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Vermont architects provide pro-bono design input on affordable housing projects in VT

AIAVT event will include a design charrette focused on affordable housing in Vermont’s communities

Friday, Mar. 25 — RANDOLPH — The American Institute of Architects, Vermont Chapter (AIAVT) is hosting an event focused on affordable housing design in Vermont, on March 25 at the Vermont Tech campus in Randolph. This event is designed to educate architects and designers, and offer an opportunity to help towns and non-profits envision affordable housing projects in a hands-on way through a design charrette.

The lack of affordable housing in Vermont poses a significant challenge to our state. Vermonters in need of housing can face a variety of barriers, including high prices, low availability, and the sixth-largest affordability gap in the nation, which means the average income does not provide residents with enough earnings to be able to afford the average rents.

This complicated issue is one that impacts many Vermonters and is influenced by factors including funding, subsidies, taxes, tourism, zoning regulations, construction costs, and more. To help us better understand the ways in which these issues overlap, and where there might be opportunities for improvement, we will be joined by a group of experts for a panel discussion.

Panelists include:

  • Maura Collins, executive director, Vermont Housing Finance Agency
  • Commissioner Josh Hanford, the Vermont Dept. of Housing and Community Development
  • Kathy Beyer, senior vice president – Real Estate Development, Evernorth
  • Eric Farrell, real estate developer, Farrell Properties
  • Erik Hoekstra, real estate developer, Redstone
  • Bob Duncan, architect, Duncan Wisniewski Architecture (moderator)

AIAVT requested project submissions from Vermont nonprofits, municipalities, and community-based groups which would benefit from pro-bono design and planning input in the form of a charrette. A design charrette brings together a wide range of stakeholders along with a team of architects and designers to translate affordable housing project ideas into workable plans in a very short time period.

Event attendees will use their architecture skills and knowledge to work on real solutions to the housing problems that are being faced by Vermont towns and organizations. Deliverables will take the form of things like concept drawings, graphic booklets, and small-scale models, which participating project representatives will be able to take back to their organizations to aid fundraising, marketing, and gain community support for new affordable housing projects.

The following projects were selected to be the focus of teams of architects, designers, planners, engineers, students, and interested members of the public during the Affordable Housing Charrette:

  • A shelter pod village in the City of Burlington designed to serve the homeless as a bridge to permanent housing
  • A Cabot Creamery workforce housing project with the Cabot Community Association, in the Cabot village center that would create 14 low-cost units of workforce housing for Cabot employees
  • Farm Community Housing on 25 acres in Stannard with the Developmental Disabilities Housing Initiative to provide 4 and 5 bedroom units of permanent housing for people with developmental disabilities
  • Mad River Meadows Cottage Homes with Downstreet Housing & Community Development in Waitsfield, whose aim is to create up to eight two-bedroom homes for people earning 80%-120% of median income
  • The Next Step Neighborhood at the Good Samaritan Haven campus in Berlin, which would create a mini-neighborhood for the formerly homeless
  • The Historic Lyndon School Apartments in the town of Lyndon, which aims to develop the second floor of the town offices into loft units

This half-day event is currently sold out but prospective participants can be added to the waitlist or future events by emailing Sarah O’Donnell at [email protected]

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