photo by QT Luong

Mission & History

Island Housing Trust (IHT) promotes viable, year-round island communities by advancing permanent workforce housing on Mount Desert Island, Maine.

We strive to fulfill our mission in the following ways:

  • Supporting efforts by public and private individuals and organizations to create housing that is affordable to the year-round working population of MDI.

  • Promoting and seeking to establish public and private partnerships that result in the creation of both rental and home ownership opportunities that enable the year-round workforce to live in MDI's four communities.

  • As an organization, IHT creates affordable housing opportunities for applicants who meet our eligibility criteria. Finally, we work with other public and private partners to ensure that workforce housing on MDI remains affordable into the future.

Our Vision

IHT envisions a future where MDI has a significant percentage of affordable year-round housing available to the workforce. The dwelling units are protected by covenants, enforced in perpetuity.


Island Housing Trust, formerly known as the Mount Desert Community Trust, was founded in 1989 as the Mount Desert Development Trust, based in the Town of Mount Desert.  As the Mount Desert Community Trust, the organization completed one workforce housing project through a 99-year lease on a town-owned piece of land off Route 198 in Mount Desert in 1994 and then was inactive for a number of years.  In 2003, following the second MDI Tomorrow initiative, the Mount Desert Community Trust’s Board of Directors was reconstituted and the organization’s mission expanded to include all four towns on MDI.  In 2005, the organization’s name was changed to Island Housing Trust to reflect that expanded mission.

Through January 2018, Island Housing Trust had completed 36 homeownership projects for 111 adults and children on Mount Desert Island since 2008.  Among these are 9 new, energy-efficient houses at IHT's Ripples Hill workforce housing development in Somesville, 15 Homeownership Assistance Program (HOAP) projects in which IHT provided bridge grants to enable qualified applicants to purchase year-round houses on MDI, four houses in the Sabah Woods workforce housing development in the Thomas Bay area of Bar Harbor, a donated 2.4 parcel of land in Somesville that became the site of a single-family residence, and a partnership project with Maine Coast Heritage Trust that enabled a couple qualified by IHT to purchase a three-bedroom home on Route 3 in Bar Harbor as their year-round home.  Including among the 36 homeownership projects completed by IHT over the past eight-plus years are six successful re-sales of residential properties that carried IHT’s affordability covenants and thus were resold at below market-rate to qualified working families and individuals.