August 25, 2020

Dean Fearing
Kulshan CLT

Kulshan Community Land Trust Announces Staff Changes

Kulshan Community Land Trust (KulshanCLT) announces changes in staffing at their office located at 1303 Commercial Street, Suite 6 in Bellingham.

After eight incredibly productive years as part of the KulshanCLT team, real estate broker Nikki Quinn will move on from her role as KulshanCLT Homeownership Program Director in August. Beginning in September, David Ellsworth-Keller will step into her position, relocating from Athens, Georgia.

As the world shifted this last spring due to COVID-19, Quinn shifted her plans for the future too. Quinn will continue her 15-year career helping buyers, sellers and investors in Whatcom County full-time as a real estate broker with Hammer Properties NW, a position she’s held concurrently since 2005. She’ll continue to serve as a consultant with KulshanCLT, as needed. “The decision to step back from KulshanCLT was a tough one but I knew in my heart that it was time, although I wasn’t exactly sure why. Despite how much I love the cause, the staff and the homeowners, I just knew,” notes Quinn.

“With her real estate background, Nikki brought a lot of expertise to our home buying program. She has been an integral part of our team since 2012, first joining us as a Homeownership Coordinator, then later being promoted to Homeownership Program Director in 2018,” explains KulshanCLT Executive Director Dean Fearing.

“Over the past eight years, Nikki has been instrumental in helping first time home buyers achieve the dream of homeownership, having facilitated 72 home sales on behalf of KulshanCLT, helping each new buyer take advantage of programs, incentives and assistance specific to each family’s circumstances. In addition, Nikki has taught our Home Buyer Education class to more than 700 individuals. Nikki will be truly missed by our staff, Board of Trustees and so many homeowners whose lives she’s touched. We’re thankful that her wisdom and experience will continue to be available within the Bellingham and Whatcom County community.”

“Although no one can truly fill Nikki’s shoes, we are excited to announce that David Ellsworth-Keller will be joining the KulshanCLT team as our new Homeownership Program Director in September,” explains Fearing. “David’s extensive experience coordinating homeownership sales for land trusts on the east coast will make him an excellent addition to our team.”

Ellsworth-Keller most recently served as an Affordable Housing Program Operations Specialist with Athens Land Trust in Athens, Georgia where he became a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Certified Housing Counselor and supported their homeowners through COVID-19-related hardships. Prior to that experience, Ellsworth-Keller worked for Champlain Housing Trust of Burlington, VT for 11 years. He first joined the organization as an AmeriCorps volunteer as a Homebuyer Education Coordinator. He was eventually promoted to Leasing and Property Manager in 2010 and then became the Homeownership Sales Coordinator in 2015. There he coordinated 40 to 55 resale and buyer-driven home purchases and new construction properties each year.

“David is the perfect addition to the program,” notes Quinn. “I had to leave to make room for what he can bring to the future of KulshanCLT. David has accomplished so many of the things that we’ve been working on so having David join the team will be an amazing boost for KulshanCLT and low- to moderate-income working homebuyers of Whatcom County. I will always feel a part of the KulshanCLT family, even if I’m not working with them daily. We know that affordable homes change lives, but those opportunities are fewer and farther between than ever before.”

“We couldn’t do the important work we do to help Whatcom County residents become homeowners and offer financial and educational services to people of limited means without the hard work and dedication of our devoted staff,” adds Fearing. “While we’re sad to lose such a dedicated and effective member of our team for over eight years, we’re excited to welcome David’s passion and experience that will help us continue to improve and expand our current programs.”

More About Kulshan CLT: KulshanCLT strengthens community by holding land in trust for permanently affordable homeownership and other community needs, and by offering financial and educational services to people of limited means.

Since the trust began in 1999, it has assisted more than 190 moderate-income households (80% of the AMI and below) purchase affordable homes in Whatcom County. KulshanCLT ensures that these homes will remain affordable for future buyers as well.

KulshanCLT works to foster a healthy mix of housing types, sizes and prices, affordable at the wages of the jobs nearby. KulshanCLT creates housing for our economically diverse population by applying the community land trust strategy and working within the prevailing economic and governing systems, using assets and insights from all sectors, to better the common good in this community. Through this model, every hour and dollar spent on a KulshanCLT home is a lifetime investment in sustainable homeownership and community stability.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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