“I can finally get out on my own side of the bed,” reflects Keith Lepinski.
He and his wife, Jessie Light, closed on their first home in the Rolling Meadows neighborhood on Madison’s east side on June 1 with the help of Madison Area Community Land Trust (MACLT). MACLT is an affiliated organization with Common Wealth and the two share office space on Williamson Street. Previously, they spent four years in a Common Wealth affordable housing rental on Williamson Street.
Keith and Jessie’s move from a 1-bedroom apartment to a 3-bedroom house allows them to do more than just build equity. They are both now able to pursue a multitude of hobbies. For Keith, that means building furniture, painting and making music. Jessie can now get back to her hobbies of weaving and piano playing. Keith and Jessie are also enjoying getting a garden going in their backyard and planting a sour cherry and shade trees. Keith enjoys his work at Orange Tree Imports and Jessie is a baker at Cress Spring Bakery in Blue Mounds.
Since 1990, MACLT has provided affordable homes to low-moderate income home-buyers in Madison. MACLT homes are more affordable because the buyer purchases the home only, and ownership of the land remains with the land trust. Homeowners rent the land from MACLT for an affordable monthly fee. This model saves homeowners about $200 or more per month. When MACLT homeowners sell their home, a shared-appreciation formula ensures the home will be affordable for the next low-income buyer. Through that formula, MACLT homes will remain permanently affordable.
“We wouldn’t have been able to buy a house like this without MACLT,” says Jessie. “Other places would have been smaller, needed more repairs, or been further away from town.”