Excerpts from press releases and articles written about Habitat and the affordable housing challenges we face in Vermont are included in this section. To view the documents below, you will need the Adobe Reader.
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CDC Collaborates With Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity 12-14-15 The Bennington Banner
Bennington Area Habitat Looking for Homebuyer Applicants! The Bennington Banner
Jennifer Lane Ground Breaking - Manchester Journal article
Jennifer Lane Ground Breaking - September 17th - Bennington Banner article
Win Hoyt Golf Tournament
Habitat hires Executive Director
Habitat seeks road improvements
Letter to the editor - an update on Jennifer Lane
Habitat ready to break ground
David Rubel presents new book at Mettawee
Spaghetti dinner to benefit Habitat
Must a Vermont farmer's daughter give up her past to gain a future?
Fall - 2009
Habitat Responds to "A Question of Scale."
Habitat Application Approved
DRB Approves Habitat Project
A Question of Scale
Habitat Applies to Build More Homes
Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity info meeting set
Between a Rock and a Hard Place - 2009
Winter - 2008-9
Summer - 2008
Habitat to Host Global Village Team
Habitat Construction Kick-Off Open House
Auction to Support Habitat
Affordable Housing Tough Nut to Crack
Between a Rock and a Hard Place - 2008 edition
Feeling the Crunch
Habitat Project could be affected by new housing bill
Winter - 2007 - 2008
Fall - 2007
News from India - about our Tithe
News from Uganda - about our Tithe
Citizens Bank Wins "Be Inspired" Award
Habitat and The Perfect Wife Were the "Perfect Pair" in September
Local Architect addresses green affordable housing
Summer - 2007
Much left to be done on housing, economic development - Kevin Dorn
VIA works to connect county-wide efforts through affordable housing alliance
Get going on housing - Andrew McKeever, June 2007
Community Support for Rupert Home
Spring - 2007
Winter - 2007
State Says Housing Affordability Help on the Way 3-9-07
Cheap Housing Scare - Rutland Herald 2-8-07
Manchester Rotary Club Makes Gift
MEMS Students and Bromley Mountain Help
A Happy New Year for a New Habitat for Humanity Family
Dedication of the Jenks' New Home
Fall - 2006
Housing Wage Doubles
BBA Freshmen Present Housewarming Gift
Chittenden Bank Makes Grant
Grant Received from Citizens Bank
Modern Woodmen Bingo Benefits Habitat
Global Village Team
Habitat Receives Stratton Foundation Grant
Energy Efficient Houses Take Off
Burr & Burton Academy and Habitat become Partners
Summer - 2006
Spring - 2006
Fall - 2005
POWNAL >> Twelve volunteers from Global Village came to Swallow Hill Road from across the country this week to help with a Habitat for Humanity build.
Global Village is an organization within Habitat for Humanity that connects volunteers with Habitat projects around the world. Volunteers pay a fee that goes toward the local HFH, as well as food, travel, and leisure activities during their stay.
"It's a tremendous commitment that they make," said Dick Malley, of the local HFH chapter "They came on Sunday and they stay through next Sunday. Read more....
ANNUAL REPORT FINDS VERMONT RENTS CONTINUE TO CLIMB OUT OF REACH - Working Families and Vermonters on Fixed Incomes Can’t Afford a Modest Apartment
BURLINGTON, VT – In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent in Vermont, renters need to earn $20.68 per hour, or $43,017 a year. This is Vermont’s 2015 Housing Wage, revealed in a report released today. The report, Out of Reach 2015, was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization, and the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition.
The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a family must earn, working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, to be able to afford the rent and utilities for a safe and modest home in the private housing market. Click to read entire report.
Habitat Scores Berkshire Bank Grant - PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Berkshire Bank Foundation announced that it has awarded Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity a $3,000 grant to support their Jennifer Lane Housing project in Manchester. Bennington Area Habitat plans to use the grant's funds to purchase building supplies for each of two homes Habitat is building in the summer and fall of 2013. READ MORE
Vermont Country Store Builds Foundation for Habitat - [Manchester, Vt.] – The Vermont Country Store has announced that it has committed $100,000 to Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity to support the development of its project on Jennifer Lane in Manchester. The commitment will be made over a five-year period, which provides $20,000 per year for each of the next five homes that will be built as part of a 22-home affordable housing development already under way. Bennington Area Habitat dedicated its second Jennifer Lane home at a ceremony on Feb. 24. Because of the need for capital to complete the development, The Vermont Country Store is challenging other businesses and organizations in the greater Manchester area to become involved and invested in this project. Read more......
MANCHESTER -- The newest residents of Jennifer Lane in Manchester were welcomed to the neighborhood Sunday in the latest of 11 planned builds there by Bennington Habitat for Humanity.
"It's a very special group here," said Roy Cooper, speaking to the mob of volunteers filling the recently completed home, where everyone took off their shoes to keep the rich wood flooring clean. "People who did not know us came to help us. ... I can never repay these people." But "the greatest gift is my new extended family," he continued, standing alongside wife Brenda and their children Jennifer, Cody, and Shawna. Read more....
Officials at the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity announced this week that they had received a $90,000 grant which will be used to build three affordable homes in Manchester over the next two years.
The money is coming from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston which approved in December almost 50 applications for funding through its affordable housing program. These grants, totaling more than $14.2 million, will create or preserve more than 1,000 units of affordable housing in New England.
The grant of $90,000 made to The Bank of Bennington, for use by the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity affiliate, must be used to lower the cost of the next three homes built on Jennifer Lane in Manchester, and these homes must be built in the next two years. Read miore...
ACT 250 Hearing -
Brandon Canevari - Staff Writer - Posted: 06/27/2012 04:50:05 PM EDT
MANCHESTER - An Act 250 hearing held last week to explore an amendment to a previously approved permit for a 22 home development on Jennifer Lane provided a platform for residents to air concerns about the project.
The Bennington Area Affiliate of Habitat for Humanity - which is leading the project - has proposed to increase the size of homes being built on Jennifer Lane. This, however, has raised concerns among some residents of the neighborhood. Read more...
On Saturday, May 6, 2012, Habitat dedicated its first home on Jennifer Lane in Manchester. The completion of the first home is testimony to the strength and generosity of the greater Manchester community. There are many people, individuals and organizations to thank who helped make this dream come true for Randy and Michelle Lewis and their children, Aiden and Gracie. We greatly appreciate the positive spirit, interest, and patience from the Jennifer Lane residents. We particularly want to express our appreciation to Martha Thompson, a Jennifer Lane resident, who organized a welcome dinner for the Lewis family and all Jennifer Lane residents last fall. Martha and Kate Williams of Dorset spoiled us with a delicious mid-morning treat every Saturday throughout the build for our volunteers. Read more...
Spring 2012 print newsletter - Click and be patient to download the newsletter. It is a big file but is worth the wait!
WCAX interview - Click to see the video tape.
Manchester, Vermont - December 18, 2011
Manchester, Vermont has always been a hot spot for vacationers and second home owners but a new initiative aims to make living in Manchester more attainable for first time homeowners. Nail by nail, members of the Manchester community are volunteering their time and creating new opportunity for a local family.
"The concept of housing being affordable has been a huge issue in this community for many years," said Lee Krohn, Manchester's Town Planner. In Manchester, where the average home price is over 400-thousand dollars, many who work in the town can't afford to live there
"Our goal is to live, work, send your kids to school -- all in Manchester," said John O'Keefe, Manchester's Town Manager. "We don't feel that the jobs that we attract should allow you to work in Manchester but have to live somewhere else."
Habitat receives $10,000 from the People's United Bank Foundation - On Wednesday, November 30th, the People's United Bank Foundation presented Monica Knorr, President of the Habitat board of directors, with a gift of $10,000 to help pay for the infrastructure improvements to Jennifer Lane that will enable us to build as many as 22 single-family homes that are affordable for hard-working lower income families who live in or work in Bennington County. Read moreRead more.
