Four years of planning and 16 months of construction culminated in the May 25 open house celebration at Red Clover Commons, a 55-unit apartment building which will provide replacement housing for residents of Melrose Terrace and others.
Melrose Terrace, constructed by the Brattleboro Housing Authority in 1965, is adjacent to the Whetstone Brook and much of the property is in the floodway and flood plain. The entire site was flooded by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 and 60 of the 80 apartments were damaged. Those units have been repaired and re-occupied, but it was clear to the Housing Authority that the senior and disabled residents needed to be relocated to a safer site.
On April 3, Congressman Peter Welch, Governor Phil Scott and Mayor Miro Weinberger joined Housing and COTS to mark the re-opening of the COTS building at 95 North Avenue following extensive renovations.
COTS and Housing Vermont partnered on the capital project to rebuild a permanent home for the COTS Daystation, the nonprofit’s daytime center for homeless adults to connect with services; create 14 affordable apartments; and renovate COTS’ program spaces for its homelessness prevention initiative (the COTS Housing Resource Center), and family and adult services, making them fully accessible and more energy efficient. COTS will annually serve more than 2,600 people facing homelessness from its new facility.
“This project is not about a building but about what happens within it,” said Rita Markley, COTS Executive Director. “We are bringing together in one location every level of care for our most vulnerable neighbors: affordable housing, the largest homeless prevention initiative in Vermont and our Daystation which offers a safe warm refuge for those with no place left to turn. “
The Bright Street Co-op, developed by the Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) and Housing Vermont with strong support from the City of Burlington, will receive the 2017 Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Award from the National Community Development Association. The award, which recognizes exemplary use of the federal Community Development Block Grant program, will be presented at NCDA’s Winter Conference on February 17 in Washington, D.C.
“The Bright Street Co-op showcases what can be accomplished with innovation and cooperation,” said CEDO Director Noelle MacKay. “Listening to community needs, utilizing public funding strategically, and working together, Champlain Housing Trust, Housing Vermont, the City, and our many partners were able to clean up a brownfield site, and replace a shuttered business with new homes and new neighbors. The CEDO staff is proud to have been able to support this exciting neighborhood project and grateful to our federal delegation for their support.” Continue reading
A key strategy to reducing homelessness in Vermont is to prevent evictions from affordable housing. A $20,000 grant from the Vermont Community Foundation (VCF) to Housing Vermont and COTS will help develop and evaluate replicable eviction prevention strategies.
“Housing Vermont as a housing developer and COTS as a homeless service organization bring complementary skills and resources to this cross agency approach to preventing evictions,” said Housing Vermont President Nancy Owens. “We will use early detection and intervention, housing retention coaching, referrals to community-based programs, and technical assistance for local housing providers to create new connections among organizations serving lower income Vermonters.”
Eileen Peltier, (Downstreet Housing) and Nancy Owens
Housing Vermont recognized a housing professional and volunteer for their accomplishments and elected a new Board member and a slate of officers at its September 8 annual meeting.
HV President Nancy Owens presented Eileen Peltier, Executive Director of Downstreet Housing & Community Development, with the Michael Richardson Award. Nancy highlighted Eileen’s leadership in helping communities respond to Tropical Storm Irene and in maintaining vibrant downtowns. Noting that they both rose from senior staff positions to chief executive at about the same time and that both led their organizations through office moves, Nancy thanked Eileen for her support and counsel.
The Miles Jensen Award, which recognizes the outstanding contributions of volunteers, was presented to Sharyn Brush for her service to Bennington’s Applegate Apartments. In presenting the award, Eric Schmitt, Vice President for Asset Management described how Sharyn had connected the residents’ association to the community for the benefit of all.
The U. S. Treasury Department awarded Housing Vermont a $2 million grant for the development of affordable housing in low income areas of the state. The award was one of 32 made to organizations from across the country under the Capital Magnet Fund from a pool of $91.5 million.
“It’s critical that we increase the resources that we can draw upon to create affordable housing,” said Housing Vermont President Nancy Owens. “This grant, which builds upon our success as a statewide community development and affordable housing organization, is a significant step in that effort.”
Scores of interested onlookers joined two local nonprofit housing organizations on the first day of fall to mark the completion of 23 new apartments in the center of Hinesburg’s village. Green Street Apartments were developed and built by Snyder Homes and purchased by Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont to add to the stock of affordable housing in the region.
“The Green Street Apartments are a welcome addition to Hinesburg. The development is an example of what can be achieved when individuals, organizations, and government work together towards common goals,” said Trevor Lashua, Hinesburg Town Manager.
Underscoring Vermont’s success in leveraging federal resources and partnerships to improve access to affordable housing in Vermont’s rural communities, Senator Patrick Leahy Thursday hosted a public roundtable discussion with community leaders and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro in Burlington on September 1. Immediately after the discussion, the Senator and HUD Secretary participated in the opening of a new 40-unit affordable housing cooperative in Burlington’s Old North End.
In his opening remarks at the forum, Secretary Castro announced that Vermont would be one of the first states in the nation to receive funding from the National Housing Trust Fund. Vermont will collect $3 million in the first year of the program.
“Every person deserves a safe, stable place to call home. HUD’s Housing Trust Fund allocation will give severely low-income families in Vermont more affordable housing options that provide better access to good jobs and quality education,’ said Secretary Castro. “HUD is proud to partner with Senator Leahy and the state of Vermont today to help build more inclusive communities of opportunity for tomorrow.” Continue reading
RD State Director Ted Brady, Bill Simoneau and Paul Stewart (Stewart Property Mgmt)
Property managers and maintenance staff are the public faces of our housing partnerships. They are the ones who work most closely with residents and are critical to a successful development.
August 23 was a typical work day for Bill Simoneau, a maintenance technician for Stewart Property Management, who was called to Springfield’s Wall Street Apartments. “Typical” that is until representatives from USDA Rural Development surprised Bill with the announcement that he had been named RD’s Vermont Maintenance Person of the Year.
RD State Director Ted Brady noted that “Be it working to ensure that the apartments are free of lead, or by connecting tenants to local supportive services in times of need, Mr. Simoneau’s commitment to his work is highly deserving of recognition.”
The August 4 grand opening of Downstreet Apartments not only marked the availability of 27 new affordable apartments, but also a new home for Downstreet Housing & Community Development.
Senator Patrick Leahy and Barre City Mayor Thom Lauzon joined Downstreet’s Eileen Peltier and Kathy Beyer, Housing Vermont, in thanking funders, community supporters and others for making this downtown redevelopment project a success.
Downstreet and Housing Vermont partnered to redevelop two parcels on Summer Street to construct a 4-story building with office space for Downstreet on the first floor and 27 affordable apartments on the top three floors. This infill redevelopment project demolished three structures to create room for the new 25,600 square foot building, outside common space, and green space. Downstreet Apartments, which qualifies for the national Silver Green Building standards, relies on an efficient wood pellet boiler to provide heat and hot water.