bonny – Common Ground Community Housing Trust Transcript and Sources


Hello and welcome to Common Sense, I’m Dominick Bonny and today we’re taking a look at one tool that could help alleviate the housing crisis. That tool is the community land trust model, which can help develop and preserve quality, affordable housing for generations. Later in the episode, I sit down with Thom Nees, executive director of Serve Wenatchee Valley, which did amazing work before COVID, but after the pandemic hit they stepped up in big ways and Thom and his team helped coordinate the community food bank at the Town Toyota Center, which put food on a lot of tables during a time where many folks in our community were facing unemployment or less employment and in bad shape economically. Their community food bank is still going strong and has since moved to Serve Wenatchee Valley’s new location on Orondo Avenue in Wenatchee, but I went in to talk to Thom about a new initiative he and Serve Wenatchee Valley are spearheading. And that is the Common Ground Community Housing Trust, which aims to increase the inventory of affordable homeownership in Chelan and Douglas counties. But first let’s learn what a Community Housing Trust, or community land trust, is and what it does. 

Now most of us here in the Chelan and Douglas counties know what a land trust is because we know the Chelan Douglas Land Trust and what it does to preserve land purchased and then held in trust for stewardship, conservation, and recreation purposes. But this is different. This is an organization that will be dedicated to developing permanently affordable housing for generations to come. And this is something we desperately need since the median sales price of a home in the Wenatchee area skyrocketed up to $410,000 in March compared to $335,000 in March 2020, a spike of 22 percent in just 12 months. A community housing trust isn’t a magic bullet. It’s not going to solve the problem all by itself. But it is one part of a comprehensive approach to making housing more affordable and more accessible to our fellow citizens. Stay tuned after the break for part one of my interview with Thom Nees about the Common Ground Community Housing Trust. 


Hello and welcome back, let’s jump into my interview with Serve Wenatchee Valley executive director Thom Nees about the Common Ground Community Housing Trust his organization is spearheading. 

This is an exciting and possibly game-changing solution for our community, but we’re still a long way out from making a housing trust like this a reality here. Serve Wenatchee Valley is stepping up big time here. If you are in the building or real estate industries, they could use community members like you to volunteer to bring your expertise to their workgroups. If you are able to, they could use folks to donate funds for the capital they’ll need to establish and run this program effectively and you have the ability to find it in your heart to donate the stuff they aren’t making anymore they’ll need land. And not just for development! Thom also wanted to let folks know that already existing homes and property can be donated too! And in fact, already existing homes will allow them to offer properties to qualified buyers before they are able to complete a housing development. If you want to learn more about this issue check out the show notes on ncw life dot com and go the full episodes tab and scroll down to Common Sense with Dominick Bonny, this is episode 28. You can also go right to Serve Wenatchee Valley’s website and check out the common ground tab right underneath the main header. That link is also in the show notes at the end of this episode’s transcript. Join us next week for more Common Sense! 


  1. Community Land Trusts Explained,
  2. Community Land Trust overview,
  3. Chelan Valley Housing Trust:
  4. Methow Housing Trust:
  5. Latest report shows more home sales, fewer homes for sale and skyrocketing prices, NCWLIFE:
  6. Serve Wenatchee Valley, Common Ground Community Housing Trust: