[Lyndonville, VT] On Thursday, October 29, the Lyndonville community celebrated the official grand opening of Olivia Place with a socially-distanced Pumpkin Walk named in memory of Olivia Beleau. RuralEdge and Evernorth (formerly NNEHIF & Housing Vermont) partnered to develop these 20 thoughtfully designed, energy-efficient apartments in two newly constructed buildings and are co-owners of Olivia Place.

The new construction replaced the former Lyndonville Housing, which was comprised of 14 units in a 45-year old building and a 150-year old village house which were poorly designed and did not meet the needs of its tenants, accessibility standards or current energy goals. The new buildings have 12 one-bedroom, 7 two-bedroom and 1 three-bedroom apartments. Both new buildings exceed state energy code requirements. The heating system is a central biomass wood pellet boiler.

Funding totaling more than $5.8 million from numerous sources was raised to finance the total redevelopment costs. TD Bank invested over $4 million in federal tax credit equity, allocated by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency. The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board provided over $1.4 million, including over $400k from the state Housing for All Revenue Bond of 2017. The Vermont Community Development Program provided $345k through the Town of Lyndonville. Efficiency Vermont incentives were also provided.

Evernorth Co-President, Bill Shanahan noted that the construction of this new, redesigned housing underscored the nonprofits’ commitment to sustainability. “We understand that affordable housing resources are scarce and that the need is great,” Shanahan said. “This financing enabled us to increase the number of perpetually affordable apartments in Lyndonville and provide residents with safe, attractive and energy-efficient homes.”

Olivia Place was named in memory of Olivia Beleau, a decades-long real estate development director at RuralEdge. Olivia was passionate about bringing affordable housing to those who needed it. Evernorth and RuralEdge are glad to celebrate her legacy on her favorite holiday, Halloween.

“When I see Olivia Place I am overwhelmed with happiness,” said Patrick Shattuck, Executive Director of RuralEdge. “It makes me happy to think of the commitment and conviction of all of our partners and funders. It make me happy to know so many of the tenants and their stories and to know that they have safe, attractive and affordable housing in the heart of Lyndonville.  It makes me happy to see the bike racks filled with the bikes of our youngest residents and hearing the appreciation for amenities like a playground, community gardens and grilling space.  Most of all, it gives me joy to know that this development is named for my dear friend and mentor, Olivia Beleau who passed away in late 2018.  This development embodies everything she believed in and worked for her entire life.”

Construction was completed in the summer of 2020 and many residents have already moved into the new units, some of whom lived in the old Lyndonville housing. Scott + Partners were the project architects on the design of the new buildings. Trumbull-Nelson was the general contractor.

For more information on Olivia Place, visit the RuralEdge website at www.ruraledge.org  or call (802) 535-3555.

Video remarks from key partners, funders and elected officials below:

Representative Martha (Marty) Feltus

Tim O’Neill, RuralEdge Board of Directors

Patrick Shattuck, RuralEdge

Bill Shanahan, Evernorth

Gus Seelig, VHCB

Maura Collins, VHFA

Matt Moore, Evernorth

Diana Beleau, daughter of Olivia Beleau

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About RuralEdge

RuralEdge is a non-profit affordable housing and community development corporation that has served the Northeast Kingdom for over 30 years. Founded in 1986 as Gilman Housing Trust, RuralEdge manages over 600 units of housing, with another 100 units currently in development, across the three counties that constitute the Northeast Kingdom. RuralEdge is one of five Neighborworks Chartered Organizations in the State of Vermont, which allows us to offer a number of programs for residents, as well as current and potential homeowners. We operate a Homeownership Center which offers a Homebuyer Education Course each month, as well as a Home Repair Program and financial education services. RuralEdge residents may participate in events and services provided by the Community Development department through our Neighborworks Community Building and Engagement program and Support and Services at Home (SASH) efforts. As the leading provider of affordable housing in the Northeast Kingdom, RuralEdge is committed to its mission  to strengthen Northeast Kingdom communities, one home at a time!

About Evernorth

Evernorth unites Housing Vermont (HV) and Northern New England Housing Investment Fund (NNEHIF) together as a single nonprofit organization to serve the low and moderate income people of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont with affordable housing and community investments. With a 30 year track record, Evernorth is deeply knowledgeable of local markets, has close connections with local and regional organizations, and understands the policy and regulatory framework guiding affordable housing and community development across northern New England. With offices in Portland, Maine and Burlington, Vermont Evernorth builds on the record of achievement of its two reputable nonprofit organizations by bringing together experienced professional staff to raise capital, invest in and build affordable housing, strengthen our economy, and improve our environment through energy efficiency. Over its combined history, Evernorth has raised and deployed over $1B in equity capital for affordable housing and built more than 13,000 affordable homes and apartments for low and moderate income people across northern New England. www.evernorthUS.org