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Habitat home on Jennifer Lane off to a good start
Due to the generosity of Silas Casey, Habitat made up some time in their race with winter. Title issues delayed the start of Habitat’s first home on Jennifer Lane and put the affiliate seriously behind schedule. Silas Casey (Casey Building & Contracting Services LLC) and his crew took matters into their own hands. They spent a full week working on the home as volunteers. They framed the first and second floor of the home and, with the help of Tony Genier of CPI (Concrete Professionals Inc.) and his boom truck, they put up the roof trusses. CPI installed a "Thermomass" composite foundation with a 4" foam core, making this foundation extremely energy efficient.
Jennifer Lane - Ground Breaking, Saturday, September 17 - Manchester Journal article
MANCHESTER - Ground was broken Saturday on an affordable housing project that represents a new departure for the area's chapter of Habitat for Humanity, a nationwide nonprofit organization whose purpose is to build low-cost housing for those who might otherwise be shut out of home ownership. The long-planned project on Jennifer Lane will involve up to 22 new homes. About half of the homes will be built through Habitat for Humanity, while the rest will be constructed by Vermont Traditional builders, a private contractor. Read more...
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Tee off for Habitat for Humanity
Posted: 08/18/2011 09:42:00 AM
MANCHESTER - The Win Hoyt Golf Tournament sponsored by Casella Waste Management, is a semi-annual tournament honoring Winthrop Hoyt. This year's event is planned for Sept. 20 at the Manchester Golf and Country Club. Proceeds from the event will go to support the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity Jennifer Lane Project and the ongoing marketing efforts of the Manchester and the Mountains Regional Chamber of Commerce. Winthrop Hoyt was a longtime Manchester resident and former Chamber Director. He served as Stratton's Skiing Ambassador promoting senior skiing and travel in our region and was an involved member of the Ekwanok Country Club.
The first of eleven habitat homes on Jennifer Lane will break ground this fall. The homes will be built with and for families that earn no more than 60 percent of the median income for Bennington County ($37,000 for a family of four). All families considered for this housing initiative will meet Manchester's criteria for qualifying for affordable housing. Team and individual player registration is now open. Cost is $100 per player and includes 18 holes of golf, cart, gifts, prizes dinner and award ceremony. For more information, call 362-6313.
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Habitat hires Executive Director - BENNINGTON - Richard Malley was recently appointed executive director of the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity after the local affiliate received a grant to hire its first employee.
The Bennington Habitat received a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for $90,000 over three years to fund the position. The local chapter was one of 30 across the country selected by Habitat for Humanity International to receive a portion of a $5 million HUD grant to support affordable housing and community development. Malley, who has volunteered with the local chapter since 2002, was a unanimous choice by the board of directors. Read more....
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Habitat seeks road improvements - Brandon Canevari staff writer - Posted: 06/29/2011 03:19:50 PM EDT
MANCHESTER - Habitat for Humanity is planning to build their first home on Jennifer Lane, but for the first time they will be seeking some assistance from the town before they get started. "What we've asked the town to work with us on [is] doing some improvements to Jennifer Lane," said president of the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity Richard Malley. "We haven't heard a response so we don't know, but we're hoping we can work together to improve the road." Manchester Town Manager, John O'Keefe, said the matter is still pending. "It's under review by town staff and will be on the Select Board Agenda in the near future," O'Keefe said. It is because of the nature of the project - which involves both a town owned road and town water - that Malley said Habitat wants to have a discussion to determine whether or not the town will assist them with certain elements of the project. Read more....
Habitat dedicates 12th home - ZEKE WRIGHT - Sunday May 22, 2011
SHAFTSBURY -- Bennington Habitat had some new obstacles during construction of their 12th home, dedicated this past Sunday in Shaftsbury. Construction on the Giorgi home on Furnace Brook Road began last fall even before Habitat had formally dedicated its previous build on Silver Street in Bennington. Working through the winter presented new challenges but also the same old rewards for participating volunteers. Read more.
For many families and individuals, Vermont is a very expensive place to rent an apartment,
or purchase and own a home. In 2010, real incomes shrank while housing prices
rose, creating a larger housing affordability gap although low mortgage interest rates
helped to mitigate the modest increase in home prices. A growing gap continues to form
between wages and rental costs. This combined with high utility costs, an aging housing
stock, and expiring federal subsidies in some Vermont apartments is cause for alarm for lower income renters. Federal deficit reduction pressure creates an uncertain environment for continued housing and community development assistance. Read more
Habitat eyes construction phase - Brandon Canevari - staff writer Posted: 03/16/2011 01:50:59 PM EDT
MANCHESTER - With the purchase of the Jennifer Lane properties completed on March 4, the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity is now looking forward to constructing their first house in Manchester this summer.
Assuming ownership of the 22 parcels of land - which Habitat purchased for $183,500 - was one of the last hurdles the organization had to clear before they could begin the building process. However, before a house can be built, Richard Malley, the president of the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity, said there was a significant amount of infrastructure work that remained to be accomplished. Read more
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Habitat for Humanity searching for Jennifer Lane applicants - posted 2-16-2011 - The Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity is now accepting applications from families interested in the new homes that will be built in Manchester on Jennifer Lane.
Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity, which includes all of Bennington County, is looking for a family that is ready to assume the responsibilities of home ownership. Requirements for applicants include a very specific need for decent and affordable housing. They must be unable to get funding for such housing through traditional sources. A stable and adequate income that falls within Habitat's limits, minimal debt, and a positive credit rating are also necessary. Applicants must be willing to work in partnership with Habitat in a variety of ways and must have lived or worked in Bennington County throughout the past twelve months. Read more...
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Habitat Eyes Future
ARLINGTON -- Celebrating the completion of two houses in 2010, Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity held its annual potluck Saturday and previewed big plans for the organization’s future. For 2011, the organization plans to complete work on its Furnace Brook home in Shaftsbury, begin construction on a Habitat-owned development in Manchester, and potentially begin smaller-scale renovation and weatherization projects across the county.
Habitat for Humanity surpassed its 400,000 house milestone during its most recent fiscal year. Since the nonprofit organization was founded in 1976, its self-help, hand-up model has resulted in rehabbed, repaired or new housing for more than 2 million people worldwide.
The Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity affiliate is part of this global effort. Read more.
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Women Build - Habitat invites women to build dream home
BENNINGTON -- The Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity (BAHFH) invites area women to help make the dream of affordable new home ownership possible for a local family. BAHFH is dedicating Oct. 30 to Women Build Day.
Women volunteers will dedicate several hours that day assisting with the early construction phase of a new Habitat home at 157 Furnace Brook Road in Shaftsbury. They will work alongside experienced volunteers under the direction of Steve Newton, of SLN Construction.
The family who will be putting their own "sweat equity" into their future home on Furnace Brook Road is Laura and Alfonso Giorgi and their three children, ages 11, 8, and 5, Lucas, Andrew, and Gabriella. The Women Build volunteers can take pride in helping the Giorgi's build their new home that will provide an environment where their family can thrive.
I am writing as a long-time Habitat volunteer and as a member of the Board of Directors of Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity. I want to take this opportunity to underline just how excited our board is to have received the ACT 250 permit and how appreciative we are of the strong interest and support we have received from the community for our planned project to build 22 affordable homes on Jennifer Lane in Manchester. Many people have worked hard to make this possible. For over a year, we have been working with a Design Team of engineers, architects and energy conservation experts and have developed four attractive and energy efficient designs specifically for Jennifer Lane. They are planned to be affordable for homeowners both in terms of their purchase price and their subsequent maintenance. We look forward to actually beginning work on the infrastructure next spring. More details about our plans and photos of these designs can be seen on the photo gallery at www.benningtonareahabitat.com.
As was pointed out in the September 16th issue of the Manchester Journal, we have been fortunate to receive generous contributions and pledges of support from members of the community. The cost of buying the land and building the first home is only part of the picture. There are considerable infrastructure improvements to the road and construction of the mound septic system, in particular, that must be paid for and accomplished before we can build our first home on Jennifer Lane. In addition to the money we have already raised, we estimate that we need to secure an additional $200,000 in contributions before we can start on the first phase of our plan. Additional funds will need to be secured prior to starting the second phase.
