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Affordable Housing Complex In Lyndonville Gets a Makeover

Posted July 18, 2016

WCAX reports on the redevelopment of Darling Inn in Lyndonville, VT:

Lyndonville’s Darling Inn officially reopened Saturday after a year long project aimed to improve the historic building.

Willie Mitchem lives at the Darling Inn in Lyndonville, an affordable apartment complex that he says stands out from places he’s lived before.

“The staff loves me. I go over there, pay my rent, and they say, ‘thank you Mr. Mitchem.’ I say, ‘You’re welcome ladies!’ I’m a flirt,” said resident Willie Mitchem.

But he says the building needed a few upgrades. On Saturday, officials and residents celebrated the reopening of the Darling Inn after a year long redevelopment project.

“It’s beautiful. My bedroom’s big. My living room’s medium. My kitchen: I love it. The cupboards are down where I can reach them. Excellent,” Mitchem said.

The Inn was originally built in the 1920s as a hotel, but it now consists of 28 affordable housing units for elderly and disabled citizens. Officials say they hoped to both improve and restore the historic building.

The total project cost more than $5 million and was funded with help from 1.3 million dollar loan from USDA Rural Development. The changes included making the building more energy efficient, and making apartments more accessible.

“Roll in showers and grab bars. Improving the kitchens, making sure that they’re very accessible, and then in terms of the heating system, we upgraded the old oil system to a wood pellet furnace,” said Trisha Ingalls, RuralEdge CEO.

To continue reading the article, click here.


RuralEdge Statewide Community Leadership Institute in Montpelier, July 25th

Posted July 9, 2015

RuralEdge will be hosting a Statewide Community Leadership Institute on July 25th at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier, Vermont. They will be offering courses focused in areas such as community gardens, landlords and tenants, saving energy and shrinking their carbon footprint, starting resident councils, hosting fun and exciting meetings, and what to expect when renting (for both landlords and tenants).

The day will begin at 9:00am and will end at 4:00pm. They will have a keynote speaker, morning beakout workshops, and afternoon breakout workshops. They will also be providing mileage reimbursement for participants, lunch, and childcare for those who require it. This conference is free to anyone who wants to participate.

To view the course descriptions and registration form, click here. Please return the form by July 20th to ensure your slot at the CLI. If you have any questions please email for more information.


Leahy, Sanders, Welch Announce $1.5 M In Affordable Housing Grants For Vermont’s Local NeighborWorks Organizations

Posted March 5, 2015

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Representative Peter Welch (D-Vermont) Wednesday announced $1.5 million in grants to revitalize communities and support access to affordable housing across Vermont. The announcement marks the first round of 2015 federal grants awarded by NeighborWorks America.

Leahy said: “Vermont’s NeighborWorks affiliates are on the front lines of creating jobs and stabilizing our communities by investing in affordable housing. Vermont, like the rest of the country, faces an extreme shortage of affordable housing. These investments will help our local NeighborWorks Organizations to continue to build, rehabilitate and manage affordable housing for Vermonters and provide vital housing counseling and education for renters, homebuyers and homeowners. These grants will support their excellent record of lending a hand to Vermonters in need and in helping to strengthen our communities.”

Sanders said: “It is no secret that over the past decade, incomes have not come close to keeping pace with rising housing costs. At a time when countless families are struggling to get by, and when many households are spending more and more of their limited income on housing, this grant will help provide more housing to Vermonters who need it.”

Welch said: “Every Vermonter should have the peace of mind that comes with a safe and affordable home. These funds are a welcome investment in our communities and can be put to use helping families with a wide range of challenges such as finding a rental, needed home repairs and financial counseling. I applaud NeighborWorks for their commitment to strengthening and improving neighborhoods all over Vermont.”

As the most senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee Leahy has led efforts to support for annual funding for NeighborWorks America. Last year Leahy led a group of 30 senators (link is external), which includes Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), in urging the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee to support funding for NeighborWorks America, which has a proven its ability to leverage federal appropriations with other investments.

