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Input Sought for Burlington’s One-Year Action Plan for Housing & Community Development

Posted April 22, 2014

The City of Burlington is soliciting input on its 2014 One-Year Action Plan for Housing & Community Development and on activities to be undertaken as part of that Plan. The City anticipates receiving $716,684 in CDBG dollars and $388,428 in HOME dollars to support housing, community and economic development activities. The City will also allocate $65,814 in Entitlement 13 funds.

To read the draft document, click here.

On Monday, April 28, 2014, at 7:00 pm, there will be a Public Hearing before the Burlington City Council to hear comments on the draft One-Year Action Plan and on the funding recommendations of the CDBG Advisory Board, which comprise the projects and activities for the One-Year Action Plan. Written comments will also be accepted on the Plan through the close of business on May 9, 2014, at the Community & Economic Development Office, 149 Church Street, Room 32, City Hall, Burlington, VT 05401 or


In case you missed it: Housing conference keynote and plenary panel on CCTV

Posted December 27, 2012

The Vermont Statewide Housing Conference on November 15, 2012, brought together over 400 housing professionals from across the state and region to discuss housing development, construction, financing, legislation, advocacy, policy, and more.

In case you missed it, video of the keynote address, delivered by Xavier de Souza Briggs and the conference plenary session, with welcome by Governor Peter Shumlin, is available on the CCTV website.

To watch video of Xavier de Souza Briggs and the plenary panel, visit the conference website.

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Struggle to house city’s homeless faces new hurdles

Posted December 20, 2012

By Matt Ryan, Burlington Free Press Staff Writer. Reposted from the Burlington Free Press, December 14, 2012.

“’What makes it a complicated challenge is that our first and best impulse is to help someone in crisis,” Markley said. “And in a time of very limited resources, when you do that, the consequence is that you are often diverting away from longer term solutions.’”
Rita Markley, Executive Director, The Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) 

Link to Burlington Free Press Article 

PDF of Full Burlington Free Press Article



COTS moves Daystation to Buell Street parsonage for the winter

Posted October 19, 2012

By: Joel Banner Baird, Burlington Free Press Staff Writer, posted October 11, 2012

“Three months after a storm destroyed a daytime facility for homeless adults in Burlington, the Committee on Temporary Shelter announced its interim replacement on Buell Street.

COTS Executive Director Rita Markley said Thursday the Daystation would be housed until spring at the First United Methodist Church parsonage.

“We are so extraordinarily relieved,” Markley said during a tour of the historic brick building. “This is a very powerful statement — this is faith in action…'”

PDF of Full Burlington Free Press Article

Link to Burlington Free Press Article 


National Community Land Trust Conference Big Success

Posted October 6, 2012

Congratulations to VAHC member and conference host Champlain Housing Trust, the National CLT Network, and all the Vermont partners involved for putting on a great conference, attended by over 300 people from all over the country and the world.  Over four gorgeous Vermont September days, the conference included 52 information packed sessions and panels, seven international presentations, three Vermont CLT tours, two feature-length documentaries, a stirring message from Senator Bernie Sanders, and an inspiring keynote address.

Click here for Conference Photos & Summary

Click here for Conference Course Materials 



Affordable Housing Convention Beds Down in Queen City

Posted September 12, 2012

By Kyle Midura, WCAX

Reposted from, September 11, 2012

“Affordable housing advocates say their job is getting tougher as they tackle higher demand with less resources. This week, Burlington plays host to a large national conference, as attendees from across the U.S. and the world look to learn from the Queen City’s example.

National spokespeople call Burlington, and Vermont in general, a model for affordable housing efforts. But, city leaders say there’s still a lot of work left.

August First owner Jodi Whalen scrawled the word “grateful” into the concrete outside her Burlington bakery. Whalen says it’s a reminder of all that she’s thankful for, including the initial grant that allowed her to become a homeowner years ago.

“We had great credit, but we just couldn’t afford a house in the Burlington market,” she said, “and the housing trust came to the rescue and helped us out.”