As mentioned, 22 homes are planned for the Jennifer Lane property. Half of the homes will be built by Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity and the other 50% will be built by a private contractor and will be sold with a conventional mortgage to people whose annual income does not exceed 125% of the median income for Bennington County. All the homes will conform to the affordable housing standards of the town of Manchester.
We look forward to working with area volunteers to accomplish something very special for our community.
Ellen Leeds, Member Habitat Board of Directors
Habitat set to begin home in Shaftsbury - Wednesday September 22, 2010
Laura and Alfonso Giorgi have three children, ages 10, 7 and 4, with their oldest child, Lucas, being severely handicapped. Habitat board member and architect, Larry Kolloff, designed special features into the one-story home to make it functionally accessible for the family’s special needs. In speaking about their new home, Alfonso and Laura said, "We are very excited that our home will be able to assist us in caring for our son. Lucas is getting bigger and we are currently doing all the lifting ourselves. Habitat is incorporating a lift system for Lucas and tracking to the bathtub, which will not only be helpful to us, but it will also make it safer to move Lucas. Habitat is a great organization and has taken all our family needs into consideration. We are looking forward to getting started on our home and having a lifelong relationship with Habitat."
Habitat is a hand up, not a hand out. Laura and Alfonso will each contribute 250 hours of sweat equity working side by side with volunteers to build their home and upon completion; they will assume an interest-free mortgage, and payments will enable Habitat to help more families.
Making the home handicapped accessible will add significantly to Habitat’s building cost. As a result, Habitat is working hard to secure financial donations and contributions of building materials and services. The weekly construction plan will be posted on "Construction Updates" on www.benningtonareahabitat.com.
David Rubel presents new book at Mettawee
PAWLET - Author David Rubel presents his book "If I Had a Hammer: Stories of Building Homes and Hope with Habitat for Humanity (with a forward Jimmy Carter)" on Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. at the Mettawee Community School on Route 153 in West Pawlet.
This event is hosted by Northshire Bookstore, and is co-sponsored by the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity Habitat for Humanity's mission is to provide safe, decent, and affordable housing for all people worldwide.
This past fall Habitat completed its 350,000th home and now provides housing for over 1.5 million people in 100 countries. Vermont's eight affiliates have built 135 homes. The Bennington Area affiliate is completing a home in Bennington and is set to break ground on its 12th home this fall in Shaftsbury.
Two of Habitat's most devoted volunteers are former president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn. Author Rubel's new book "If I Had a Hammer" relays President Jimmy Carter's compelling anecdotes; stories of special resonance for young readers, abundantly illustrated with photos; exploring everything from creative home design (like using window bars in India to keep out monkeys) to the emotional rewards of helping to build a house from the ground up. This is an essential resource for future youth volunteers.
Rubel is the author of the Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times and the Scholastic Atlas of the United States. He lives in Chatham, N.Y.
For more information on this and other events, call 802-362-2200 or 1-800-437-3700, or visit the Northshire Bookstore Web site at www.northshire.com.
BENNINGTON -- Bennington Council 307 of the Knights of Columbus will sponsor a spaghetti dinner to benefit Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity on Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales Parish Center, 238 West Main St. from 5 to 7 p.m.
The menu will include spaghetti (with or without meatballs), salad, bread, beverages and dessert. Tickets are $7 for adults, $4 for children under 12, with a family maximum of $20 and are available at the parish center, Tomasi's Sports and Awards, 651 Main St., Bennington, or from a Knights of Columbus member. Tickets will also be sold at the door. There will be a 50/50 raffle. Come and enjoy a good meal and make a dream come true for a local family. For more information, contact Jeff Fortier at 442-4258.
Must a Vermont farmer's daughter give up her past to gain a future? - By Kevin O'Connor, Rutland Herald. In 2007, we built a home in Rupert with and for the Lewis family. This article illustrates one of the pressing issues that face young Vermonters. At the time we built the home, Savannah Lewis was 14. The article is outstanding - and tells about an exceptional young woman.
Eighteen-year-old Savannah Lewis can tell you about the backbreaking work, the budget-busting wages, the bone-beating tractor accident she miraculously survived. But the farmer's daughter instead begins with a brainteaser. The native Vermonter loves her family's Rupert homestead. She labels herself the lucky 13th
generation to grow up on the 650 hillside acres her great-great-great-great-great-great-greatgreat-great-great-grandparents set roots on two centuries ago. READ MORE
Summer - 2010
Thanks to everyone from Habitat for Humanity - Posted: 09/08/2010 04:10:24 PM EDT
To the Editor: - Habitat for Humanity is all about volunteers, team work, partnerships and community.
A huge community (including Mother Nature) came together on Saturday, July 24 for the Bennington Area Habitat (BAHFH) Auction and Tag Sale. A heartfelt thank you all those who supported this major fund raiser by making a donation for the event and to those that were on hand to snap up the bargains.
Special thanks go to the Auction Team:
Andy Tarantino - owner of A Safe Place Self-Storage. Andy makes it possible for us to store auction items on site throughout the year and works tirelessly to insure the auction's success, from drumming up donations, supervising logistics at the site to orchestrating the parking. Clarke Comollo Auctioneer - a man that makes selling and buying fun Sandi Hedman publicity management - and to the many local newspapers that carried our message to the public.
John Cilio, Russ Record and Charlie Stewart - transporters. These key workers and others picked up item after item from our donors and then lifted and hulled all auction day. Marion LaTorella - Tag Sale mastermind, who spent countless hours before, during and after the big day, sorting, marking, organizing and selling. Dick Malley - Board President of BAHFH and a man who seems to be everywhere at once if it's about Habitat.
Businesses and organizations: A Safe Place Self-Storage, tents from the W. Pawlet Fire Dept. and the United Church of Dorset and E. Rupert; chairs and tables from Dorset Fire Department, more tables from the First Congregational Church in Manchester and the E. Arlington Federated Church; Casella Waste Management (dumpster); Brown Enterprises (port-o-potties); Wood and Signs (Richard Farley) and Signworks (Frank Crane); Melanie Allen of the Gourmet Deli for refreshments (oh, it was hot over the grill that day!) and Pad Print for parking.
Runners, Parkers, Money Changers, Registers, Tag Sale Workers: Too many helpers to list separately but they included six young men from Boy Scout Troup 332 and seven fellows from the BBA football team getting in some preseason weight training. Thank you all.
The annual auction is Habitat's major fundraiser. Currently, BAHFH is working on its eleventh home in Bennington for Jeff and Tina Reed. Every penny of the approximately $10,000 raised from the auction will be used to purchase building supplies for our next home. We anticipate breaking ground in early fall in Shaftsbury on a home for Laura and Alfonso Giorgi and their family.
For more information about BAHFH (and auction pictures) go to: www.benningtonareahabitat.com.
Ruth Stewart, Auction Coordinator
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Manchester Habitat for Humanity project given Act 250 permit - Article published Sep 8, 2010
MANCHESTER – The state has granted an Act 250 permit for a long-term project that could see up to 22 units of affordable housing built by the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity. The permit, issued on Sept. 2, would allow Habitat for Humanity to start the project planned for the Jennifer Lane area in Manchester.
“This permit specifically authorizes (Habitat for Humanity) to subdivide 11.79 acres into 22 single family house lots and build affordable, approximately 1,100 (square-foot), houses on each lot; with central community septic system and public water supply. At this time, the only house approved is on Lot # 14. Subsequent houses must seek an amendment,” the permit said. Town permits were granted for the project in September 2009.
The plan has been to buy about 50 separate lots, combine them and then re-divide them into 22 lots. Each would eventually have a single-family home built on it but Habitat officials have said it would take years to complete because funding would need to be raised, volunteers organized and a family chosen for each home. According to the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity, this project, once complete, would be the largest single Habitat project in Vermont.
bpENNOVATIONS Donates Aerix Roof Ventilation Products To Bennington Area Habitat For Humanity
bpENNOVATIONS, an innovator of new pioneering products which address new design concepts as well as past construction challenges, is pleased to announce its recent donation of its Aerix™ Roof Ventilation System to the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity’s Bennington, Vermont project. The project is currently under construction. Read more...
