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Grand Opening Celebration – Harrington Village and Wright House

Posted August 19, 2014

Join Cathedral Square, Champlain Housing Trust, Housing Vermont, and special guest Governor Peter Shumlin to celebrate the opening of new housing in Shelburne’s village.

When: Wednesday, Spetember 10th, 2014 at 10:00AM

Where: Harrington Avenue, Shelburne

Parking available at Trinity Episcopal Church, just off of Route 7 south of the development.

Please RSVP at: Square@cathedralsquare.org

Harrington Village Invite

 



Welch Highlights LIHTC Legislation at Bobbin Mill Apartments in Burlington

Posted June 22, 2014

In case you missed, last week CCTV aired a press conference with Congressman Peter Welch at the Bobbin Mill Apartments with Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, Ken Sassarossi of Housing Vermont, Sarah Carpenter of VHFA, and Brenda Torpy of CHT.

Welch was at Bobbin Mill to highlight his legislation (H.R. 4717) to improve the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and stimulate the development and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing in Vermont.  Watch the broadcast online here or below:

 



Sarah Carpenter Receives Champlain Housing Trust’s McKenzie Award

Posted February 7, 2014

Re-posted from Leslie Black-Plumeau of VHFA’s Housing Matters Blog:

VHFA’s Executive Director, Sarah Carpenter, received the Tim McKenzie Award at Champlain Housing Trust’s annual meeting and dinner…   The award recognized Carpenter’s outstanding contributions to permanently affordable housing during the past thirty years.  Carpenter is a long-time Burlington resident.

“I am honored to work with partner organizations like Champlain Housing Trust to extend affordable housing options to Vermonters not served by conventional markets,” said Carpenter, who has been VHFA’s executive director since 1998.

Champlain Housing Trust’s Chief Executive Officer, Brenda Torpy, presented the award.  Torpy explained that Sarah was one of the housing trust’s original Board members thirty years ago.  “Her driving vision about the role perpetually affordable housing plays in our economy has had wide reaching impacts,” Torpy commented.   Champlain Housing Trust is a community land trust that supports communities in northwest Vermont through the development and stewardship of permanently affordable homes and community assets.

According to Tom Pelletier, Chairperson of VHFA’s Board of Directors, “Sarah’s keen understanding of housing markets and devotion to making housing more affordable for low and moderate-income Vermonters has made her a highly effective leader.”

Before joining VHFA, Carpenter was the Executive Director of Burlington’s Cathedral Square Corporation—an organization nationally recognized for combining affordable housing and community services.   Born in Burlington, Carpenter is a graduate of the University of Vermont and Harvard University.

 



Seven Days Profiles Harbor Place, Recent Homeless Family

Posted December 18, 2013

Kathryn Flagg for Seven Days has written a new article on Harbor Place.  The report highlights the story of the Sweeney’s, a family who recently stayed at the new emergency housing facility purchased and opened by Champlain Housing Trust.  More from the article:

The practice of housing Vermonters in motels, when homeless shelters are full, is a controversial one: The emergency-assistance program has grown steadily more expensive in recent years; in the last fiscal year, it cost the state $4.2 million, prompting officials to tighten eligibility. Advocates for the homeless argue against drastic cuts to the program. Until the state has better safety nets in place, they say, the motels are an important last resort for people who have nowhere else to sleep.

No one is saying it’s an ideal solution. But that’s where Harbor Place — formerly the Econo Lodge in Shelburne — comes in.

“We thought, ‘There’s a better way,’” said Chris Donnelly, director of community relations at the Champlain Housing Trust. So in late October, the trust purchased the 59-room motel for $1.85 million, financing the majority of that purchase with a loan through the Vermont Community Loan Fund — the largest in VCLF’s history…

The change is more than cosmetic. Security cameras were installed earlier this month. New placards posted around the motel advertise the facility’s rules, including a ban on visitors after 8 p.m. It’s quiet, and the Sweeneys like the fact that a guard roams the property until midnight. Neighbors stop by with baked goods, and the former lobby is occasionally stocked with donated clothing and boots.

But arguably the most important change is that Harbor Place brings caseworkers directly to “guests” at the motel. The goal isn’t simply to give families and homeless individuals a warm and safe temporary room; it’s to connect them with other services and programs that can get them out of the motel and back on their feet…

In November, Harbor Place’s first month of operation, the shelter housed 128 people — including individuals and families. The State of Vermont guarantees to pay for at least 30 of the motel’s 59 rooms every night, but at an average rate of $38 a night, it’s a better deal than what the state pays at other motels around Chittenden County. The voucher limits a family’s stay to 28 days, but Harbor Place allows guests to extend that if they pay their own way and are actively working with a caseworker. Harbor Place also takes in families or individuals referred by Fletcher Allen Health Care or the HowardCenter.

Department of Children and Families Deputy Commissioner Richard Giddings called the Champlain Housing Trust a “solid partner,” with whom the state is making significant strides to address the costs of homelessness.

“They’re under a lot of pressure to do things differently,” said Donnelly of the state. “But you can’t just flip the switch overnight.”

