[BRATTLEBORO, VT]: The Brattleboro Housing Authority (BHA), at a meeting today with officials from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and representatives of Vermont’s Congressional delegation, described substantial progress in creating new affordable apartments to replace the senior public housing at Melrose Terrace damaged by Tropical Storm Irene.
“With the help of Housing Vermont, our development partner, we’re well into the predevelopment phase,” said BHA Executive Director Chris Hart.
Housing Vermont secured an option on the 2.8-acre site at 464 Canal Street in July.
“This site has many advantages, including its proximity to a grocery store, pharmacy and the hospital,” said Kathy Beyer, Housing Vermont’s Director of Development. "Our goal is to create convenient, attractive, and affordable housing for the residents. Just as important, however, is to recreate the same sense of community that residents enjoyed at Melrose Terrace," Beyer said.
Plans for the new housing, known as Red Clover Commons, are being prepared by Gossens Bachman Architects of Montpelier.
Tentative plans call for 55 apartments, a community room with warming kitchen, community garden space, and space for the SASH health program as well as an on-site manager. Hart emphasized that the design team and developers will be asking for input from the Melrose Terrace residents and the broader community.
“Red Clover Commons starts with a blank piece of paper,” said Hart. “Connections with residents and the community will help us design and construct attractive, efficient housing which responds to the needs of the current Melrose Terrace tenants as well as future residents,” she said.
The developers intend to begin the local permit process in November with the first funding applications to follow in a few months. The Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development has included a $5 million allocation for the Brattleboro Housing Authority in its request to HUD for Tropical Storm Irene disaster recovery efforts. If the funds are awarded, they will be used to purchase and construct Red Clover Commons as permanent replacement housing for Melrose Terrace. Much of Melrose Terrace is located in the floodway and the site is no longer considered appropriate for seniors and people with disabilities.
“While we do not underestimate the challenges we will face in developing Red Clover Commons,” Hart said. “We are truly excited about the prospect of creating first-rate, well-designed housing for the Melrose Terrace residents.”
Housing Vermont, a nonprofit syndication and development company founded in 1988, creates permanently affordable rental housing for Vermonters through partnerships with local organizations, public agencies and the private sector. This highly successful partnership has produced more than 4,800 affordable apartments in 155 developments. Housing Vermont has raised and deployed more than $255 million in private equity which has leveraged an additional $352 million in private financing and public investment. Housing Vermont's New Markets Tax Credit program has invested more than $22 million in seven economic development projects in low income areas.
The Brattleboro Housing Authority provides affordable rental housing through 307 apartments owned and operated by BHA as well as tenant-based and project-based Section 8 rental assistance programs. BHA also operates a comprehensive system of supportive services.
Christine Hart, Brattleboro Housing Authority, (802) 254-6071, email@example.com