Berkshire Bank Foundation giving report released - Sunday July 18, 2010
PITTSFIELD, Mass., -- Berkshire Bank Foundation announced recently that it awarded more than $300,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations in Berkshire County and the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts, Northeastern New York State, and Southern Vermont from Jan. 1 to June 30 this year. While Berkshire Bank’s priorities are education and community development projects, it also donated to youth, cultural and human service organizations.
Vermont recipients included:
Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity; College of St. Joseph; Dorset Theater Festival; Friends Foundation for Manchester Elementary-Middle School; Mount St. Joseph Academy; Weston Playhouse Theater Company; Downtown Rutland Partnership; Southern Vermont Arts Center.
In 2009, the Foundation awarded nearly $1 million dollars and expects to award approximately the same amount again this year to non-profit organizations throughout its service area. A complete list of Berkshire Bank Foundation supported organizations in 2010 can be found by visiting its website at www.berkshirebank.com.
In addition to annual monetary gifting, the Foundation also oversees the bank’s growing Employee Volunteer Program that carries out group community service projects benefiting schools, non-profit organizations and communities within the bank’s service area. Projects completed in 2010 include: a company-wide care package drive sent to our troops overseas and a building project at the Hildene Estate Museum in Manchester. A total of 252 employees have volunteered 4,300 hours to date in 2010.
Heat can’t halt Habitat work - DAWSON RASPUZZI - Posted: Sunday July 11, 2010
BENNINGTON -- Wednesday’s temperatures that flirted with triple digits didn’t stop nearly two dozen Habitat for Humanity volunteers from grabbing their tools and getting back to work constructing a two-story home on Silver Street.
Many of the volunteers have been on the site from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. nearly every Wednesday and Saturday since construction began in May.
Many of the volunteers are retired from professions that have nothing to do with architecture, but that hasn’t stopped them from coming together in helping build the home that the family of Jeff and Tina Reed hope to move into by the fall. "We get people of all different professions. The wonderful thing about Habitat is it brings together people for a common purpose, of all different backgrounds," Richard Malley, president of the local Habitat affiliate, said from inside the second floor of the home wearing a hard hat and T-shirt drenched in sweat. Read More
Multiple-unit Habitat for Humanity project in Manchester applies for state Act 250 permit
By Patrick McArdle - Herald Staff - MANCHESTER – The Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity has taken its next step in developing a long-term, multi-unit project with an application to the state for an Act 250 permit. Because the project is considered a minor application, there will be no public .... READ MORE
Spring - 2010
Families Chosen for Habitat Homes - DAWSON RASPUZZI - Wednesday April 14, 2010
BENNINGTON -- Jeff Reed and his wife, Tina, have never owned a house. The Bennington couple got married in an apartment, have raised children in an apartment and have had to deal with the lack of privacy and other challenges that living in an apartment complex can bring.
But this fall the couple, three of their children and one grandchild, will move into a new four-bedroom, two-story home on Silver Street. The house is will be built by volunteers of the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity affiliate. Read More
Winter - 2010
.....then we should focus on the one area in which Vermont is clearly not overdeveloped, affordable housing. The administration has made a pastime of efforts to terminate the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, created in the late eighties to encourage land conservation and the development of affordable housing. This approach is misguided in that one dollar of state money appropriated to VHCB is leverage for between $5 and $6 of investment from other sources. We must change this and mount a full campaign to end Vermont's shortage of affordable housing, a problem often cited by employers. Read the entire editorial....
Making History in a Brooklyn Neighborhood by Jeff Vandam
This article describes an innovate approach that Habitat New York took to work with the city, federal government, volunteers, businesses and family partners to create affordable housing in New York City. The article offers insight into how creative partnerships are needed in this economic climate and how a positive can do approach can produce tremendous results. Our Jennifer Lane project for Manchester, while on a much smaller scale, seeks to find the right combination of partnerships that will have a very positive impact on the availability of truly affordable housing in southwestern Vermont. Read article.
Fall - 2009
11/15/2009 - NORTH BENNINGTON -- More than 150 people dedicated their time over the past year to building the house, from pouring the foundation to the last strokes of a paint brush, but it only took five smiles to turn that house into a home Sunday afternoon.
"We have so many stories to tell and we haven't even moved in yet," Patrick Siegrist said. Read more.....
Spring - Summer - 2009
Habitat responds to "A question of Scale."
Letter to the Editor September 20, 2009 - Habitat and Jennifer Lane
I am writing for several reasons. First, I want to express my appreciation to the Town of Manchester Development Review Board and to all the people who participated in the meetings. I also want to recognize the excellent job that Ellis Speath and Chris Ponessi of Speath Engineering did in designing the project and to our many friends for their hard work and generous pledges of support.
Second, I am responding to Cathy Hill’s Letter to the Editor. I appreciate her positive comments about Habitat. She raised important questions that I am sure others might have as well. This type of discussion will help us develop the best possible plan for all concerned. I hope this response not only addresses Cathy’s concerns but also the concerns of others in the community.
The scale of this project actually makes it easier....Read more
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Habitat Application Approved
Brandon Canevari - Editor Posted: 09/17/2009 01:09:27 PM EDT
Friday, Sept. 18, 2009 - MANCHESTER — The Development Review Board has approved an application by Habitat for Humanity for the construction of a 22 unit single family affordable housing project on 11.79 acres of undeveloped land in the Jennifer Lane neighborhood off of Depot Street subject to 25 conditions. Read More
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DRB Approves Habitat Project
Brandon Canevari Posted: 09/11/2009 03:10:27 PM EDT
MANCHESTER - The Development Review Board has approved the application by Habitat for Humanity for the construction of a 22 unit single family affordable housing project on 11.79 acres of undeveloped land in the Jennifer Lane neighborhood off of Depot Street subject to 25 conditions. Read full article.
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A Question of Scale
The Manchester Journal Posted: 09/10/2009 02:41:29 PM EDT Friday, Sept. 4, 2009
To the Editor: For those who may not know, Habitat for Humanity is planning to build a 22-unit affordable housing project on Jennifer Lane in Manchester. I am not opposed to Habitat for Humanity. I have supported this organization in the past. I am not even opposed to Habitat for Humanity building on Jennifer Lane. This organization has a great reputation for providing homes for very deserving families. Read full article
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Brandon Canevari - Editor
Posted: 06/03/2009 03:10:44 PM EDT
Friday, June 5, 2009
MANCHESTER — Bennington Area Habitat for
Humanity has submitted their formal application to
the town to construct 22 single family homes on
Currently Habitat for Humanity is raising funds to
purchase the 48 vacant single family residential lots
that are owned by four different property owners —
a process they must complete by Sept. 1, according
to President of the Bennington Area Habitat for
Humanity, Richard Malley.
The organization has hired engineer Ellis Speath,
owner of Speath Engineering, to determine the
requirements needed to meet town and state
standards. Malley said it was essential to know the
approximate cost of the necessary improvements to
ensure that they had enough money to not only
purchase the land, but develop it as well. Read More
BENNINGTON, Vt. -- Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity will hold an informational meeting for the public on Wednesday, May 27, from 7 to 8 p.m., at the North Bennington Baptist Church at 17 Church St.
Construction has recently begun on the home for Jennifer and Patrick Siegrist and their three children, which will be built on Asa's Way in North Bennington, a short distance from VT Rte. 67A.
Come and find out how to get involved in supporting the construction of this affordable home. Habitat hopes to develop a core group of Bennington area citizens that are interested in working to see that more homes can be built for families in the Bennington area. In addition to the construction work, people are needed to work on publicity, fund-raising, public relations and so on.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place An updated version of this publication was released in March 2009. It does a good job describing Vermont's housing challenge and is very much worth reading. Read the publication.
