Champlain Housing Trust‘s shared equity homeownership program is featured in today’s issue of the Burlington Free Press. The program has helped over 1000 families achieve the dream of homeownership since its creation. To read the full article, click here. Below is an excerpt:
Lal Gurung, born in Bhutan, spent 18 years in a refugee camp in Nepal before emigrating to Vermont in January 2011. A little more than three years later, after spending a significant portion of his life living in a plastic tent, he became a homeowner in Burlington’s South End, thanks to an innovative shared equity program from Champlain Housing Trust.
The program, which provides a generous down payment that stays with the house if it is sold, has made homeowners out of more than 1,000 families since it was launched in 1984 by then-mayor of Burlington, Bernie Sanders.
“This was something the Sanders Administration came up with as a way to halt gentrification in the Old North End, and give people a stake in ownership,” said Chris Donnelly, director of community relations for the Champlain Housing Trust. “Burlington became the first city in the country to put public money into creating a community land trust.”
Today, the nonprofit Champlain Housing Trust has an annual operating budget of $10 million, with 80 percent of its income from fees and rents that people pay to live in its housing, or from developing new housing. The other 20 percent of the budget comes from grants and donations.
“Most of it is people paying rent,” Donnelly said. “In our portfolio we have about 2,200 rentals of all shapes and sizes.”
The Trust’s rental housing is kept affordable, with rent and utilities that add up to about 30 percent of the renters’ incomes.
“If you look at all the property we manage, we commit to keeping it affordable forever,” Donnelly said. “We have about $300 million worth of assets.”
Earlier this year, Champlain Housing Trust was one of six organizations honored by the Allstate/Atlantic Media Renewal Awards for “innovative local approaches to pressing issues affecting communities across the country.
To continue reading, click here.