NeighborWorks America is a public nonprofit established by Congress to invest in revitalizing communities and preserving affordable housing through their 245 partner organizations across the country. NeighborWorks America awarded five grants to Vermont’s affiliates, totaling $1,558,939, an increase over the $1,334,634 awarded last year:

Central Vermont Community Land Trust Inc. — $161,250
Champlain Housing Trust — $574,189
NeighborWorks of Western Vermont — $269,385
RuralEdge — $214,160
Windham & Windsor Housing Trust — $339,955

Ludy Biddle, director of NeighborWorks of Western Vermont (NWWV), said: “This grant makes it possible for us to carry out everything from our personal counseling for elderly couples threatened with foreclosure, to our home repair and efficiency program that is saving residents more than a million dollars a year in energy costs, to our neighborhood program impacting all the residents in a 10-block area near downtown Rutland. NeighborWorks America makes this all possible.”

Chris Donnelly, director of community relations for Champlain Housing Trust, said: “NeighborWorks America’s support strengthens our organization at a time when there is an increasing need for our services. This funding will also help us build new affordable apartments to address the significant shortage of housing in our region.”


RuralEdge Kicks Off “Rural Reality Campaign” This Week


As the winter months grind to a close, the region’s largest community development organization is taking advantage of the lingering cold to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness.

RuralEdge kicked off their annual “Rural Reality Campaign” this week, which is designed to both raise the issue of, and give people the opportunity to experience first-hand, the challenges faced by rural homeless.

The subject is one that usually flies under the radar in the Northeast Kingdom, according to the event’s organizers.

“In the Northeast Kingdom and Vermont, folks don’t realize it’s an issue,” said Regional Economic Services Director Kelly Greaves, citing examples of the “hidden homeless,” who spend the night in ATM lobbies, or vacant buildings to keep warm.

Still others, who are classed as “vicariously housed,” spend their nights couch-surfing, which can present as much of a challenge as actual homelessness.
“It’s not their own home, it’s not their space,” said RuralEdge Community Engagement Specialist Dan Haycook. “It’s still that question of, ‘Am I going to be able to stay there tonight, where am I going to wake up tomorrow, do I have to call another friend or knock on another person’s door?’ It’s not consistent, it’s not stable.”

While the causes of homelessness can range from domestic violence, health issues, runway youth, or even seasonal jobs, officials agree there are a lot of preconceptions assigned to the status. These preconceptions can create roadblocks to recovery.

“To be honest, some people have this sense of being ashamed, and not wanting to reach out for the help they need,” said Haycook. “Which is heartbreaking, because you know, that’s why we’re here.”

While this means that the number of actual displaced individuals is probably higher than current counts indicate, reports show that Vermont has nearly doubled the number of chronically homeless individuals since 2013, while 39% of the homeless population are under the age of 18.

It’s numbers like these that RuralEdge wants to drive home with their annual “Rural Reality Campaign.”

Beginning with a “Meal for a Mission” at QBurke Mountain on Thursday, March 5, the event aims to raise awareness and end homelessness in the Northeast Kingdom.

The dinner is followed by the Overnight Vigil, held Friday, March 6 in Bandstand Park in Lyndonville, which will give participants the chance to experience what a Vermont night is like without shelter.

“It’s bitterly cold out there, and you’ll find people who participate in that event, in the morning, they’re not very happy,” explained Haycook “They’re uncomfortable, they’re very cold, they’re very tired, they’re worn out. And that’s something that people face every day, not just for one single night.”

The Overnight Vigil will feature food deliveries, and music by Kali Stoddard-Imari. Participants are welcome to stop by throughout the night, and while there will be warming barrels, are encouraged to dress warmly.

The vigil will break with the final event of the campaign- a Pancake Breakfast at the Lyndonville Firehouse, cooked and served up by local firefighters. The breakfast begins at 7 a.m., and is $7 for adults, $3 for children, and free for those who spend the night in the park.

