Upper Valley Haven plan would create low-income housing, shelter space in White River Junction

A rendering shows a proposed 18-unit Twin Pines Housing apartment building, center, and a new structure for the Haven’s overnight shelter and administrative offices, right, on property subdivided from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, left, on Hartford Avenue in White River Junction, Vt. The plans for the buildings’ facades have not been finalized. (Courtesy Studio Nexus) Courtesy Studio Nexus

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 12/3/2021 10:03:37 PM
Modified: 12/3/2021 10:03:43 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Twin Pines Housing and the Upper Valley Haven are proposing to build affordable housing and more shelter beds on church property next to the existing Haven site on Route 5.

The proposal could add 18 one-bedroom apartments for low-income tenants and 20 emergency shelter beds in a bid to address the Upper Valley’s housing crisis and concerns about safe lodging for the homeless.

The two nonprofits this week said they have an option to purchase two parcels of a property owned by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Route 5, aka Hartford Avenue, in White River Junction where they want to extend housing, shelter and social support services to economically distressed families and individuals.

If successful obtaining the necessary financing and zoning approvals — St. Paul’s will first seek to divide its nearly 2-acre property into three parcels — the parties hope to begin construction in 2023, organizers said this week.

“We are a small, aging congregation and we have to do something to ensure our viability and there is this huge housing crisis in Hartford that is only getting worse,” said Leslie Black, chair of the planning committee at St. Paul’s. “We’ve always been interested in the issue, and this is a way to use our property to support that need,” she said, adding that proceeds from the parcel sales will help to pay for the church’s long-overdue upgrade in energy efficiency.

Under the proposed plan, which will be presented informally to the Hartford Planning Commission on Monday night, Twin Pines Housing would purchase a parcel on the east side of the church to build a three-floor structure containing 18 low-income, one-bedroom rental units, and the Haven would purchase a parcel at the south end of the church property adjacent to its facility which would contain 20 shelter beds and program space and staff offices.

St. Paul’s, which helped establish the Haven 40 years ago, would retain the land around its sanctuary and parish hall.

By co-locating permanent low-income rental housing, acute shelter capacity and a menu of wrap-around support services, the church and nonprofits would effectively create a micro campus and destination for struggling families and individuals who are unable to afford a roof over their head or are homeless in the Upper Valley, according to organization officials.

The added 8,000 square feet provided by its new dual-purpose building could also allow the Haven to host space for other Upper Valley social service organizations such as domestic abuse counselor WISE, free medical and dental care provider Good Neighbor Health Clinics and substance abuse treatment center Headrest to meet with their clients, said Michael Redmond, the Haven’s executive director.

“We want this to be a place for resources, a center where we can invite other organizations who are working with the same folks that we are,” Redmond said.

The current Haven facility, in addition to operating a food shelf, provides temporary shelter facilities to eight families in the Byrne House Family Shelter, and, in a separate building known as Hixon House Adult Shelter, temporary residences for up to 20 individuals in 10 double-occupancy rooms.

Before the pandemic, the Haven also ran a “low-barrier” shelter during the winter in which it would set out 15 cots in the dining area for men and women who needed emergency overnight shelter. But COVID-19 concerns ended that program in March 2020 and the proposed new building would revive the shelter with room for 20 people on the second floor, Redmond explained.

“Now we want to build something that is better, better for safety, a little more space for privacy, partitions around the cots, electrical sockets to charge phones, changing rooms, lockers, more showers, a laundry,” Redmond elaborated.

The first floor would be dedicated to meeting rooms, educational and program spaces, staff and caseworker offices. and computer workstations that shelter residents could use to find permanent housing and work.

Redmond estimated the new building would cost about $3 million “as a rule of thumb,” which the Haven would finance through public and private grants and fundraising.

The proposed Twin Pines building would be only a few feet away, which would make it easy for a resident to tap resources and programs provided at the Haven, said Beth Long, CFO of the housing nonprofit.

