You're Looking at More Affordable Housing Coming to White River Junction

That's Gov. Phil Scott on the Wentworth site last week, flanked by Sue Cobb from Housing Vermont and Andrew Winter of Twin Pines Housing.

The construction site on Sykes Mountain Avenue in White River Junction doesn't look like much yet, but in June of next year a four-story apartment building with 30 units, a community room and garden, play area and covered parking below should stand where workers sweat in dust and humidity now. 

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The best thing about the project is the rent: from $750 a month for a 1-bedroom unit to $1,150 for 2 bedrooms. Compare that to market rates more than twice as high at, say, Timberwood Commons in Lebanon, and you get the picture.

This is possible because the project -- which will be called Wentworth Community Housing -- is the work of Twin Pines Housing, a nonprofit dedicated to affordable housing in the Upper Valley, in partnership with another nonprofit, Housing Vermont. The cost of construction is being underwritten by grants, donations, and most significantly, federal low-income housing tax credits.

Tenants in five of the units will also have access to support services, and one will get a rent subsidy through the Veterans Administration. The units are limited to people whose income is below or close to the median income in the area, which stood last year at $72,600 for a family of four.

Once the apartments are complete, Twin Pines hopes to add as many as 15 townhouses closer to Sykes Mountain Avenue. There's also a chance they'll land funding for solar panels.

The project will make a dent in what is a big problem for renters and employers in the area -- hiring can be a nightmare -- but it's far from enough to solve the problem altogether.

"There's a lot of need," said Andrew Winter, executive director of Twin Pines Housing one afternoon recently as we stood onsite. "There's a variety of needs. And there are plenty of things to do each and every day."


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