Release: Major Affordable Housing Project Breaks Ground

ESSEX, Vt., Oct. 11 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today attended the groundbreaking for a major new affordable housing development in Essex.
“At a time when many Vermonters are struggling economically, when affordable housing is very hard to come by in this part of the state and when many low- and moderate-income people are spending 50 percent of more of their limited income on housing, this project is sorely needed and I’m very excited to see it built,” Sanders said.
The new 30-unit Cedars’ Edge Apartments is funded in part with a $243,500 federal grant secured by Sanders.  The energy-efficient project will be in compliance with green building standards and incorporate low-impact materials.
Sanders noted the affordable housing project will mix of different incomes effectively. “It will house families of different incomes in the same location – rather than concentrating and isolating low-income people,” he said.
In the last 10 years, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Vermont has increased by 54 percent. Vermont’s rental vacancy rate is the lowest in the nation, and an estimated 5,000 new apartments are needed by 2014 to meet the demand – or twice the current rate of production.
Brenda Torpy, C.E.O. for Champlain Housing Trust, said, "We are excited to celebrate the construction of new affordable apartments here at Cedars' Edge Apartments in Essex. Thanks to Sen. Sanders’ support, and funding from a number of other partners like the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, VHFA and because of the commitment of the Town of Essex, 30 families will soon have an affordable place to call home."
“Many families will benefit from this development for many years to come,"  said Nancy Owens, president of Housing Vermont, “but there will also be the families of backhoe operators, roofers, carpenters and other construction workers and associated professionals who benefit now from this work during very tight times for the industry. Thanks to Sen. Sanders and our private and public partners for making all of this possible," Owens added.
The new three-story building will include 30 apartments – 24 two-bedroom and six one-bedroom units. In the mixed-income project of the 30 apartments, five will be market rate homes with no income restrictions; 15 will be restricted to households earning less than 60 percent of median income and 10 will be restricted to households earning less than 50 percent of median income.  Tenants will pay only electricity, phone and cable. Heat and hot water will be included in the rents.
To read a fact sheet about this project, click here.