She bought a new home on her own two years later. Now, she champions affordable housing issues, and is one of about 300 attending the National Community Land Trust Network conference in Burlington this week…”

Link to Full Article 

Link to Video

PDF of Full Article


Against the Odds, a Burlington Housing Development Will Remain Affordable — Forever

Posted August 10, 2012

By Kevin J. Kelley [08.08.12]

The fate of two low-income housing projects in Burlington hung in the balance last year when Pizzagalli Properties announced plans to sell the Wharf Lane and Bobbin Mill apartment buildings to the highest bidder. Almost 100 renters faced eviction until the Burlington Housing Authority swooped in with a deal that keeps the apartments subsidized for the indefinite future.

There’s no such cliffhanger at South Meadow, a 148-unit mixed-income development off Pine Street between Home Avenue and Queen City Park Road in the city’s South End. Under a financing deal struck with the Champlain Housing Trust that is expected to be formally concluded next month, the development’s cheaper units will remain affordable permanently, and some market-rate units will convert to affordable apartments and condos. Bottom line: The total number of affordable units will grow from 40 to 88.

Link to full Seven Days article

PDF of Seven Days article


Seven Days Article: The Other Bed Down: Will New Campus Housing Fix Burlington’s Rental Problem?

Posted August 2, 2012

Written By: Kevin J Kelley – July 25, 2012

Apartment vacancies in Burlington typically last about as long as snowballs in summer. That’s because the Queen City’s vacancy rate rarely rises above 1 percent, compared to the 5 percent indicator of a well-balanced market.

But this summer has been different, according to a number of landlords, including Rick Sharp, an attorney who owns a few city apartments typically leased by students. Sharp says vacancy rates are uncharacteristically high this summer for multi-bedroom rental units. About twice as many four-bedroom units are empty now than is typically the case, he estimates.

Sharp’s observation is supported by a flurry of apartment ads that recently appeared in the classified pages of local newspapers.

And it’s backed by a report issued last month from Allen & Brooks, a South Burlington-based real estate appraisal firm, that suggests demand is no longer vastly exceeding supply in Burlington’s student rental market.

“This market appears to have slowed as a result of high rents and competition from the 403-bed Redstone Lofts apartments at the University of Vermont,” the Allen & Brooks report observes. It also notes a new 90-bed dormitory is opening at Champlain College this fall …

Link to Seven Days Full Article

PDF of Full Seven Days Article



Posted July 6, 2012

As you may know, the July 4th storms and flash floods that hit Burlington and other parts of the state flooded out the Committee on Temporary Shelter’s Daystation. The damage is extensive: computers, donated clothes, tables, chairs, carpets, boxes of paperwork — everything below the 16 inch watermark has been destroyed. The Daystation will be closed for at least a month, leaving all the folks who use the Daystation daily to eat lunch, pick up mail, and use the computers and phones to reach prospective employers and landlords. The Burlington Free Press gives you a good picture of how bad the situation is:
As damage estimates rise, COTS closes Day Station after deluge.

Donations are needed immediately: paper goods (plates, cups, napkins), plastic utensils, trash bags, disposable serving dishes, moving services. Please bring donations to COTS administrative offices at: 95 North Ave., Burlington (Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday). Anyone interested in volunteering space, labor, food or other donations should contact COTS at or 864-7402.

You can also donate online at 


New Rental Neighborhood Opens in Burlington’s New North End

Posted June 25, 2012

– Cathedral Square, Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont Complete 63 Apartments –

Burlington, Vermont – Today, Governor Peter Shumlin and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger joined a trio of nonprofit housing organizations to mark the completion of an attractive, new neighborhood off North Avenue in Burlington’s New North End.

“The creation of this neighborhood comes at a time of new energy in Burlington. These perpetually affordable homes will ensure residents of all incomes and ages have a place here,” said Governor Shumlin. “The state is happy to have supported this energy-efficient, smart growth development and the jobs that come along with it. Congratulations to the talented team that put the project together.”

Reflecting the name of a former school, Thayer Commons consists of three properties: Thayer House, 69 senior apartments developed by the Cathedral Square Corporation in two phases; Avenue Apartments, 33 apartments developed by Housing Vermont and the Champlain Housing Trust (CHT); and The Flats a project developed by EF Farrell which offers a total of 88 apartments in two phases. When complete, the new neighborhood will be home to nearly 200 households.