Read the full article, and learn of the Sweeney family’s experience at Harbor Place, over at Seven Days, or here in PDF.

 



ICYMI: Program Helps Low-Income Buyers Afford Mobile Homes

Posted December 2, 2013

Demand is growing for a year-old program that helps Vermonters who lack resources buy mobile homes, reported VPR recently.  The program was developed through a partnership between Vermont Housing Finance Agency, Champlain Housing Trust, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.

Maura Collins of VHFA and Emily Higgins of CHT were interviewed by VPR.

Read the VPR piece or learn more about the program on the Champlain Housing Trust web site.

See also: Vermont manufactured home loan program in the news

 



Champlain Housing Trust Receving $100,000 Housing for Everyone Grant from TD Charitable Foundation

Posted November 19, 2013

The folks over at Champlain Housing Trust announced some more exciting news last week.  CHT has been awarded a $100,00 grant from TD Charitable Foundation.  One of just 25 grants made from the Housing for Everyone competition, and the only one recognized in Vermont, CHT will be using the investment towards a housing and community development effort in Burlington’s Old North End.  CHT has additional details:

The grant is funding CHT’s work with Housing Vermont to redevelop an urban brownfield with four existing structures in Burlington’s Old North End into the Bright Street Housing Cooperative – 42 newly constructed homes in a resident-controlled housing development. Developing new, affordable housing in Chittenden County is critical with a 1% vacancy rate and rents that have increased by nearly 50% since 2007.

“We are excited to support the transformation of a full block which needs more affordable housing and is in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Vermont,” said Phil Daniels, Vermont President of TD Bank. “The Champlain Housing Trust has a long and successful history contributing to the vibrancy of the Old North End, and we are happy to be able to support their next development there.”

…Four buildings will be constructed on the site; one large building with 35 apartments, and three other buildings with a total seven apartments scattered amongst them will form the streetscape. The larger building will be developed in the middle of the block. For a visual of the site plan, visit http://bit.ly/brightstreet. The plan envisions several eco-features, such as community garden space in raised beds, the possibility of solar panels on the roof stormwater collection for watering gardens and clotheslines.

“The redevelopment of this area of Bright Street is an ambitious project,” said Nancy Owens, President of Housing Vermont, a partner in the development. “The grant from the TD Charitable Foundation will enable us to create housing that will benefit the neighborhood for years to come.”

The development will be under construction in late summer of fall of 2014, beginning with the demolition of buildings along Bright Street. Occupancy in the new co-op is expected to be in late summer 2015.

Take a look at the proposed site plan of the Bright Street Redevelopment:

BSC_Site_SketchPlan1

 



Master Plan for Burlington College Would Add Affordable Housing

Posted November 5, 2013

Last week Burlington College announced plans to develop about half its land for private use, which would include 40 units of affordable rental family housing, 30 individual lots for single-family home ownership, a 120-unit building for market-rate rentals, and 75 units for senior housing.  The Burlington Free Press has more:

An ambitious vision for a new residential neighborhood and an adjoining academic campus off North Avenue was presented Wednesday as Burlington College’s “master plan.”

The new neighborhood would be a mix of senior housing, market-rate and “affordable” rental housing, and single-family homes. The college’s campus, which already includes the former Catholic diocese headquarters on North Avenue, would be built out with residence halls, a student center and an amphitheater, with ample green space left over.

At a news conference Wednesday morning attended by prospective developers, President Christine Plunkett characterized the plan as a way to accommodate the college’s growth aspirations, and as a way to retire the debt the college incurred by purchasing the property it now occupies. That property, which extends from North Avenue to the shore of Lake Champlain, covers 32 acres — the north half of which would be reserved for the campus under the master plan, and the south half of which would be sold off gradually and developed…

Plunkett introduced Eric Farrell of Farrell Real Estate as the trustees’ unanimous choice for lead developer. She also introduced representatives of Champlain Housing Trust, which would develop the affordable rental housing, and Cathedral Square, which would develop senior housing…

A public-access recreation path from North Avenue to the lakeside bike path would be provided, Farrell said. The southern 16-acre tract would include 75 units of senior/congregate housing, 40 units of affordable rental family housing, 120 units of market-rate rental housing and 30 single-family homes on lots of 65-70 feet by 110 feet. These are not “hard numbers,” Farrell added, and could be revised.

The city’s current rental vacancy rate is about 1 percent, said Brenda Torpy, chief executive officer of Champlain Housing Trust, so the need for affordable housing remains dire.

Read the full article here or as a PDF.  See also VTDigger’s report on Burlington College’s plans.

bcmasterplan

 



Champlain Housing Trust Converting Motel into Emergency Housing

Posted October 29, 2013

EconoLodge

Yesterday Champlain Housing Trust finalized a deal to purchase the Econo Lodge in Shelburne and convert the facility to short-term emergency housing. Burlington Free Press has the details:

The Econo Lodge in Shelburne will soon become a new sort of short-term housing that officials are touting as a way to help clients regain their footing.

