New life for old South Burlington motel as affordable housing
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - An old South Burlington motel is getting new life as part of a statewide effort to get people without permanent housing into affordable homes.
The Ho-Hum Motel on Williston Road was being used as a quarantine and isolation location for the Champlain Housing Trust. Now, the group has put federal money to use to turn the old motel into new, affordable apartments.
CHT helped convert another Ho-Hum Motel in South Burlington, this one on Shelburne Road, to apartments more than a year ago.
“Oh, man, it’s been safe, you know I feel safe here,” said James Anderson, who moved from the streets into the converted hotel. “Comfortable, peaceful and to me is one of the best places.”
Moving in was life-changing for Anderson, and the opportunity is now a reality for 19 others. CHT helped facilitate the remodel of the old Williston Road Ho-Hum Motel to permanent housing. People living there will pay 30% of their income for rent. The rest will be covered by the Burlington Housing Authority.
“The hardest part of the job right now is that we’re not able to house so many people, that’s really difficult, but the fact that we can do it, it’s important to celebrate,” said Michael Monte, the CEO of the Champlain Housing Trust.
Monte says the nonprofit has helped more than 200 people move into housing within the past year.
“Every day when I see somebody is getting housing and they are desperate for that housing, it’s a good day,” he said.
South Burlington city leaders say housing the unhoused population is an evolving issue and they hope these apartments can make a difference.
“The homeless are a really challenging population and so I think it’s pretty cool that we have 20 units here,” said Helen Riehle, the chair of the South Burlington City Council.
Next month, CHT will also take over the former Champlain Inn on Shelburne Road. It’s a low-barrier shelter that will offer a longer stay in hopes guests will have an easier time getting connected to services, which could include a more permanent housing option.
Case Manager Anthony Tukai says making connections and seeing guests succeed keeps him coming back to work.
“The rewarding thing that I always find at this job is when individuals come to me later on and they have moved here to a better house and they’re getting on with their lives, and just seeing them on the streets and they say, ‘Hi, Tony,’” Tukai said.
The hope is to have these units open by the end of September or the start of October. Officials say resident services staffing will be on site to help anyone in need.
Copyright 2023 WCAX. All rights reserved.