“The redevelopment of the former Thayer School is among the best local examples of smart growth. At the heart of the American dream is the simple hope that each of us can choose to live in a neighborhood that is beautiful, safe, affordable and easy to get around. The Thayer development makes that dream a reality for hundreds of people,” said Mayor Weinberger. “Congratulations to Champlain Housing Trust, Housing Vermont, Cathedral Square Corporation and Eric Farrell on transforming a vacant school with acres of parking into this vibrant community for people from all walks of life.”

The regional rental market is marked by high rents and very few vacancies. The current Burlington apartment vacancy rate is less than 1 percent (5% is considered a market balanced between landlords and tenants). The median rent in the region is $1,263 for a 2-bedroom apartment without utilities.

Demand for the new apartments has been extremely high. Construction of Thayer House was completed in May and all 33 senior apartments were reserved prior to the opening date. The 33 units at Avenue Apartments became available on May 29 and are also already fully leased.

“We have 100 people filling out rental applicants a month, and no one project can close the gap in demand,” said CHT Chief Operating and Financial Officer Michael Monte. “But here we have made an impact while demonstrating how a new development can complement an existing vibrant neighborhood.”

Thayer House provides seniors with 30 one- and three two-bedroom apartments in a three-story building featuring many amenities including central air conditioning, a secure entry-way system, laundry facilities on each floor and a smoke-free environment. However, it is the strong services that distinguish Thayer House.

“Thayer House represents the future of Cathedral Square,” said Executive Director Nancy Eldridge. “When we think about housing for seniors we envision a setting where residents have the support they need, when they need it. Thayer House was designed to provide the community rooms, accessibility and technology to complement our new Support And Services at Home (SASH) program. SASH helps residents stay healthy and at home.”

SASH, a care partnership among Cathedral Square, VNA of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties, Champlain Valley Agency on Aging and other service providers, offers case management and preventive services in the home setting at no cost to the participants.

Avenue Apartments offers 12 one-, 18 two- and 13 three-bedroom apartments for low, moderate and market rate singles and families. The highly energy efficient building incorporates many green features, including roof-mounted photovoltaic solar panels which produce more electricity than the building uses.

“The three elements of Thayer Commons clearly demonstrate the success of a coordinated, thoughtful response to the need to meaningfully increase the supply of housing while fitting into established neighborhoods,” said Housing Vermont President Nancy Owens. “None of this would have been possible without the cooperation of our neighbors, the City and the State of Vermont and the financial support of both the public and private sector,” Owens said.

Over a dozen sources of funds financed the new development, including a HUD special purpose grant secured by Senator Patrick Leahy.


The Cathedral Square Corporation (CSC) is a non-profit organization that owns and manages communities for seniors and individuals with special needs. The organization was founded as a ministry of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in 1977 and by 1979 CSC had opened its first building in downtown Burlington, Vermont. For the past 30 years, Cathedral Square has lived up to its mission of “healthy homes, caring communities and positive aging”, providing housing with supportive services for over 1,235 residents. As an advocate for a system that better serves the long term care needs of Vermonters. Cathedral Square administers the SASH program statewide as part of Vermont’s Blueprint for Health. The organization continues to develop properties throughout Northwestern Vermont. Today, CSC owns and/or manages 25 housing communities, each uniquely designed to provide safe and secure apartments at an affordable price.

The Champlain Housing Trust, founded in 1984, is the largest community land trust in the country. Throughout Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties, CHT owns and manages approximately 1,500 apartments, stewards over 500 owner-occupied homes in its signature shared-equity program, and provides services to five housing cooperatives and other resident-controlled housing that is home to 460 households. CHT also provides homebuyer education and financial counseling and offers affordable energy efficiency and rehab loans. In 2008, CHT won the prestigious United Nations World Habitat Award, recognizing its innovative, sustainable programs.

Housing Vermont, a nonprofit syndication and development company founded in 1988, creates permanently affordable rental housing for Vermonters through partnerships with local organizations, public agencies and the private sector. This highly successful partnership has produced more than 4,400 affordable apartments in 145 different developments. Housing Vermont has raised and deployed more than $247 million in private equity which has leveraged an additional $351 million in private financing and public investment.

Chris Donnelly – Director of Community Relations, Champlain Housing Trust


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