News & Ideas

Nothing illustrates the importance — and impact — of affordable housing and community development better than stories about the community itself. Learn about the people who develop and build the housing and the people who are built up because of it.

Opinion: Nancy Owens: Vermont needs more housing for everyone. Here’s how to make progress

This commentary was written by Nancy Owens and originally published by VT Digger on March 28, 2023.

Today’s housing market is broken. A lack of housing limits people’s mobility. Seniors who are overhoused cannot move to a more appropriate home; workers who want to secure better jobs cannot find a home in strong employment centers; people who are ready to purchase homes cannot find one they can afford. 

While reduced mobility is true for everyone, it really impacts people with less financial resources. 

Why is there not enough housing here? Economists and others provide data and analysis about demographic and economic trends that impact housing supply and begin to explain some of the issues.

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RuralEdge and Evernorth Celebrate Renovations and Construction Progress at Burkeland Lane

December 16, 2022

[West Burke, VT]  Evernorth and RuralEdge were joined by community members, funders and local elected officials on Friday afternoon to celebrate newly renovated buildings and significant progress to a newly constructed building on Burkeland Lane.

Burkeland Lane (formerly known as West Burke Housing and Pilgrim Manor) is a mixed-generation affordable housing property located in the heart of West Burke. West Burke village is a small, but thriving community fueled by tourism. The local rental market, like much of Vermont, has been affected by significant rent increases and the conversion of rental units into short-term rentals. These market realities make Burkeland Lane, which will remain permanently affordable, a critical community resource.

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Construction Begins on New Affordable Apartments for Families Experiencing Homelessness in Downtown Burlington

December 9, 2022

[Burlington, VT]  The Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) and Evernorth were joined by Mayor Miro Weinberger, funders, and community members to mark the start of construction of deeply affordable housing for 16 families currently living in emergency shelters or motels.

The new multifamily apartment building, named Main Street Family Housing, is being constructed on existing COTS property, adjoining their Main Street Family Shelter.

“Evernorth is excited to be partnering with COTS on this critical downtown project, which not only creates sorely needed affordable housing, but also allows COTS to integrate its programs to better serve their clients,” said Evernorth Co-President Nancy Owens. “This affordable housing will provide a permanent benefit to the entire community.”

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Construction Begins on New Affordable Housing in Downtown Bristol

October 26, 2022

[Bristol, VT] Co-owners and developers, Addison County Community Trust (ACCT) and Evernorth, are pleased to announce that construction is underway at Firehouse Apartments which will serve 20 low and moderate income households in downtown Bristol.

The Firehouse Apartments represents a critical component of a public/private partnership bringing municipal services, business incubation, and mixed-income housing to the growing community of Bristol on the Stoney Hill property. This partnership between the Town of Bristol, private developers, and housing nonprofits ACCT and Evernorth leverages the investments in municipal infrastructure and job creation to serve 20 households in a community where there were previously only nine non age-restricted affordable housing apartments.

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Anonymous Donor Gives Generous Gift to Endow Evernorth’s Gensburg Scholarship Fund

We have great news to share! An anonymous donor has generously donated a substantial gift to endow the Evernorth Scholarship Fund. The Fund was established 8 years ago to honor Robert Gensburg, one of the founding attorneys of what was then Housing Vermont.

Bob Gensburg quietly but profoundly made the communities he worked in a better place for all. Bob’s commitment to social equity and the rule of law were part of his moral fabric, whether he was representing impoverished schools with limited access to resources, serving as a special prosecutor, or representing a detainee at the Guantanamo prison.

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Evernorth Creates Workforce Housing Loan Fund for Upper Valley

September 22, 2022

[Burlington, Vermont and Portland, ME] – Evernorth is pleased to announce that it closed an $8.95 million loan fund capitalized with investments from eight major Upper Valley employers. Dubbed the Upper Valley Loan Fund (the Loan Fund), this fund will loan money to developers and other entities to build affordable apartments targeted to renters with moderate incomes. The Loan Fund will help catalyze rental housing production in a segment of the market serving employees who are increasingly priced out of the housing in the area.