Winter - 2008-09
Millard Fuller, Who Founded Habitat for Humanity, is Dead
Millard Fuller, who at 29 walked away from his life as a successful businessman to devote himself to the poor, eventually starting Habitat for Humanity International, which spread what he called “the theology of the hammer” by building more than 300,000 homes worldwide, died Tuesday near Americus, Ga. He was 74. Read More...
Habitat eyes Jennifer Lane
Habitat for Humanity was expected to go before the Development Review Board on Wednesday for a prelimary hearing regarding the possible development of 23 single family homes on Jennifer Lane. According to a letter from the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity, the organization has a purchase agreement with the owners of the 48 parcels of land on Jennifer Lane that they hope to develop. However, that agreement depends on Habitat's success in procuring the gifts and pledges necessary to pay for the land and necessary site improvements. The offer is also contingent upon the town and the state's approval of the project, according to the letter. Read More...
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Habitat for Humanity seeks approval for Dorset Duplex
Brandon Canevari - Editor Posted: 01/08/2009 10:11:57 AM EST
Friday, Jan. 9, 2009
DORSET — The Planning Commission voted
unanimously at their Dec. 2 meeting to continue the
hearing regarding the Bennington Area Habitat for
Humanity's proposal to partner with the town to
construct a duplex on land to be donated by
According to town documents, the hearing was
extended until Jan. 6 in part due to outstanding
legal questions. Read More
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Thursday, January 01 Habitat applicants
BENNINGTON, Vt. - Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity is accepting applications until Saturday, Feb. 7, for its next home project. Construction of the new North Bennington home is planned for the spring. Upon completion, the family will assume an interest-free mortgage of approximately $100,000 to $120,000 with payments spread over 20 to 30 years.
Fall - 2008
DORSET — The Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity made a proposal to the Planning Board last Tuesday night to construct the organization's first duplex in Bennington County.
President of the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity, Dick Malley, said that while the cost of the project would be partially determined by the cost of materials — which are constantly changing — he estimated that the total cost of the project would be between $200,000 and $250,000. Read MoreRead More
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Summer - 2008
Affordable Housing falls short of demand (article taken from the Vermont Community Foundation Website)
Scenic views and open spaces are easy to find in Vermont. But if you are part of the state’s moderate- to-low-income population, finding an affordable home close to your work can prove challenging. The affordable housing issue encompasses multiple Vermont interests including: preserving natural resources and green spaces, pursuing profitable development projects, attracting and retaining the workers who power the state’s economy, managing the length of commutes, and meeting baseline housing needs.
In Vermont, 43,000 families experience a “severe burden,” spending more than 50% of their income on housing and utilities. Vermonters in this situation outnumber those in any other state in New England and the national average.
The availability of rental homes in Vermont is 4.7% of total rental stock—a figure lower than that of any other state. The Vermont Housing Council estimates a current statewide shortage of 21,000 affordable rental units. The shortage is especially acute in Chittenden, Orleans, Bennington and Rutland counties.
Nearly every major source of state and federal government support related to housing has declined significantly in recent years.
MANCHESTER — An 8 by 10 foot deluxe shed is currently on display and for sale at r.k. Miles in Manchester. It was designed and built by students in the Building Trades I class at the Career Development Center in Bennington, under the supervision of teacher Jim Gilbert, as a fundraiser for Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity. Last year CDC students built a similar shed for Habitat. Read more...
Spring - 2008
WEST RUPERT — Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity is getting ready to welcome the 11 members of this year's Global Village Team. This will be the third Global Village group that has come, at their own expense, to work with the Bennington Area affiliate. More
Habitat Construction Kick-off Open House - WEST RUPERT — On Saturday, May 17 from 1 to 3 p.m. Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity will host an open house in West Rupert at the site of their ninth home — the home that has been started for Glenn and Christine Morey and their two daughters. Habitat volunteers will be on hand to show visitors around and answer questions. More
Auction to Support Habitat - EAST DORSET — Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity will soon be ready to accept donations for the Second Annual Auction which will be held at A Safe Place Self Storage Storage in East Dorset on July 19. In addition to the auction, there will be a giant tag sale at the same time and same location. Donations will be tax deductible. Most items are accepted as along as they are in decent shape and auctionable. Items that cannot be accepted are mattresses, pianos, shabby couches, old kitchen appliances, books and metal office furniture.
Starting around May 1, auction and sale items will be accepted. These can be delivered to A Safe Place on designated days (to be announced) or a pickup can be arranged.
Affordable Housing Tough Nut to Crack - Manchester Journal - 4-10-08. Affordable housing, or rather the lack of it, is one of those perennial issues that never seems to get better or go away. The subject has been on the front burner in varying degrees around these parts for what seems like decades, but despite all the well-intentioned efforts and hand wringing, the goal posts always seem to be moving farther away. Read More
Auction Donations - BENNINGTON — Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity is gearing up for its Second Annual Auction which will be held at " A Safe Place" self-storage in East Dorset on July 19. In addition to the auction, there will be a giant tag sale at the same time and place.
While doing spring cleaning, keep Habitat in mind. The group will take most things as along as they are in decent shape and auctionable. However, based on last year's experience, Habitat cannot accept mattresses, pianos, shabby couches, old kitchen appliances, books and metal office furniture. Starting around May 1, Habitat will be ready to accept auction and sale items. More
Housing Start - Article published Mar 26, 2008 – Rutland Herald
The housing bill passed by the House last week is drawing opposition, not just from builders and their allies in the Republican Party, but from some of the officials out in Vermont's towns who are most closely involved in land-use planning. More
Between a Rock and a Hard Place An updated version of this publication was released in March 2008. It does a good job describing Vermont's housing challenge and is very much worth reading. Read the publication.
Feeling the crunch 3/26/08 - Housing prices in Vermont continue to rise (read entire article).
Habitat project could be affected by new housing bill - 3/21/08 Brandon Canevari ManchesterJournal.com - A bill under consideration by the state legislature intended to spur construction of affordable housing could potentially have the opposite effect of hampering a multiple dwelling project under consideration by the Bennington Area affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. Read more..
Winter - 2007- 2008
Informational Meetings February 26 and 28 - Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity is getting ready to start our next house in partnership with the family of Chris and Glenn Morey of West Rupert. If the weather cooperates, they will be breaking ground in early April. Informational meetings about upcoming plans will be held in two different locations: on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at St. Paul's Catholic Church on Route 30 in Manchester, and on Thursday, Feb. 28, at the firehouse in Rupert. Both meetings will run from 7 to 8 p.m. This is an opportunity for community members to learn more about how Habitat works with low-income families to obtain safe, sufficient and affordable housing. More
Manchester Chamber of Commerce Win Hoyt Golf Tournamant Donates to Northshire Charities - The 17th Annual Win Hoyt Memorial Golf Tournament was held at the Manchester Country Club on Wednesday, September 26, 2007. The Chamber Golf Tournament Committee, David Citron, Chris Rutken and Susan Dailey thank the 2007 corporate sponsors, corporate teams and all the players who turned out to raise money for worthwhile Northshire area charities. The Golf Tournament raised funds for the following charities: Community Food Cupboard, Mark Skinner Library, Habitat for Humanity, and the Second Chance Animal Shelter. The 2008 Win Hoyt Charity Golf Tournament will be held on September 24, 2008.
Pictured: Susan Dailey with Ellen Boyer, Mark Skinner Library, Chris Rutken with Sharon Burnett, Second Chance Animal Shelter, David Citron with Dick Malley, Habitat for Humanity, Tammie Reilly with Martha Carey, Community Food Cupboard, and Jay Hathaway, Chamber Executive Director
Habitat was most grateful and honored to be selected to be one of the recipients. On Wednesday, November 12th, checks for $1,000 were presented to each of the recipients.
