At the end of 2018, two decades after it began, First Story has built 77 grant homes and provided $1.3 million in charitable donations.

First Story is a nonprofit 501(c)(3), founded in 1998 by Hayden Watson of Hayden Homes, headquartered in Redmond, Oregon. They began by giving direct donations to charitable causes across the Pacific Northwest where Hayden builds homes. In 2002, First Story collaborated with Hayden Homes to build their first “grant house.”

First Story provides a zero-down, no-interest, 30-year loan for a newly built home to individuals and families who qualify and earn 80 percent or less of the area median income before taxes (in Sisters $58,000 to $66,000).

Homes are sold move-in ready with all appliances, washer and dryer, blinds, and front and backyard landscaping.

First Story works hand-in-hand with their building partner Hayden Homes, and with their trade and supply partners, such as Parr Lumber and Sherwin-Williams, who contribute materials, labor, and the cash needed to get a First Story home up and running. Hayden Homes employees also give monthly through their paychecks.

When a family is ready to sell, First Story buys the home at fair market value. First Story then remodels the home and sells it to another qualified family. To qualify, applicants are required to complete specific home buying classes offered through the NeighborImpact HomeSource program.

According to Hayden Homes literature, their homebuyers can choose to support First Story as a way to assist in fixing the affordable housing crisis. There is a charitable covenant for affordable housing that is part of the title of their Hayden home. For homeowners who choose to support the charitable covenant, it remains on the title of their home. This is the issue that has given rise to a lawsuit by the homeowners association at the Village at Cold Springs (see story, page 20).

Every time a Hayden house with the charitable covenant on its title is resold, the seller pays one-eighth of one percent of the sale price, and the money goes to First Story.

According to First Story’s 2018 Annual Report, provided by Claire Duncan, executive director, their sources of revenue included: community support $852,096; charitable fees $666,305; foundation grants $71,739; investment income $120,600; and home sales $1,196,116 for a total of $2,906,855.

If the City approves Hayden’s master plan for McKenzie Meadows, 10 two- and three-bedroom homes will be available for sale. The home prices will be based on HUD standards for affordability at 80 percent of area median income. One monthly payment will include mortgage, insurance, taxes and essential utilities. First Story homes will be available each year for the next three years, beginning in January 2020. The plan also calls for construction of 10 low-rent apartments.