Due to the critical housing shortage in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont, area employers increasingly cite the lack of access to quality affordable housing as a key barrier to recruitment and retention of employees. According to a recent report by Vital Communities, a regional civic engagement organization, the Upper Valley needs 10,000 new homes by 2030 to meet demand (requiring a tripling of the current annual rate of housing production).

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Eric Schmitt, Sherrin Vail & Josh McIntyre

Evernorth Announces Key Leadership Changes

August 30, 2022

[Burlington, Vermont / Portland, Maine] — Evernorth is pleased to announce several key leadership changes that will enhance operations at the organization.

Eric Schmitt has been named Evernorth’s first Chief Operating Officer. We are excited to see Eric move to this role where his strong leadership and organizational skills will add great value to the flow of operations within Evernorth.

Sherrin Vail has been promoted to Vice President of Asset Management and Portfolio Initiatives. As the VP of Asset Management and Portfolio Initiatives she will have greater responsibilities across the entire Evernorth geographic footprint.

Josh McIntyre has joined the staff as Vice President of Capital Management.  Josh comes to Evernorth with over 15 years of experience in the finance world — in the private and public sector.

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Joint Public Statement: Bemis Block Apartments Accidental Fire

July 22, 2022

[Morrisville, Vermont] – On Wednesday, July 20th at 9:30AM, a fire broke out in an apartment in the Bemis Block Apartments building located in downtown Hardwick. The fire was caused by a lit candle in a resident’s apartment. The sprinkler system immediately doused the fire which successfully prevented it from spreading throughout the building and endangering other residents. Area firefighters and emergency crews responded to the site quickly. Upon assessment of the scene, firefighters turned off the sprinkler system. Firefighters remained on site and were joined by building management technicians and clean up professionals to assess the damage.

No injuries to people or property damages in the vicinity related to the fire are known at this time. A building assessment is underway by insurance professionals. The cause of the fire is known and not considered suspicious. Assessment and clean-up efforts are ongoing.

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Joint Public Statement: Village Center Apartments Affordable Housing Construction Site Fire

July 5, 2022

[Morrisville, Vermont] – At 8:00 AM on Sunday, July 3, a passerby in downtown Morrisville noticed a fire at the Village Center Apartments affordable housing development and contacted emergency responders. Area fire departments responded quickly. Firefighters successfully contained and put out the fire, and remained on site for several hours to ensure that the fire did not reignite.

Village Center Apartments is currently under construction and does not have residents residing in it presently. Work crews were not at the job site the day of the fire. No injuries to people or property damages in the vicinity related to the fire are known at this time.

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Stowe Celebrates the Opening of New Affordable Apartments Located in Stowe Village

June 14, 2022

[Stowe, Vermont] – Tuesday morning brought together residents, funders, community members, local legislators and two affordable housing organizations to celebrate the completion of 9 new homes and to officially kick-off the second phase of River Bend Apartments.

River Bend Apartments represents the first opportunity that Lamoille Housing Partnership (LHP) and Evernorth have had to develop affordable housing in Stowe in 10 years. These energy efficient, affordable homes will provide much-needed housing and combine both preservation of existing apartments and new construction in order to best meet the needs of the community.

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Opinion: Nancy Owens: Lack of affordable housing is an issue of equity — and we need to fix it

This commentary was written by Nancy Owens and originally published by VT Digger on May 19, 2022.

Almost 35 years ago, Vermont made a commitment to sustainability, equity and justice when it formed the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. 

The idea that we could balance housing and conservation by uniting environmentalists and developers in one organization was a radical bet.  The bet was that, together, we could decide where housing belongs and which lands to preserve for farms, woodlands, wildlife and clean waters.

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