One at a time, sleepy-eyed but awake, nine high school students arrived at the Burr and Burton wood shop every Wednesday morning at 7:00 a.m. this fall. These nine students, sophomores and freshmen, gave up these precious last moments of sleep to work with BBA wood shop teacher, Cliff Hay building a storage shed for their Habitat for Humanity service learning project.\
Since one of Habitat’s rules is that people under the age of sixteen cannot work on site, BBA Habitat team leaders Pete Nicholson and Cliff Hay found a way for these students to learn construction skills and create something valuable for Cindy Drake and her family. More
Fall - 2007
HFHI Asia Pacific and HFH India wrote to thank us for our tithe. Christine Low wrote "Thanks to partners like you, Habitat for Humanity is reaching more people in need than ever before in Asia Pacific. To date, Habitat for Humanity India has constructed 17,248 houses improving the living condidtions of families who would otherwise remain in the poverty cycle."
We currently split 10% of all unrestriced donations between two countries, India and Uganda. The goal of Habitat International is to build one home in another country for every home that is built in the United States. You can read about the exciting initiatives and programs happening in India by clicking on More.
In early November we received a letter from Ronald Ongopa, Resource Communications Manager for Uganda. He thanked us for our continued support. "Please know that it is GREATLY appreciated!
Habitat Unganda in Numbers
- Years in operation - 25
- Families housed - 4, 509
- Average house size - 360 square feet
- House sponsorship cost - $2,160 - provides an entire family with a decent home, hygenic toilet and shower stall.
The West Pawlet branch of the Citizens Bank recently received the “Be Inspired” award of $2,500. In making the presentation, Linda Magoon, Senior Vice President and Regional Manager of the Citizens Bank, explained community involvement is a key tenet of the Citizens Bank credo. “We are thrilled that Harry Haldt and his West Pawlet team are the first recipients of Citizens recently launched “Be Inspired” awards, a volunteer recognition program for colleagues who perform exemplary service to the community.” More
During the month of September, Amy & Geoff Chamberlain, owners of The Perfect Wife in Manchester, generously donated $5 for every entree from the dining room and $1 for dinners from the Tavern to Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity. It was a win/win, have your cake and eat it too for the diners, Habitat and the Perfect Wife. Those enjoying a fabulous meal at the restaurant couldn't find a better way of donating to Habitat. The Perfect Wife enjoyed additional reservations from folks who wanted to donate in this unique and satisfying manner, and Habitat received a welcomed check of $4,600 that will go towards their next build, which might begin before the snow flies.
Chef and owner, Amy Chamberlain presented a check to Development Chair, Bill Hoyt and to Public Relations Chair, Sandi Hedman.
MANCHESTER - Ramsay Gourd Architects with offices in Manchester and Burlington, in collaboration with four other Vermont design firms has worked over the past year on the conundrum of Green Affordable Housing. Along with 2morrow Studio, Watershed Studio, Line Sync Architects and GVV Architects, Ramsay Gourd Architects have a submission in an exhibit at the Metropolitan Gallery in Burlington from Nov. 1 through Nov. 15. There will be a panel discussion and reception at the Metropolitan Gallery on Nov. 7 from 5:30 p.m. The Exhibit is sponsored in part through the generosity of rk Miles Building Supply in Manchester. More
Summer - 2007
This legislative session saw some noteworthy accomplishments as a result of cooperation between the Douglas Administration and the Legislature. The Agency of Commerce and Community Development was involved in several key initiatives that I'm pleased to report on. We assisted in the creation of the scholarship and workforce development bill - a top priority of the governor. The new law will help provide training to workers to upgrade their skills and appropriates nearly $5 million for scholarships; a positive step forward that will encourage young Vermonters to remain in our state. Read more...
VIA works to connect county-wide efforts through affordable housing alliance
CHITTENDEN COUNTY--With the widespread need throughout the state for affordable housing, groups working within their respective towns to create it may feel that their efforts are just a drop in the bucket. To work in tandem with other towns' efforts and to learn from the successes and failures of other similar groups can help to align objectives and keep towns on track to meet their goals of creating affordable housing.
This message delivered by Julia Curry, a community organizer for Vermont Interfaith Action (VIA), is the premise of a new Chittenden County Affordable Housing Alliance that is part of VIA's work on affordable housing issues. More
Get going on housing - by Andrew Mckeever, editor, Manchester Journal Affordable housing in Vermont should become the new property tax reform. A report issued last March by the Vermont Housing Council highlights the growing crisis in the state faced by ordinary, and even solidly middle class, wage earners can afford. Left unchecked, this problem will undermine every other effort to grow Vermont’s economy, by traditional or unconventional strategies. Workers need to have a place to live. With the price of gas at near all-time highs, the old work-around solution of simply living father and farther away from your job isn’t going to cut it much longer without forcing people to cut back somewhere else. Click to read more.
Friday, June 22
RUPERT - Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity would like to invite area contractors, architects, and all others who are interested, to the site of their latest home on Lewis Lane (off Route 153) in Rupert on Tuesday, June 26 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to witness the installation of an environmentally friendly and highly efficient foam insulation called Icynene. Refreshments will be offered.
Bennington Area Habitat builds energy efficient homes using criteria established by Efficiency Vermont. By meeting criteria in three areas, Habitat qualifies for a rebate of from $900 to $1,200, helping to keep the initial cost of the home down in addition to providing new homeowners with a home that is energy efficient. The criteria include installation of an approved insulation, eight hard-wired low energy light fixtures, and three energy-star major appliances - typically the furnace, dishwasher and clothes washer.
The Lewis home will be the first home where Habitat has collaborated with Vermont Foam Insulation, Inc. (VFI) which specializes exclusively in the installation of The Icynene Insulation System. Cliff Beebe, Habitat project manager, chose Icynene because it is environmentally friendly and energy efficient.
RUPERT - From donations of material to gift of time, Bennington County Habitat for Humanity, along with the help of countless volunteers, are making one family from Rupert very ecstatic in Happy Valley. George and Kelly Lewis, along with their two children, will be the proud owners of a brand new house by the end of the summer. More.
Spring - 2007
Affordable Housing 101 - Art Woolf - June 6, 2007
The Free Press again looks at affordable housing; this time in an editorial.
Let me make the issue as clear and simple as I can.
A new car can be very expensive, but no one argues that the state of
Bistro Henry to host Mother's Day Brunch for Habitat for Humanity Friday, May 11 MANCHESTER - Building on a successful event last year, Bistro Henry once again will host a special Mother's Day Brunch to benefit the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate. Ten dollars from each brunch served will be donated to help build a home for a local family. Construction of the home began in Rupert recently. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 13. The menu will include a three course brunch with many delicious choices, and this is one of only two times per year that the restaurant serves brunch. Call 362-4982 for reserved seating.
Habitat Begins New Home
On Saturday, April 28 th, the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity Affiliate had its first official build day for a home it is building in Rupert, Vermont for George and Kelli Lewis and their children, Savannah and Tyler.
Site Supervisor, Cliff Beebe, designed the home to meet Habitat International standards. In addition to being an experienced builder, Cliff’s is an architect and works full time for Ramsay Gourd Architects of Manchester. More
MANCHESTER - An affordable housing project proposed by Joshua and Linda Wien has attracted concern from neighbors Robert and Sally Treat who - with their attorney, Mary Ashcroft, present - discussed several issues with the proposal at the last Planning Commission meeting on March 26. Planning Director and Zoning Administrator, Lee Krohn, said the Treats addressed issues regarding curb cuts, traffic flow, risk to animals, the effect on life in the Batten Kill and fencing surrounding the project. More
Between a Rock and a Hard Place - March 2007 Report
This report was just revised. It updates all the statistics about the affordable housing challenge in Vermont. Some highlights include: The median purchase price of a single-family home in the 2006 report on housing Vermont in 2006 reached $197,000, an 8 percent increase from the previous year and a 97 percent increase since 1996. A Vermont household would need an annual income of $66,000 to purchase that home. Sixty-seven percent of Vermont’s households have incomes below that figure. The median income for all Vermont’s households is $48,500.4 A household with that income could afford a home priced at about $143,500. The median price for a newly-constructed home in Vermont rose to $282,000 in 2006, a 15 percent increase from 2005. Read More.
Winter - 2007
State says housing affordability help on the way
March 9, 2007 By DANIEL BARLOW Vermont Press Bureau
MONTPELIER — The Legislature and governor are both promising action on the cost of housing in the state.
