Community members gather to discuss solutions to local housing issues

-A A +A

Community members gather to discuss solutions to local housing issues

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 12:01pm -- Anonymous

https://vermontbiz.com/files/webform/housing_solutions_summit.jpg

Discussion at the Lamoille County Housing Solutions Summit.

Vermont Business Magazine Lamoille Housing Partnership (LHP) and the Lamoille County Planning Commission (LCPC) recently hosted their Housing Solutions Summit, a discussion-based forum that gathered local community leaders, decision makers and members of the public to discuss and propose locally focused, collaborative, actionable solutions to the Lamoille region’s housing opportunities and challenges.

“In response to the outcomes and feedback of the previous Housing Needs Summit, LHP and LCPC felt the next step was to reconvene (previous Summit) attendees and members of the public to facilitate discussions critical to addressing Lamoille communities’ diverse housing needs,” explains Lamoille Housing Partnership Executive Director, Jim Lovinsky.

To that end, LHP’s and LCPC’s shared goal of the Housing Solution Summit was to address some of the key points of discussion from panelists at the previous Housing Needs Summit, held in January. More than 25 people attended the Housing Solutions Summit, including professionals from human service agencies, Vermont state government, local municipalities, health care, education, as well as local developers and landlords. Participants were divided into groups for round table discussions to brainstorm and focus on what can be done locally to address improving housing stock, reducing development costs, homelessness and evictions, and lack of housing in the Lamoille region.

The diversity of backgrounds among the attendees was reflective of the ideas and proposed solutions brought to each topic of conversation. “Improving housing stock” garnered ideas such as home sharing, incentivizing or requiring renovation of sub-standard housing stock, tiny home construction, and improving energy efficiency. In terms of “reducing development costs,” proposed solutions included revitalization of downtowns, adjusting Act 250 and local zoning ordinances, and adjusting permitting processes to meet pressing community needs on a faster timeline.

Addressing “homeless and evictions” yielded considerations such as landlord and tenant assistance, supportive housing and alignment of regional services, education at the municipal level to inform and facilitate resource connections and awareness, reducing NIMBY-ism and the stigma of homelessness, and developing more emergency housing options. Attendees opined that towns could tackle the “lack of housing” by developing partnerships with housing development organizations including Lamoille Housing Partnership, USDA Rural Development and Habitat for Humanity, as well as education centers, Agency of Human services and local human service organizations, financial and fuel assistance organizations, and for profit businesses.

Attendee Jacquie Mauer reflected that the Housing Solutions Summit “was an effective way to speak directly with others on the housing challenges of our county.” Mauer is the shelter manager at the Lamoille Community House, the homeless shelter in Hyde Park. “Housing is a basic need, a right… We are all interested in a mindful approach to development of our land, and to serve our diverse population thoughtfully.”

“Based on the level of engagement and interest from attendees of the Housing Solutions Summit, LHP and LCPC are in the early planning stages of a follow up event dedicated to shifting the Housing Solutions Summit discussions to action plans,” says Lovinsky. More details to follow. To learn more about the Housing Solutions Summit and to stay up to date on the proposed-follow up Summit, visit www.lamoillehousing.org/events.

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. Lamoille Housing Partnership provides such assistance without discrimination or prejudice, using a combination of private and public funding partnerships. Lamoille Housing Partnership is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Learn more at www.lamoillehousing.org.

For additional information, please contact LHP Public Relations manager Kerrie Lohr, kerrie@lamoillehousing.org.

Source: Lamoille Housing Partnership