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WWHT gets $125,000 grant for new ‘supportive housing’ project

Initiative provides living space and access to social services

BRATTLEBORO—It was a nice way to say goodbye.

Amid a scene of bustling construction activity Dec. 4, Windham & Windsor Housing Trust Executive Director Connie Snow accepted a $125,000 affordable housing grant from TD Charitable Foundation, which will be used toward the completion of the Great River Terrace project on Putney Road.

Snow, who is retiring from the Housing Trust at the end of this month, also got a chance to preside over an open house to show off the progress so far on turning the former Lamplighter Motel into 22 one-room efficiency apartments that will provide housing for some of the area’s homeless population.

The apartments are expected to be ready for June 2018. According to Jillian Tomaselli, architectural designer for Stephens & Associates in Brattleboro, one wing of the motel was gutted down to the framing and rebuilt.

The other wing of the motel had be torn down due to mold and other structural damage, she said. A new foundation has been laid, and framing will begin soon, weather permitting.

TD Charitable Foundation is the charitable giving arm of TD Bank. Windham & Windsor Housing Trust was one of 25 organizations from Maine to Florida that received grants this year for affordable housing.

The Housing Trust teamed up with Groundworks Collaborative and Health Care & Rehabilitation Services to create Great River Terrace as an example of what’s known as “permanent supportive housing.” It combines housing with access to social services to help homeless people live stable and healthy lives.

Groundworks Executive Director Josh Davis said his organization is currently housing up to 25 people a night at the new Winter Overflow Shelter at the former Austine School campus om Chestnut Street. “It’s exciting to know that this will be here this summer to offer to our clients.”

Health Care & Rehabilitation Services Chief Executive Officer George Karabakakis agreed, saying that providing safe and affordable housing was the first step toward providing hope for those who are homeless.

“And you can’t do a project like this without collaboration,” he said.

Snow said the demand for slots at Great River Terrace far outstrips the supply.

“Josh says he could fill these apartments twice over,” she said.

Each of Great River’s apartments will feature an open kitchen and living room, a sleeping area, and bathroom.

A community center will sit between the two apartment wings. It will have a shared kitchen and community room, laundry facilities for the residents, and offices for on-site supportive services.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #437 (Wednesday, December 6, 2017). This story appeared on page A1.

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