Participants in the Overnight Vigil will speak about their experiences at the breakfast.

All proceeds from the events will go to fight homelessness in the Northeast Kingdom.

“Housing is a basic necessity, and it’s the most important necessity. If you don’t have housing, you have nothing,” said Haycook.



Job Opportunity: Accounting Specialist at RuralEdge

Posted February 24, 2015

RuralEdge has an immediate need for an Accounting Specialist. This entry-level opportunity with room for growth is a new permanent position. The Accounting Specialist will be responsible for performing many day-to-day accounting functions using Intacct, a cloud-based accounting software. The successful candidate will be reporting to the CFO.

Primary responsibilities are: Monthly, quarterly, annual account reconciliations, maintain prepaid schedules, audit file compilations, process replacement reserve payments, process monthly escrow deposits, quarterly reporting for external parties, general ledger analysis, other clerical duties.

Basic Qualifications:
• High school diploma or equivalent
• 1-3 years of previous experience in finance, accounting, credit, customer service, and/or similar function, additional education may be substituted in part
• Ability to accurately type a minimum of 25 words per minute
• Experience with Microsoft Office Suite software, particularly Word, Outlook, Excel and Access

Preferred Qualifications:
• College degree in Business, Accounting, Finance, or related field
• Excellent time management skills with ability to manage multiple priorities and meet deadlines
• Proven analytical, problem solving, and decision making skills
• Superior organizational skills and strong attention to detail
• Process oriented
• Must have demonstrated initiative and ability to work independently, as well as in a team environment
• Customer service focused with the ability to partner with internal/external contacts
• Flexibility to adapt to a dynamic business environment• Ability to handle confidential information
• Effective communication skills, both oral and written

To apply click here.



Advocates Are Still Pushing for St. Johnsbury Homeless Shelter

Posted January 27, 2015

The article below is from the Albany Times Union and was originally reported in the Caledonian Record.

Homeless advocates in St. Johnsbury say they remain committed to opening a winter homeless shelter in St. Johnsbury despite the town’s rejection of the idea.

After a proposal to put a shelter on Lincoln Street was rejected by the town, supporters recently suggested installing the shelter in an Elm Street building owned by Lyndonville-based Rural Edge, which once served as a youth shelter.

“It’s still cold outside so people need warmth,” said Joe Patrissi, of the Newport-based Northeast Kingdom Community Action. “We’re looking at it because Rural Edge said they’d donate its use for the winter. We have to make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.”

Patrissi said his organization has received a $20,000 grant to hire an employee to train and coordinate volunteers to staff the warming shelter. The proposal will soon be presented to the St. Johnsbury Development Review Board, he said. The concept must also be approved by the select board.

Patrissi told the Caledonian Record that the group is asking neighbors what they think about the idea.

Constance Sandahl, of Northeast Kingdom Youth Services in St. Johnsbury, which operated the former Elm Street youth shelter, said the property has enough room for 10 people.


USDA Awards $250,000 to Four Vermont Organizations To Repair and Rehabilitate Rural Housing

Posted December 5, 2014

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Friday that four Vermont organizations received a total of $250,000 in Rural Development Housing Preservation Grants to help rural families repair and rehabilitate their homes. Southwestern Vermont Community Action Program, the Vermont Center for Independent Living, Northeast Employment and Training Organization, and Rural Edge each received a grant.

“Lower-income rural families often have difficulty just meeting their daily living expenses, and they don’t have enough income for housing upkeep and maintenance,” said USDA Rural Development New Hampshire and Vermont State Director Ted Brady. “This USDA program provides funding to qualified organizations that help these families make essential repairs, often to remove safety and health hazards, so the families can stay there. The program can also help lower their future housing costs through energy efficiency and weatherization improvements.”

Southwestern Vermont Community Action Program and the Vermont Center for Independent Living each received a $25,000 Housing Preservation Grant to assist 20 Vermont families make essential improvements to their homes.

