Champlain Housing Trust Buys a Second Shelburne Road Motel | Off Message

Champlain Housing Trust Buys a Second Shelburne Road Motel


  • Champlain Housing Trust
  • Days Inn in Shelburne
The Champlain Housing Trust has purchased the Days Inn in Shelburne and plans eventually to relocate its transitional housing program at Harbor Place across Shelburne Road to the hotel property. Harbor Place, meantime, will be turned into 100 units of permanent housing.

The purchase is the second in a month for Champlain Housing Trust. On November 30, the trust purchased a Marriott in Williston, TownePlace Suites, to shelter formerly homeless and low-income Vermonters.

The trust, a nonprofit, owns and manages housing for more than 3,000 families or individuals in Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle Counties.

The trust plans to convert hotel rooms at Harbor Place into apartments, and to add one apartment building and one set of townhouses and condominiums at that property, said Chris Donnelly, the director of community relations for the trust. Ultimately, the projects will create about 40 more apartments overall, Donnelly said.

The trust brought the proposal before Shelburne's development review board last week.

Donnelly said the trust would not have been able to purchase the hotels without the federal COVID-19 relief money that lawmakers and the governor's office directed to housing projects this year. The state used the Days Inn for people experiencing homelessness, but the property had been emptied recently as those programs ended, Donnelly said. The housing trust paid $6 million for the property, and will use a $7.34 million grant for the purchase and renovation costs. It's expected to be ready for its new residents in February or March.
The housing created at the Harbor Place project will be permanent, Donnelly said.

“We’re actually providing a solution to homelessness,” he said. A motel room, often with no kitchen facilities, can only be a temporary measure;  the permanent units will have a kitchen and other amenities. “It provides a security of tenure, stability and a home,” he said.

Champlain Housing Trust is a member of Building Homes Together, a regional effort created to address the shortage of affordable housing in northwestern Vermont. On December 14, that group launched a campaign to build 5,000 new homes, with 1,250 of them designated as permanently affordable, over the next five years. Housing advocates generally describe affordable housing as consuming one-third of a family’s income.
Donnelly said the trust is planning or developing about 700 homes, including those at Harbor Place. The COVID-19 relief money, which is administered through the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, has jump-started the trust’s efforts to buy and build apartments, he said.

The trust now owns eight former hotels and motels in Chittenden County, and Donnelly said it's looking for more properties.

“There is an opportunity ahead to improve a lot of peoples’ lives," he said.