Long said the proposal to add an affordable housing building at the St. Paul’s location for easy access to the Haven’s resources is modeled after Twin Pines Housing’s Parkhurst Community Housing low-income apartment building — also 18 units — in downtown Lebanon. The Haven has a caseworker assigned to residents of that building, who help with everything from vouchers, transportation, treatment and medical appointments if necessary.

“It’s been very successful here and we’re now looking to provide the same opportunity to Vermont residents,” Long said.

Long, who didn’t have a precise estimate for how much the 18-unit building would cost but nonetheless expected it would be “several millions,” said Twin Pines would be applying for state grants funded by federal money in addition to the award of tax credits that the nonprofit has tapped on prior projects.

On Monday, the parties will go before the Hartford Planning Commission to preview the plan with a formal application to be made early in the new year. The Monday meeting is an informal session for both the applicant and the city to ask each other questions to sketch out the scope of the project and review the permitting process ahead, said Lori Hirshfield, director of planning and development for Hartford.

The Haven’s Redmond said the Planning Commission several years ago approved the Haven’s status as a “planned development,” which it sought when the Route 5 site brought multiple functions — shelter, food pantry, programs — to one location.

A planned development means the applicant does not have to seek a variance as long as the purpose comports with the underlying zoning, requiring only an amendment to the approved plan.

The biggest obstacle may be resistance from abutters of St. Paul’s property not relishing the prospect of living adjacent to an expanded shelter for homeless people, an issue that has dogged other attempts to solve homelessness in Hartford.

St. Paul’s Black said members of the church have recently been knocking on neighbors’ doors to inform them of the plan and to gauge their reaction.

“We get varied responses. We get ‘it’s wonderful you are doing this because housing is such a problem’ and then there are people who are not so enthusiastic,” Black said.

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.

Ribbon cutting at WWCH II

Twin Pines Housing and Evernorth Complete Phase II of Wentworth Community Housing

On August 11, 2021, Twin Pines Housing and its development partner Evernorth celebrated the completion of the construction of 17 new apartments to the Wentworth Way development and four new units located a few miles away in Wilder, VT.

The Wilder site is comprised of four two-bedroom apartments, each with washer/dryer hookups and a private porch or patio. The site was initially an infill development site requiring cleanup of contaminated soils.

The Wentworth Way site adds eight one-bedroom flats, eight two-bedroom townhouses and one three-bedroom townhouse to the 30 apartments built in the first phase. The new building includes a community space, onsite laundry, private entrances with patios or porches and use of the common outdoor amenities – community gardens, outdoor seating and play spaces.

Both of the buildings in this second phase were designed and constructed to high performance energy standards, use no fossil fuels, and employ a new mechanical system which brings individualized heating, cooling and ventilation to each unit. All utilities will be included in the rent, and the Development’s electrical costs will be offset by the new PV solar panels. The project was designed by gbA Architecture and constructed by Naylor and Breen builders.

Safford Commons Home Ownership Units Construction Site

Twin Pines building affordable housing for sale in Woodstock—Valley News

WOODSTOCK — Twin Pines Housing is adding up to 8 units of housing for sale at its Safford Commons complex, part of its ongoing effort to make home ownership more affordable.

Housing applications open in September for the new housing, where four of the units are under construction now at the complex off Route 4 in Woodstock.

The two single-story, two-bedroom condominiums will cost $185,000, and the two, two-story, three-bedroom condominiums will cost $222,000, well below market rates for such housing. A second phase of the project, which would develop four more units for ownership, will probably begin in the next two years, said Andrew Winter, the executive director of Twin Pines Housing.

Jasmine Taudvin is a Staff Writer for the Valley News. Read the full article on the Valley News Website.

Photo of TPH Staff in front of the community building

Twin Pines Housing Celebrates Renovation of Village at Crafts Hill

On June 17, 2021, Twin Pines Housing celebrated the completion of renovations at the Village at Crafts Hill with a ribbon-cutting ceremony there followed by Twin Pines’ annual meeting. Lebanon Mayor Tim McNamara and New Hampshire Executive Councilor Joe Kenney were among the dignitaries who spoke at the event.