The Champlain Housing Trust is buying the motel on Shelburne Road in a deal finalized Monday, said Michael Monte, chief operating and financial officer for the trust. The facility has ceased operating as a motel and could begin operating as Harbor Place by this weekend.

“It’s like a motel but very different,” Monte said. “This is really something in the middle between having nothing and having something,” Monte said.

The plan is to provide up to 59 rooms for people in need of temporary housing, but to also provide them with caseworkers who will set them on a required course to find a job or child care, or cure other problems that led to their homelessness, said David Yavacone, commissioner of the state Department for Children & Families…

Champlain Housing Trust is paying $1.85 million for the property that includes 4.89 acres, Monte said. The money includes $1.675 million borrowed through the Vermont Community Loan Fund and $175,000 financing from the seller, Keshav LLC, Monte said…

Champlain Housing Trust will run Harbor Place, providing an on-site manager and staff, but has agreements to work with several area agencies, including HowardCenter, Fletcher Allen Health Care, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity and others, to connect clients with help, Monte said.

More from VTDigger:

Champlain Housing Trust has recruited at least 10 other entities to provide services, ranging from job counseling to housing assistance to domestic violence services or to help with financing the project…

Like the state’s motel program, stays at Harbor Place will be capped at 28 days, but unlike the current voucher system, there will be case workers on hand to help families and individuals find permanent housing, apply for jobs, or address other needs.

The state itself has signed on as a partner — DCF is reserving 30 rooms for people who qualify for vouchers through DCF’s point system.

DCF Commissioner Dave Yacovone said he’s excited about the arrangement.

“By bringing the [case] manager in, it makes it look entirely different than just putting someone up in a hotel,” he said. “That’s a really exciting opportunity to provide wraparound services to families in a transitional housing unit.”

Yacovone also estimates the new arrangement will save the state roughly $250,000 a year. That’s because the Trust, a nonprofit operation, is confident Harbor Place will cost less — it’s charging the state $38 per night. Yacovone said the department normally pays $62 a night for motel rooms in Chittenden County.

In the News: Burlington Free Press (PDF); VTDigger (PDF); Vermont Public Radio

 



Job Opening at Champlain Housing Trust

Posted October 28, 2013

We just learned of yet another exciting employment opportunity, this time at Champlain Housing Trust.  Check out the job description below:

Join Champlain Housing Trust’s homeownership team as a counselor and help people fulfill one of their most important needs – housing.

You will provide the education and tools to help people build credit, rent an apartment, or purchase a home. You will also assist people in preventing delinquency and foreclosure. We’re looking for a team player with outstanding interpersonal and teaching skills who supports CHT’s mission of permanent and affordable housing. You must be well-organized, a creative problem-solver, and willing to travel to trainings and workshops. Counseling and public speaking experience, as well as knowledge of housing, mortgage lending, personal finance, and community resources a plus.  Full-time position, with some nights and weekends required.

CHT is a socially responsible employer offering competitive salary and benefit package. Submit cover letter and resume by November 18th to Human Resources, Champlain Housing Trust, 88 King Street, Burlington, VT 05401 or hr@champlainhousingtrust.org.  No phone calls.

Equal Opportunity Employer – CHT is committed to a diverse workplace and encourages women, persons with disabilities, Section 3 residents, and people from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds to apply.

Read about this job at CHT’s website here.  Please feel free to share this posting with any folks you think would be interested.

 



Champlain Housing Trust and Saint Michael’s College Agree to Transfer of Land

Posted July 9, 2013

For Immediate Release: July 8, 2013
Contact: Michael Monte, Champlain Housing Trust, 861-7300, Buff Lindau, St. Michael’s College, 654-2536

Champlain Housing Trust and Saint Michael’s College Agree to Transfer of Land 

Colchester, VT – The Champlain Housing Trust and Saint Michael’s College announced today the sale of land currently leased to CHT along Route 15 in Colchester, Vermont. The parcel is home to Winchester Place, a mixed-income rental development with 166 apartments. The Champlain Housing Trust’s lease with the College was slated to expire in 2033, and this agreement preserves the affordability of the apartments on the site. The existing lease also made investment in the long term capital needs of the property difficult.

“The College’s understanding of our mission and commitment to avoid the displacement of low income households is greatly appreciated,” said Michael Monte, Chief Operating and Financial Officer of the Housing Trust. “We are very pleased to work with St. Mike’s on this transfer.”

In addition to securing the long term affordability of the apartments, another benefit to executing a sale now was to make refinancing and rehab work possible as needed in the coming years.

“We had no plans to sell this property, but when Champlain Housing Trust explained the importance of the sale transaction to the future of Winchester Place it made sense for the College to proceed,” said Neal Robinson, Vice President for Finance at Saint Michael’s.

The leased parcel consists of 16.3 acres, and will be sold for $3.2 million. The 2-bedroom apartments have a range of rents from $725 to $1,050 per month. Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Chittenden County is $1,280, and renters are the second highest cost-burdened in New England.

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