HOPE plan for housing not funded

MIDDLEBURY — Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE) officials, unable to secure key federal grants, have had to scuttle a plan to transform the office building at 61 Court St. into a boarding house for low-income residents.
HOPE had intended to use $1 million in financing to buy the 100-year-old building from the Counseling Service of Addison County and convert it from offices into nine single-room rental units, plus a manager’s apartment. Also, an existing garage at the site would have been replaced with a new structure containing three more apartments. The units would have been served by a common kitchen, dining room and living room.
Jeanne Montross, executive director of HOPE, said the agency hoped the boarding house could fill the void of a similar service that used to exist on Elm Street.
But that boarding house plan will have to wait for another time and probably another location, Montross said. HOPE’s application for about $600,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money has failed to win approval.
“There’s less money to go around,” Montross said of CDBG funds.
She noted HOPE’s was one of more than a dozen applications statewide for the limited pot of resources
Montross stressed that HOPE and its backers will continue to pursue the boarding house plan, most likely at another site. The organization’s purchase and sale agreement with the Counseling Service —contingent on project funding — has expired.
Robert Thorn, executive director of CSAC, confirmed the property is still on the market. The 2,909-square-foot building hosted some CSAC offices until 2008, when the agency consolidated many of its functions in Catamount Park.
The building, which sits on 0.64 acre, is listed for $225,000 with the Lang McLaughry Spera real estate firm in Middlebury.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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