Ellen Pratt

One town struggles with housing issues

Londonderry debates rules on short-term rentals and takes a broader look at methods to prevent young people and workers from being priced out of their own community

Short-term rentals (STRs), like those listed on websites like Airbnb and VRBO, are adversely affecting the housing market. That's according to the town's "Housing Needs Assessment and Strategy" report, published in April.

The report acknowledges that, while not solely responsible, STRs have contributed to rising housing prices and a decline in the availability of long-term rental housing.

There are more than 300 active short-term rentals in the Londonderry area, an increase of 62% over the past three years, as reported in the needs assessment.

The Selectboard is considering a short-term rental ordinance that would limit the number of STRs a property owner can have.

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Funding in place to move families living in danger of flooding

$6 million from federal and state sources will fund flood resiliency projects in 2020 Tri-Park master plan

With the final piece of financing approved on Sept. 11 by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, Tri-Park Cooperative Housing Corporation, which owns three Brattleboro mobile home parks - Mountain Home Park, Glen Park, and Black Mountain Park - is set to implement flood resiliency projects outlined in its 2020...

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Flood plain will be restored by Whetstone River

Post-Irene efforts to return contours of the landscape to its pre-industrial state has a big goal: to reduce the ravages from future extreme weather

It might seem crazy to buy land with the hope that it will flood, but that's exactly what the Vermont River Conservancy (VRC) has done through its purchase of 12 acres along the Whetstone Brook. With permits in place, VRC and the town of Brattleboro are jointly cleaning up...

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New housing in the works for an area starved for options

If plans come to fruition, more than 600 mixed-income units would be added to the area's housing stock, which comes as welcome news to those working to address the urgent need for more housing in Windham County and throughout the state. With the end of the state's pandemic-era temporary shelter program, 113 households living in local motels have until April 1, 2024 to find housing or face eviction. An unknown number of households are sheltering in tents in the area.

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New food project goes the extra mile

Thanks to a six-month, $5,000 grant from the United Way of Windham County, 25 people, mostly elders, have been receiving weekly deliveries of easy-to-prepare meals and groceries. These participants in the Last Mile Food Project also receive monthly deliveries of fresh vegetables from the Vermont Foodbank's VeggieVanGo program. Additionally, a local resident, Winnie Dolan, prepares homemade meals for monthly delivery. Those receiving the free groceries and meals live in the West River Valley, which includes Jamaica, Townshend, Brookline, Newfane, and...

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After the motel — one month later

With only three days remaining in their 21-day, maximum-allowed stay at Fort Dummer State Park's campground, Kayla and Travis Lavonte and their two cats are scrambling to find shelter - again. "We have to leave for seven nights but then we plan to come back," Kayla said. The couple has been camping since being evicted from the Quality Inn in mid-June. They are among the 70 households sheltered in six local motels who lost access to the pandemic-era emergency shelter...

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‘You see the situation we’re in now’

After a summer afternoon's torrential downpour, Lisa Marie makes her way gingerly down a slick, muddy trail, through a forested area on the outskirts of town. The trail leads to a temporary shelter: a big blue tarp anchored to four trees and nailed into the ground. A folding camp chair, a bike, and a quilted cloth sleeping bag, laid out to dry on a log, are the only possessions in sight. Down the hill, three blue tents are pitched among...

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Motel program residents return to homelessness

On a recent hot morning outside the Quality Inn on Putney Road, Kayla and Travis are loading bags of clothing and small pieces of furniture into the back of a pickup truck. They are part of the first wave of evictions from Vermont motels, after the end of the federally funded pandemic-era program that sheltered some 3,000 Vermonters (and around 270 people in Brattleboro) experiencing homelessness. In Brattleboro, an informal group of local service providers, town administrators, and leaders from...

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