2022 "Out Of Reach" Report: Housing Wage Continues to Outstrip Average Renter Wage, Especially in Addison County
*Reposted from 350VT*
Vermont's rural nature makes us a beautiful and unique place to live. However, it also makes getting around without a car difficult. Our need to drive, in part, is why 40% of state emissions are from transit. Plus, as many Vermonters know, due to cost, disability status, age, or immigration status, not everyone can drive. This means gas powered cars are harmful to our environment, and for equity. If you want a sustainable and just transportation future, please take this quick survey from 350VT on improving Vermont transit. It takes only 5-10 minutes but really helps form a sustainable transit system accessible for all. If you have experience living in Vermont without a car or with limited transit access, consider joining 350VT for a zoom roundtable August 10th from 7pm-8:30pm. The roundtable is an opportunity to speak with policy leaders about making Vermont's transit system accessible for all.
Here is the survey in English: https://forms.gle/di5W6DjSkfPoKEU36
Here is the survey in Spanish: https://forms.gle/wYLAG45g8UvxgFxy7
New analysis from the Vermont Housing Finance Agency shows that home prices continued to increase over the first half of 2022. Addison County has the fourth-highest home prices in the state--surpassed only by Chittenden, Grand Isle, and Lamoille Counties--and had the fifth-largest increase, at 7% over 2021 home prices. Median sale price now tops $300,000 overall, and $320,000 for single-family homes. A family would need to earn $93,000 and have $30,000 available for closing costs in order to afford the median priced home, compared with median income of about $75,000.
ACCT's July Board meeting will take place on Thursday, July 28, at 4pm at 109 Catamount Park in Middlebury (CSAC) or via Zoom. Please email us to RSVP.
ACCT may have a focus on "bricks and mortar" but it's good to remember that what we do is really about the people. Fundraising Coordinator Hillary Desilets had an opportunity to sit down with one of our new residents, who was generous enough to share her story with us. Below is a note from Hillary about their conversation.
Entering the zoom call, a pair of pink hued glasses with white rims caught my attention. “Those are fantastic shades.” I commented. “Thank you, they help with the light and cast a pink tint that calms my brain.” She replied. “So, you see the world through literal rose colored glasses. That is incredible.”
After hearing Josie’s story, it is amazing how much trauma one human being can endure and yet she continues to remain positive and optimistic about people and her community. Up until a few years ago, Josie lived in NY with her two children and partner where emotional abuse was a regular occurrence. Then, she became ill. Josie started to experience chronic pain in her face, mainly around her eye due to inflammation of the trigeminal nerve. This severe facial pain would be triggered at any moment simply by chewing or speaking leaving her in pain and unable to eat or function.
Josie’s search for answers and a diagnosis was nothing short of a battle. With many visits to the local ER, she was provided medication and treatment time and again for migraines and instructed to reduce the stress in her life. As she continued to be overtaken by facial pain, her support system crumbled at home. After a hospital stay, she returned to emotional abuse from her partner and a growing fear for her own safety if she stayed in the home.
After thoughts of suicide, Josie made the difficult choice to leave her home and two children to find answers. Now homeless and still searching for a diagnosis, she was unable to find a primary care doctor in NY amidst the pandemic. Josie happened upon an article highlighting the work of a Neurologist currently located in Vermont. She hopped in the car and drove straight to the Howard Center only to find it was closed due to the pandemic. Utilizing 211, she was connected with Women’s Safe, CSAC, and Charter House almost immediately. They supported in getting the medical care she needed while providing a safe space for her physically and emotionally. “Porter actually listened to me and got me immediately into programs and provided support.”
In November of 2022, Josie met Alice, Property Manager for ACCT, when an apartment had become available in Middlebury. “I am in the center of town! Everything is here. I have a garden now and someone comes the 1st Wednesday of the month to give us plants and education on how to grow them.” She glows.