The average price of a home in Vermont grew to $197,000 last year, putting the dream of home ownership out of reach for 67 percent of residents, according to a report released Thursday.
For the sixth year in a row, a report on home and apartment prices in Vermont has painted a bleak picture of the growing gap between wages and home prices, which leaves a strong majority of Vermonters unable to afford their housing. More....
Rents in Vermont are the second-lowest in New England and much lower than the national average. But the report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston also found that while apartments in much of New England are affordable, there is a critical shortage of affordable housing for low-income residents.
"Though rental housing in New England is expensive relative to the rest of the nation, the region's incomes are high enough that rental housing is affordable to most New Englanders," according to the affordable housing study by the New England Public Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. More....
Manchester Rotary Club recently contributed $3,000 to the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity Affiliate. In speaking about the contribution, Rotary President, Pete Webster said, “We receive solicitations from many very worthy causes each year, and we have to be judicious in the distribution of our precious few charitable dollars. We work very hard throughout the year to raise the funds we contribute to the community. Click Rotary to read the rest of the article.
Rotary President, Pete Webster, is shown presenting the contribution to Dick Malley.
MEMS teachers meet each morning for a half hour throughout the school year with a group of students in an advisory. Each teacher has a lot of latitude for deciding just how that time will be spent. For this year, eighth grade English teacher, Dianna Ivey, decided she wanted her group to take one project that would engage and teach them a variety of skills throughout the year. She picked working with the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate as the project because she felt there would be a many different dimensions that would interest and engage her students. In particular, Dianna wanted her students to learn to work together, to learn the value of giving back to the community in which they live, and to develop writing and speaking skills. Click article to read the rest of the story.
Members of the 8th grade advisory are shown with a display they used to describe Habitat's mission.
A Happy New Year for a New Habitat for Humanity Family Bondville , VT (January 7, 2007) A new Habitat for Humanity partner family in Bondville is celebrating the new year in a simple, decent home of their own thanks to a caring community that helps those in need. Christine and Brian Jenks with their two sons, Ryan (18) and Daniel (9), were living in an unsafe and cramped mobile home when they applied to Habitat for help. When they heard last Christmas that they had been approved, “It was the most incredible, unbelievable Christmas present that we ever could have received,” remembers Christine. Today the dream became a reality with the official dedication ceremony for the new house. To read more go to article.
Dedication of the Jenks' New Home - At 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 7 th, volunteers who helped build the Jenks’ home or who have worked hard behind the scenes are invited to join with Brian and Christine Jenks and their two sons, Ryan and Dan, to dedicate their new home. The home was started on August 19 th. Habitat volunteers worked at the site just over forty half days since then. In addition, Brian Jenks and his family have done a tremendous amount of work on the home working side by side with volunteers or whenever they had time. Area businesses and individuals have generously donated funds, services, and materials. To read more article.
Fall - 2006
MONTPELIER — Vermont households need an income of nearly $32,000 a year to afford the rent on a typical two-bedroom apartment, a jump of close to $2,800 compared to a year ago, according to a national study released Tuesday.
The so-called housing wage — $15.34 an hour — is the amount of earnings the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates is needed to ensure that the average $797 monthly rent on a two-bedroom apartment doesn't exceed 30 percent of a family's income.
The increase is more than double that experienced in the period a year earlier. The advocacy group said it is indicative of a crisis in housing affordability that is plaguing much of the nation. To read more of the article.....
As a part of their service learning requirement, nine members of the BBA freshmen class (Chris Sabol, Sam Pagliccia. Marissa Yakaitis, Nancy Seem. Kaitlin Filippi, Emery Boudreau, Morgan Ams, Tucker Foulkes, and Chelsea Charbonneau) chose to support Habitat for Humanity’s work in Bennington County. Led by their advisor, Peter Nicholson, they visited the Winhall home shortly after work had started early this fall. After learning more from Habitat volunteer Bill Hoyt, they picked several projects to complete this fall. As volunteers have to be 16 or older to work on site, they chose several creative ways to help off site.
Under the guidance of shop teacher, Cliff Hay, they built two end tables and a porch swing. They also sold studs at r.k. Miles on a Saturday morning. They made $360 selling studs that will be used in the home that will be started in Rupert this April. Each person who “bought” a stud was asked to sign it knowing that the stud they signed will be a permanent part of the new home. They also collected bottles and cans and contributed the proceeds to Habitat. They presented their gift to new homeowner, Christine Jenks who was thrilled with the gift and their generosity.
Habitat recently received a grant for $2,500 from the Chittenden Bank. Speaking about the grant, Andy Holzman, Vice President and Manager of the Manchester branch said “At Chittenden, our involvement in our communities is very important to us. Through our financial support and by promoting local volunteerism, we help build safe, healthy and productive communities for our customers, employees, neighbors and friends. I am very pleased that we can be a partner with the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity and support both of our missions of creating affordable housing opportunities for our communities."
Habitat is raising funds for a home that is expected to be started in April 2007 for George and Kelli Lewis of Rupert. It will cost approximately $60,000 to $70,000 to build that home and the grant from Chittenden will help purchase building supplies. Each adult in the Lewis family will be expected to contribute a minimum of 250 hours of sweat equity working side by side with volunteers to build their home. When completed, the Lewis family will receive an interest free mortgage at a rate and for a time period so that no more than 30% of their annual income will be spent for housing costs, including mortgage, property insurance, and property tax payments.
Habitat recently received a grant for $2,500 from Citizens Bank. The Citizens Bank credo states that “great companies have a moral core. We care deeply about our communities, and we demonstrate this commitment every day by volunteering where there is a need.”
West Pawlet Branch Manager, Harry Haldt sanding joint compound on November 4, 2006.
Richard Malley, affiliate representative, said “We are most grateful for the tremendous support that Citizens has given to us. Not only has the bank made a generous financial contribution, but bank employees have helped build.” Led by Harry Haldt, Manager of the West Pawlet branch, employees from Citizens Bank worked on the home in Winhall on Saturday, November 4 th.
On Sunday, November 5, 2006, Roddy Prevost, Chairman and trustee of the Modern Woodmen of America Camp of Wells, Vermont presented a check for $534 to affiliate representative, Richard Malley. This is the second year in a row that the Modern Woodmen have donated the proceeds from special bingo events in support of Habitat’s vision to provide safe, decent, and affordable housing for all people worldwide. The Modern Woodmen contribution will purchase building supplies for a home that will be started in April 2007 in Rupert.
The Modern Woodmen of America is a fraternal organization; members take pride in themselves, in each other, in their families, in their communities, and in their nation. In the people-helping-people spirit of fraternalism, Modern Woodmen members across the nation team up to improve the quality of life in their local areas. Adult and youth members clean up parks; spend time with the elderly; and conduct fund-raisers for individuals, shelters, schools and other community organizations in need. Annual contributions total more than $6 million each year!
Ten people from different parts of the United States and Canada worked side by side with Vermont volunteers on the Winhall home from October 15 th to 22 nd. Brought together by a common set of ideals, they were led by, Betsy Steel, who had led six trips to other parts of the world before coming to Vermont. Betsy wrote in her report to Habitat: “ Vermont trip was fabulous! The affiliate was terrific, the build was super, the team was awesome ... it was the best trip that I have been on yet!”
The team spent four full days and three half days working on the home. They put up the vinyl siding and installed and spackled the sheet rock on the walls and ceilings. Given that we normally build two half days each week, the work completed by the Global Village team advanced our work schedule by more than a full month. The team’s work was coordinated by site supervisors, Barth VanderEls and Noble Levesque, and they were joined by other Vermont residents, including regular volunteers Fred Hilliard and Carl Mohlenhoff.
