Hardwick, VT – The Lamoille Housing Partnership (LHP) gathered residents, project development partners, funding partners, as well as local and state government officials on May 18th for a belated celebration of the completion of LHP’s affordable housing project in Hardwick, Evergreen Manor. LHP purchased Evergreen Manor in 1991, and over time, park conditions deteriorated due to older homes being taken away or abandoned, as well as older residents leaving. To rehabilitate the blighted neighborhood, in 2014 LHP participated in a pilot program that was originally launched in response to the devastation of Hurricane Irene. The program was initiated by Efficiency Vermont, Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, and the High Meadows Fund with the goal of replacing traditional mobile homes with high efficiency zero energy modular homes.
The homes were crafted by Vermod LLC, based in Wilder, VT. After LHP installed two of the Vermod homes, “We and the residents who rented them were really pleased with the results. When we had the opportunity to install an additional eleven homes on vacant lots in the park, we decided to go for it,” says LHP Executive Director, Jim Lovinsky.
“We moved into our home in 2017 and we love it,” says resident Barbara Larabee. After a family member passed, Larabee became a full time home care provider for her disabled sister – this responsibility prevented Larabee from working full time, creating financial difficulty. Then, her niece contacted her and said she was interested in moving to Hardwick – Larabee began looking for an apartment that suited the trio’s needs and budget. Larabee learned about the Vermod homes at Evergreen Manor. “We were very excited when we found out we were approved… Our home is bright and comfortable, the park is friendly, and it’s all at an affordable price.”
“The goal was to create 13 new units of affordable rental housing in Hardwick, and provide residents with the newest zero energy technology home construction for quality living,” says Lovinsky. To date, the project has housed 33 individuals including families, children, seniors, and individuals with disabilities; some of the residents have been previously homeless. All of the homes come fully equipped with Energy Star rated appliances, including washers and dryers. The homes cost between $775 – $1,150 to rent per month, including heat and electricity. Annual incomes of the residents range from 30% to 80% of the state’s median income. LHP obtained six place-based Section 8 vouchers to provide subsidies as needed – these vouchers make each of the six homes permanently affordable.
“The Evergreen Manor project is an excellent example of our community coming together and taking action for an important cause that will have a far-reaching, positive impact,” says Heather Neuwirth of the Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU,) one of the project’s funders. The purchase and installation of the 13 Vermod units was possible due to a combined $2.6 million of strong funding support across nine different organizations including Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, Vermont Community Development Program, Efficiency Vermont, State Solar Incentives, Northern Borders Regional Commission, the TD Charitable Foundation, VSECU, Vermont Community Loan Fund, and USDA Rural Development.
LHP gathered residents, project development partners, funding partners, as well as local and state government officials for a belated ribbon cutting. A dozen speakers shared remarks about the project, with the common thread being an appreciation for persistence and passion, creativity, and strong partnerships to effectively develop affordable housing solutions for low and moderate income Vermonters.
The Lamoille Housing Partnership develops, rehabilitates, and maintains safe, decent, energy efficient affordable housing through rental, home ownership, and other means to low and moderate income persons and families living within Lamoille County and the Town of Hardwick. The Lamoille Housing Partnership provides such assistance without discrimination or prejudice, using a combination of private and public funding partnerships.