Report: challenges and opportunities for increasing the supply of accessory dwelling units
Recent legislative changes at the state level have aimed to ease restrictions on Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) development in Vermont. ADUs are gaining interest from local groups seeking to increase the supply of affordable housing in their communities. With their capacity for affordable housing development and management, Affordable Housing Trusts like Addison County Community Trust (ACCT) are potentially poised to help in this effort.
This report is the second in the series of reports produced by ACCT's Privilege and Poverty intern, Ella Jones from Middlebury College. Ella explored various program models to determine the feasibility of ACCT creating a similar program in Addison County. Through her research and interviews with various program officials, she determined that in the current construction environment, the amount of support ACCT would need to provide, both for up-front costs and ongoing property management, makes ADU development unlikely to be an effective tool for stimulating affordable housing development.
While our exploration of this topic did not yield promising results for ACCT, there are several avenues that Addison County might consider moving forward:
Thanks to Middlebury College student Ella Jones, who interned with ACCT this summer through the Privilege and Poverty Program, ACCT has new resources to offer for helping residents in our mobile home parks upgrade their homes.
According to an analysis conducted by Ella, more than 10% of homes in ACCT parks likely pre-date the HUD Code for Manufactured Housing which was created in 1976. Moreover, nearly two-thirds are likely to pre-date important updates that occurred in 1994. All told, over 200 homes in ACCT parks are likely to be in need of replacement.
In 2022, the legislature increased funding for a Champlain Housing Trust program that provides a "silent second" mortgage--essentially a grant--for mobile home replacements. In order to better help residents take advantage of this program, Ella created this Guide for Mobile Home Replacement. The graphic below provides an overview for residents to help determine whether replacement might be an affordable option for them.
Ella also wrote a final report for ACCT to help us better understand the challenges and opportunities pertaining to mobile home replacement in our parks. A summary of the report is available here.
Ella helped ACCT with a host of projects, touching on issues related to upgrading the state's old manufactured housing stock, increasing the supply of affordable housing through Accessory Dwelling Units, and identifying barriers to creating child care near affordable housing. We are so thankful to have had her on the ACCT Team this summer and look forward to continuing to share and build on the valuable work she did during her time here.
We Want to Hear From You!
For over 30 years, Addison County Community Trust (ACCT) has been working to provide affordable housing in our community. During that time, our organization has grown, changed, and evolved. To best fulfill our current mission, we are exploring a new name and logo to better represent the work we do.
We invite you to share your thoughts and opinions on how we can most effectively represent ourselves to our community and beyond. Completing our survey only takes 8-12 minutes to complete and would make a world of difference in our efforts. Participants who complete the survey before Monday, September 5, will be entered to win 1 of 2 $100 Visa gift cards!
Thanks so much for helping us become the best organization we can be for Addison County. We look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Addison County Community Trust (ACCT) would like to share the exciting opportunity for a passionate community member to serve on the Fundraising Committee in a volunteer capacity. This committee is comprised of Board Members, Staff, and community members. The Committee is primarily responsible for implementing ACCT’s Annual Giving campaign in support of our mission to enrich the lives of low- and moderate-income people of Addison County by ensuring the development, management, and maintenance of safe, quality, affordable homes and related supports for families, seniors, and individuals. The ideal candidate would be a resident of Addison County, or has strong ties to the area, and is an advocate and supporter of affordable housing.
The work (and fun!) includes:
To apply, email Hillary Desilets at firstname.lastname@example.org to request an interview. ACCT strongly encourages persons with disabilities, persons of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ persons to apply.
ACCT Resident focus group
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.
July Board Meeting
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 staff members share news and information about upcoming events.