Beautiful weather lifted everyone’s spirits at the event which took place in a tent in front of the newly built Community Center at Crafts Hill. The celebration included a brief program, tours of the apartments, and a reception.

Twin Pines Housing recently completed a year-long renovation of its 100-unit Village at Crafts Hill in West Lebanon, NH. Originally constructed in the 1970’s, the complex needed significant upgrades throughout. The complex provides much-needed affordable housing for Lebanon-area families. During the 2021 Annual Meeting portion of the event, new Board members were elected, a financial report was given, and Twin Pines Housing Executive Director reported on the highlights and challenges of the past year during a pandemic.

Twin Pines opens new apartments —Valley News

HANOVER — Nick Heyl gives his new digs, a studio apartment on the third floor of the new Summer Park Residences situated between Park, Summer and Lebanon streets, “a rave review.”

“I’m close to everything and it’s just absolutely quiet here,” Heyl said in a phone interview Friday.

Heyl, a 73-year-old retired attorney and singer/songwriter, spoke little more than a week after moving into the $5.8 million building, which sits near the Hanover location of the Co-op Food Stores, Hanover High School and the Richard W. Black Community Center.

The single building containing 24 units of affordable housing in one of the Upper Valley’s most expensive real estate markets replaces three eight-unit, two-story buildings built in the 1970s. The new energy-efficient building’s features, including an elevator, wider doorways, grab bars, roll-in showers and open floor plans, make it more accessible for tenants with disabilities.

Nora Doyle-Burr is a staff writer for the Valley News. Read the full article on the Valley News Website

Rear corner of the new Summer Park Building

Completion of Summer Park Phase 1

We invite you to join Twin Pines Housing’s Executive Director Andrew B. Winter, Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin, and project funders as we celebrate the completion of the new Summer Park Residences.

WHENFriday, October 30, 10:30 a.m.

HOW:    Register in advance for this Zoom meeting here.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Or watch us live on Facebook!

WHAT  Remarks, a virtual tour, a ribbon cutting ceremony, and a ground breaking ceremony for phase 2. Enjoy your own refreshments!

Twin Pines Housing gets grant to remediate Wilder brownfield site —Valley News

WILDER — Twin Pines Housing has received a grant from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development to help it remediate a Route 5 brownfield site where it plans to construct affordable housing, according to a news release.

The $65,000 grant through the state’s Brownfield Initiative will help the nonprofit housing developer work with the nonprofit housing investment group Evernorth to clean up the former Tip Top Tire site where Twin Pines is slated to construct four units of affordable housing. The project is one of two in Hartford that Twin Pines plans to begin building this summer.

Read the full staff report on the Valley News Website.

Twin Pines to build 21 apartments in Hartford after grants come through—Valley News

WILDER — Twin Pines Housing Trust will start construction this summer on two affordable housing projects expected to bring 21 new apartments to Hartford after securing federal funding last week.

A $247,200 federal Community Development Block Grant allows the White River Junction-based nonprofit to move forward with plans for a two-story building in Wilder Village.

The roughly 4,360-square-foot building will have four apartments located on the former home of the Tip Top Tire and auto repair shop at 1965 Hartford Ave., aka Route 5, across from Datamann Inc.

Tim Camerato is a Staff Writer for the Valley News. Read the full article on the Valley News Website.

Solar For All Presentation

Missed the Solar for All presentation on July 18? Watch a video of the event here.

 

Join Twin Pines Housing, Sustainable Woodstock, Vital Communities, Norwich Solar Technologies, and Norman Sun LLC for a presentation about creating affordable solar opportunities for low and moderate-income households.

Saturday, July 18
10:00-11:00 am

Register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/109036711740

Learn more

2020 Annual Meeting

Thank you to everyone who attended Twin Pines Housing’s Annual Meeting by Zoom on Wednesday, June 17. View this recording of the meeting to hear about our year in review and upcoming plans. You can also view our year in review video below.

 

Twin Pines Housing’s year in review from Twin Pines on Vimeo.