The Faith Relations Committee, led by Elise Anton and Sandi Hedman, and including Keith Young, Ray and Marie Ferrarin, and Betty Levesque, organized a great week for the team, including visits to some of places that make Vermont so special-- the Bennington Monument, the Rockwell Museum, the Calvin Coolidge homestead, and the Vermont Country Store in Weston. They stayed at the Colony House in Dorset, where they were welcomed with a pot luck dinner attended by over thirty Habitat volunteers. Area congregations that hosted dinners and provided lunches and snacks throughout the week included the First Baptist Church of South Londonderry, Zion Episcopal Church, the First Baptist Church of Manchester, Israel Congregation, and the First Congregational Church of Manchester. Reverend Jim Gray of the United Church of Dorset led the team on a hike near Dorset, and the team also had the use of the church’s van throughout the week.
In reflecting upon the week, team member Pat Dunn wrote, “I had a wonderful time! I have never been on any Global Village trip where the people were nicer! This was my 9th trip and you all were the greatest. It was especially nice to go to the Synagogue Friday night. That was a first. It shows you have wide community support. I really enjoyed that as well as the other religious groups who had us. Jim and his church were so very nice—great to have use of their van for the entire week. And his leading that hike was very special. Best of luck with your other houses.”
Habitat’s Global Village trips give participants a unique opportunity to become active partners with people worldwide. Team members work alongside members of the host community, raising awareness of the need for building decent, affordable housing worldwide. Anyone interested in learning more about Global Village opportunities should consult http://www.habitat.org/gv/. New trips are posted on a regular basis. As one team member who has been on similar trips to Uganda, South Korea, Hungary, and South Dakota wrote, “Global Village trips are a vacation with a purpose.”
We greatly appreciate the help that many people gave in hosting the Global Village team.
Andy Avery, board chair of the Stratton Foundation, presented Dick Malley of the local Habitat affiliate with a grant of $1000 for the affiliate’s current project, a new home in Winhall for Brian and Christine Jenks and their two children. Stratton Foundation grants are given twice a year to non-profits in the Stratton and Manchester area. Andy Avery explained that “We have given out almost $400,000 to over 100 different local organizations including schools, clinics, fire departments, theaters, libraries, meals on wheels etc. The foundation is always looking for new donors and volunteers to help it continue in its mission to enhance the quality of life in these Southern Vermont communities."
Andy Avery of the Stratton Foundation came for a visit this September.
MIKE GLEASON, Staff Writer - Bennington Banner
Monday, October 2 - ARLINGTON — With gas prices at high levels entering winter and the current unrest in the Middle East, "energy efficiency" has again become a popular phrase across the country. Some, though, instead of merely talking about efficiency and conservation, see those concepts manifested in their everyday lives.
Ruth Banghart has been living in an energy-efficient house for a year now, and has seen the benefits conservation provides. "The house is very, very efficient with everything," Banghart said. "It has very good windows, doors and insulation. All of the appliances are EnergyStar approved." The house was built through a co-venture between the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity and Efficiency Vermont, a state organization focused on more efficient energy use. Improvements cited for the house include energy-saving appliances, fluorescent light fixtures, a high-efficiency heating system and high-quality insulation.
"We have a performance-based contract with the state of Vermont to conserve energy," said Blair Hamilton, director of Efficiency Vermont. "What we've done is reduced the amount of energy that Vermont would have had to buy from elsewhere by five percent, and we're adding over one percent a year to that."
Efficiency Vermont became involved in the project to show homeowners that efficiency is not beyond their reach. "We wanted to show that efficiency is appropriate in the setting," said Li Ling Young, a product manager at Efficiency Vermont. "To some people, efficiency sometimes feels like a different and harder way to go, but (places like this house) are where efficiency belongs."
Banghart, a single mother, said she has noticed benefits from the special construction of house. Not only is the house efficient, it is also handicapped-accessible, as her daughter is autistic. Banghart said her bills for three people (herself and two children) were less than that of a comparable two-person household. "It's very comfortable," she said. "Right now, the heat is set at 60 degrees, and it's about 71 degrees in the house without the heat coming on."
Banghart does admit to using an air conditioner occasionally. "During the summer, I broke down and bought an air conditioner," she said. "I ran it for about three days in the summer." When Banghart first applied for a Habitat for Humanity House, she was informed that she was one out of 30 applicants. "I thought 'fat chance,'" Banghart said. "Then I was told I was one of seven applicants. When I was picked, I didn't know what to say — I was screaming and crying at the same time." Habitat for Humanity representatives feel the project was beneficial for them as well. "Habitat for Humanity has become involved with Efficiency Vermont for the services and incentives they offer for the construction of energy-efficient homes," said Richard Jorgenson, who works with Habitat for Humanity. The lessons learned from the project have not gone to waste. "We've learned some things from the project, like the attention to insulation, lighting and things like that," said Jorgenson.
In an effort to challenge its students with diverse, integrated and meaningful service opportunities and experiences,
Summer - 2006
On Mother’s Day – May 14 th - Bistro Henry hosted a very special Mother’s Day Brunch to benefit our work. Ten dollars from each brunch served was donated to help build a home for a family that lives in the Bennington area. Owner Henry Bronson said, “Building affordable housing is of tremendous importance to everyone in our area. Habitat does it one house, one family, and one mother at a time. The community pitches in. That’s what we do, too.”
The Perfect Wife Restaurant and Tavern contributed $5 for every entrée served in the dining room and $1 for every entrée served in the tavern from May 5 th through June 2nd. Chef/owners, Amy and Geoff Chamberlain and the entire Perfect Wife staff “felt this was an opportunity through the restaurant to raise money and awareness of the local efforts of Habitat for Humanity. By providing a great meal to our guests, we have helped provide a much needed safe and affordable home to a worthy family.”
Chef Amy Chamberlain with co-owner, Geoff Chamberlain, presented affiliate President, Dick Malley with a check for $6,025.
Bistro Henry - Dina and Henry Bronson, owners of Bistro Henry's in Manchester, raised over $1,000 for Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity in May at their annual Mother's Day Brunch. Both the Bronson's believe in thinking globally, and acting locally. This works well for BAHfH, as Habitat for Humanity is a "global" organization with a chapter right here in Bennington County. "Building affordable housing is of tremendous importance to everyone in our area. Habitat does it one house, one family, and one mother at a time. The community pitches in. That's what we do, too," said Henry Bronson. BAHfH's next build will be in Winhall for Brian and Christine Jenks and their family. Construction is expected to begin in August as soon as the concrete for the foundation can be poured.
Dina and Henry Bronson are shown presenting a check to Dick Malley, President and to Susan Armstrong, Secretary of the Bennington area Habitat affiliate.
The Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity Affiliate recently received a gift of $5,000 from Josiah Allen which was added to previous gifts and sponsorship from Josiah Allen. The contribution will be used to help build a home this spring for a family that lives in Winhall. It costs Habitat approximately $60,000 to $70,000 to build a home. Each home is built by volunteers with many of the professional services and materials donated or heavily discounted by local businesses.
In speaking about Josiah Allen’s continuing support of Habitat, Laura Beckwith said, “We are very pleased to be in a position where we could give back to the community that has been so good to us. Josiah Allen has done very well by introducing fine real estate to people who want to live here. No developer except Habitat is building homes under $100,000 in our area, and many of the people who work in our community find it difficult to afford to live here. We hope our gifts will inspire others in our community to become involved with supporting Habitat’s mission.”
Laura Beckwith is shown presenting Harry Chandler, Board Member and Habitat Treasurer, with a gift.
On Wednesday September 21, 2005. working in conjunction with several local and regional businesses, Bistro Henry hosted a very special evening of food, wine and music to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. A live auction, presided over by the incomparable Eric Nathan, raised over $7,000.
The $12,000 raised from the dinner and auction was divided in half, with Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army receiving these funds to help with relief efforts. Rich Jorgensen, President of our the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity affiliate accepted a check in the amount of $6,120 from Henry and Deena Bronson to be sent on for Habitat for Humanity’s Operation Home Delivery. Operation Home Delivery is working with 14 affiliates in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and work is underway there to rebuild almost 30 homes occupied by Habitat families in their community with 8 newly pre-fabricated homes arriving soon. The need for ongoing support will continue.
People can learn more about Operation Home Delivery and Habitat’s work around the world on the web at www.habitat.org.