Northeast Employment and Training Organization and Gilman Housing Trust/ Rural Edge Inc. each received a $100,000 Housing Preservation Grant to help a total of 45 families living in Orleans, Essex and Caledonia counties make essential repairs and energy efficient improvements to their homes. The two Northeast Kingdom organizations were able to access these funds thanks to a provision of the 2014 Farm Bill authored by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy and supported by Vermont’s Congressional Delegation extending the Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zone. The designation provides five regions of the country, including the three Northeastern-most counties of Vermont – Caledonia, Essex and Orleans — additional grant resources through USDA Rural Development.

In a joint statement, Leahy, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch said: “These are lifeline investments to improve housing and assist low-income Vermonters across the state. The Northeast Kingdom’s REAP Zone helped to make two of these grants possible and continues to show this is a program that works to build our economy and provide assistance in the NEK.”

USDA Rural Development’s Housing Preservation Grant Program provides assistance to very-low and low-income homeowners to repair and rehabilitate their homes. Assistance is also available to rental property owners to repair and rehabilitate their units providing they agree to make such units available to very-low and low-income families.

President Obama’s historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities.

USDA, through its RD mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $206.2 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas. For more information on Rural Development visit the Vermont/New Hampshire Rural Development website ( or contact USDA RD at (802) 828-6000.

For more information contact Jacqueline Susmann at (603) 953-4987 or


RuralEdge’s Rural Reality Campaign to Spotlight Homelessness in the Northeast Kingdom

Posted February 18, 2014

RuralEdge is partnering with Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, Northeast Kingdom Youth Services, Lyndon State College, and Q Burke to bring the issue of rural homelessness to light. During the first week of March there will be a series of events to raise funds to prevent homelessness and, more importantly, to raise awareness about homelessness in the Northeast Kingdom.

Did you know…

• Homelessness is not as apparent in rural areas as it is in urban settings?
• Homelessness is a critical issue in the Northeast Kingdom?
• Many of our neighbors deal with homelessness every single day?

These facts and many more often go ignored because it’s different out here!  Isolation and rural life make it harder for individuals to have access to the resources they need in order to survive. Do you want to do something to help raise awareness on the issue of homelessness in the NEK?

The Rural Reality Campaign will start off with a 30-hour fast which will raise funds by participants obtaining pledges from friends and family.  During the course of the week there will also be film screenings, food, and an all-night vigil in Lyndonville’s Bandstand Park.  Make sure to follow RuralEdge on Facebook for the latest updates on dates and times.

Email or call 802-473-3925 for more information.

RuralEdge Reality Campaign



Film Screening of American Winter Presented by RuralEdge on Thursday

Posted November 19, 2013

At 7:00 PM on Thursday, November 21 at the Catamount Arts Center in St. Johnsbury, RuralEdge will be hosting a screening of the acclaimed documentary film, American Winter.

The film by Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Joe and Harry Gantz follows the intimate personal stories of eight families facing economic crisis in our country’s worst downturn since the great depression.  Join the discussion following with guest speaker, Merten Bangemann-Johnson, CEO of RuralEdge. Proceeds go to support the housing and community development work of RuralEdge in the Northeast Kingdom.

Check out the trailer of the film:



RuralEdge seeking VP of Real Estate Development

Posted August 9, 2013

RuralEdge, a highly regarded regional nonprofit housing and community development organization serving northeastern Vermont, is seeking an experienced real estate professional to lead the organization’s affordable housing development program.

The VP reports to the CEO, and is an important member of the organization’s senior executive team. She/he is responsible for establishing, leading and implementing the organization’s real estate strategic plan. He/she is responsible for building and maintaining a pipeline of economically viable and diverse affordable housing projects that expand the housing options not only in the targeted communities, but in partnership with other local organizations in the surrounding region.

For more information view Full Position Announcement and  Full Position Profile

For more information, or to apply, please contact David Erickson-Pearson, 8008 S. Madison Way, Centennial, CO 80122. Phone: 303-703-6165 Email:

Interested applicants are encouraged to apply by Friday, August 30, 2013. 



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