With her pain now in remission since she moved in, Josie attributes a large part of her recovery to having a safe and secure space she can rely on. “I can go to sleep and know I am going to wake up safe. This is huge.” She goes on to say “It is not only the apartment but the entire community.” With Women’s safe located with in walking distance, Josie calls it a “fairytale, really.”
“I didn’t feel safe in my home for years, then homeless, then traveling in my car. To finally have a home - my key - my name on the lease. It felt like Miracle on 34th street.” Josie has started over again and has taken up the guitar as well as college courses. “This has given me the time to restore my health and heal from domestic violence. I have been provided the resources to slow down, heal, come back, and sustain it. I am so grateful, nothing but gratitude.”
Josie’s advice for those facing mental health and housing challenges, “Watch who you spend your time with. Never EVER give up. Keep asking for help and if you’re not getting it – go somewhere else. Go where the love is.”
ACCT's Board will be meeting twice in June. On June 15th at 4:30pm via Zoom, there will be a Special Meeting to approve two authorizations for Firehouse Apartments. The regular June Board meeting will occur on June 23rd at 4pm at CSAC's offices at 109 Catamount Park in Middlebury. There will be a Zoom option for the regular Board meeting as well. The agenda will be posted here prior to the meeting.
Our 2021 Annual Report is now available! An excerpt highlighting some of our key accomplishment is posted below, along with a snapshot visual summary.
When we celebrated our "We Made It Home" event last year, vaccines, warm weather, and it seemed easier times were on the horizon. Of course the pandemic had other plans for us, with Delta and then Omicron requiring course corrections and adjustments. Nevertheless, we continued to "make it home" for thousands of Addison County residents.
Residents of our senior housing stayed safe with assistance from our SASH program, which ensured that every senior was able to get the vaccine. Launched last March, our new Family Support Program expanded our ability to help families with children access resources that addressed everything from financial security to food insecurity. Residents of our mobile home communities enjoyed better, safer infrastructure including rebuilt roads and clean water projects.
In addition to those who have lived with ACCT for a long time, 70 new families found a home with ACCT in 2021, from 23 who were experiencing homelessness to five who realized their dream of homeownership. In 2022 we will lay the groundwork for even more housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters as we seek to break ground on a 20-unit apartment complex on Firehouse Drive in Bristol.
As we look to the future, we may not know what lies ahead, but we know that with your support, we will be better prepared than ever to meet the challenges and opportunities that come our way.
ACCT's Annual Meeting will take place on Thursday, April 28, at 4pm via Zoom. Join us to hear about our 2021 Annual Report and have an open discussion on affordable housing challenges and solutions. Meeting materials:
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Did you know that April is Fair Housing Month? We've been observing Fair Housing Month at ACCT by featuring and supporting Fair Housing Fridays. Every Friday in April, there's a webinar discussion of different Fair Housing Topics. Tomorrow's topic is “Unique Challenges and Opportunities of Mobile Home Parks” and ACCT's Executive Director Elise Shanbacker will speak as a panelist. See below for more details and registration information--hope to see you there!
Unique Challenges and Opportunities of Mobile Home Parks
Friday April 22, 2022 from 12:30-1:30 (40 mins panel, 20 mins questions)
Featuring: Elise Shanbacker (ACCT), Kelly Hamshaw (UVM CDAE), Gayle Pezzo (Westbury)
Vermont’s Mobile Home Parks are home to more than 7,000 households and provide an affordable homeownership option despite the rising costs of housing across the state. These 236 communities can be found situated in many different contexts ranging from urban Burlington to remotest corner of the Canadian border; while their specific contexts may differ, common challenges and opportunities can be found in nearly every park. Despite making up a significant piece of the state’s affordable housing landscape, the “housing conversation” in Vermont often overlooks these communities and the unique challenges residents and park owners face within them.
Join us for a lively conversation about these unique challenges, including:
ACCT staff members share news and information about upcoming events.