A resident of our newest 24-unit eco-friendly building, Vergennes Community Apartments, let us know how much the place she now calls home means to her and her daughter.
Domestic violence and a fire lead Jennifer to seek assistance from a local support group. Vermont Network reports that there are an estimated 40,000 victims of domestic or sexual violence in Vermont. Jennifer had no license, no car, and was the longest standing resident at the motel provided to her and her 7 year old daughter.
"I looked everywhere for an apartment. I had to be closer to town for transportation since I didn't have a car and it was more expensive the closer I got."
One day all of this changed for Jennifer and her daughter.
"I met Alice at Women's Safe one day. All my life I had never filled out any kind of application for housing or rental assistance so I didn't know all the things I needed to do. Alice helped me get all the paperwork done and when she called me to tell me I got the apartment I broke down crying."
Vergennes Community Apartments is located minutes from main street and feet from the local middle school. This has done wonders for her daughters healing who is now participating in band and is learning to cook, something Jennifer never thought she would do as she had previously refused to go to afterschool programs.
When asked about the amenities at VCA, Jennifer said "I don't have to stress about getting through the week." VCA offers free WIFI to residents which allowed her daughter to keep up with school during the pandemic. Jennifer also was able to utilize the WIFI to stay connected with health professionals even when community transit was shut down due to COVID. "You guys checked off so many of my worries." Jennifer said when discussing her daughter learning to ride her bike safely with no training wheels.
The support doesn't end with a roof. Jennifer also works with our Family Support Services Coordinator, Precious, on a regular basis. Currently, she is working to get documents needed to get her license back, pay off debt, and finally get dental insurance to have work done she has needed for some time.
When asked how this support has impacted her over the past year Jennifer said, "It makes me feel good I am taking care of something. I used to have really low self-esteem, I’d love it to be higher but it’s crawled up a bit."
Jennifer's advice to anyone seeking housing is "It might be a wait to get in, but it is totally worth it!" ACCT is committed to the growth of affordable housing in Addison County. As a non-profit, all donations go to support the development, maintenance, or support provided to residents.
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