747 Hartford Avenue
White River Junction, VT
Twin Pines has partnered with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in White River Junction and the Upper Valley Haven on an innovative project. The plan is for Twin Pines to use a portion of the church’s two-acre property to create 18 one-bedroom apartments of permanent housing for the chronically homeless. Residents will receive supportive services from the Haven, located next door.
This project builds on a successful partnership between Twin Pines and the Haven in Lebanon called Parkhurst Community Housing (Parkhurst) that also provides 18 apartments for the formerly homeless with services also provided by the Haven.
Twin Pines has incorporated many of the suggestions and comments made by elected officials, neighbors, and the public over the past several months. We are excited to have submitted the revised plans for consideration by the Hartford Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Adjustment. The plans for the housing will be reviewed at their meetings in April.
Does Twin Pines Housing pay property taxes?
Yes! In 2021, Twin Pines paid $231,255 in taxes. The St. Paul’s project alone should bring in about $20,000 in tax revenue annually, which is a substantial net gain for the property since the church does not pay a property tax.
Why is the project focused on homeless individuals instead of families?
The proposed apartments are designed to meet the housing needs of our region. Data from the March 2022 Coordinated Entry List, which tracks households in need of housing, indicates that 97% of chronically homeless households in our region do not have children.
Twin Pines meets the needs of homeless families, with and without children, in a variety of ways. A project we recently completed in White River Junction sets aside 25% of the affordable rental units for homeless households. Twin Pines is currently working on other projects that include apartments targeted at homeless households, including families
Who will live there?
The units are all one-bedroom apartments, and we anticipate most occupants will be single adults based on demand (see above). While it is possible that a couple could live in an apartment, our experience with comparable properties such as Parkhurst in Lebanon, paired with the data for housing demand in our region, indicates the residents will be single adults in the one-bedroom apartments. Only one of the 18 units at Parkhurst is occupied by a couple and that was only in the last year (out of the 3.5 years that the property has been operating).
How long will residents stay there?
This project is permanent rental housing. It is not temporary housing, nor is it transitional housing. It is not a shelter. Individuals or couples who apply for residency with Twin Pines and are approved are required to sign a one-year lease. Residents may stay in their apartment for as long as they wish, if they are in good standing. Our experience at Parkhurst has shown that half the residents are still living in their apartment after 3 years, and that half the residents have founds other housing options, with only one resident out the 27 who have lived at Parkhurst ending up in a shelter. This lends evidence to the importance of this type of housing in reducing homelessness in our region.
Are any potential residents disqualified?
Applicants are disqualified for sex offences, violent crimes, and drug-trafficking charges. We ask for references for residency. All applicants go through a multi-step application process with our trained staff.
Why this location?
Being adjacent to the Haven and its many services is hugely beneficial for the future residents. One of the keys to combating chronic homelessness is pairing housing with ongoing support. Being directly adjacent to the Haven allows for quick responsiveness, 24/7. And it allows residents to access services more easily as needed.
In addition to its proximity to the Haven, the location is ideal for transportation and access to employment opportunities and services. The location is on a public bus route and within walking distance of grocery stores and other amenities.
What services will residents have access to?
The Haven will provide residents with access to a variety of services. These include mental and physical health consultation, employment coaching, life skills development, financial coaching, and credit repair, and building healthy social networks within a support system. Residents need to agree to services as time of application as a condition of renting a unit, but do not need to continue services once they are residents. That said, 15 of the 17 eligible residents at Parkhurst receive services from the Haven.
What changes have been made to the project since February?
Several changes have been made to the project over the last several months in response to comments from Planning Commission members, neighbors, and others:
- The apartment building has been redesigned with a pitched roof and shed dormer that replicates the roof line of the building it will replace.
- The building color and shape of the windows were also modified to resemble adjacent buildings more closely.
- The north-facing entrance was removed, and the bike racks that used to be on the north and west side of the building were all relocated to the south side of the site.
- We have added fencing along the Demers Avenue side of the property as requested by residents.
- We have redesigned the emergency exit on to Demers Avenue to limit its use to emergency vehicles only. We have added grass pavers and a gate to the driveway, and the gate will match the fencing in appearance.