Vermont Governor Phil Scott joined state and local officials, nonprofit housing and finance representatives, and dozens of area residents on Monday, June 5, to celebrate the opening of Elm Place, an affordable residential community for seniors located in Milton’s evolving town center.
The light-filled, state-of-the-art building, developed and managed by the nonprofit Cathedral Square Corporation, features 30 one-bedroom apartments for modest- and low-income seniors. The 28,000-square-foot building is Vermont’s first multifamily residence built to “passive house” energy standards. It is projected to use 95 percent less heating energy than the same size building built to code and save about $11,600 in annual heating costs.
Governor Scott praised the project on many levels — for its location in an area Milton plans to develop as a mixed-use, high-density and walkable downtown; for its alignment with his vision to grow the supply of affordable housing throughout Vermont; for its energy efficiency and contributions to the local economy; and for its pairing of housing with supportive services to help older Vermonters stay in good health so they can age in place in their own homes.
Milton residents Marge Forant, Don Carr and Karen Trombley — who have lived at Elm Place since it opened just two months ago — talked about their new homes and the support they receive from Cathedral Square and SASH® (Support and Services at Home), which works with partners in affordable housing and health care to help participants remain healthy and avert medical crises. Developed by Cathedral Square and now available statewide, SASH has been documented to improve health outcomes while reducing the growth in Medicare expenses.
Acting Town Manager Don Turner spoke of the role Elm Place will play in spurring other development in the area and the vitality Elm Place residents and staff bring to the Milton community.
Immediately following the formal remarks and before a series of building tours, Governor Scott joined Cathedral Square staff and the organization’s funding and housing partners for a unique twist on the traditional ribbon-cutting: The group “cut the cord” — a power cord — instead of a ribbon to symbolize the amount of energy the building is saving through a combination of energy-efficiency measures and a rooftop solar array.
Elm Place amenities for residents include covered parking, laundry facilities, on-site secure storage, an exercise room, a community kitchen/dining area and gathering spaces. A “digital dashboard” near the entry displays real-time energy usage and trends. Outdoor highlights include raised garden beds, a walking loop and outdoor courtyard, a pergola and a bocce court. Rents start at just under $800 and include heat, air conditioning, hot water, laundry and electricity. SASH services and programs are available to residents at no charge.
“Elm Place was fully leased within three weeks of opening, indicative of the significant need for affordable, service-enriched housing for Vermont’s growing senior population,” said Cathedral Square Development Director Cindy Reid. “The residents love all that the building and the surrounding community have to offer.”
Funding sources for Elm Place included the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, People’s United Bank, the Vermont Community Development Program, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, the HOME Investment Partnership, the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Efficiency Vermont, the TD Charitable Foundation, Commons Energy, Enterprise Community Partners, the Housing Assistance Council, Vermont Gas Systems, and in-kind support from the town of Milton.
About Cathedral Square: Cathedral Square Corporation is a nonprofit organization founded in Burlington, Vermont, in 1977. We are a national leader in the development of affordable, service-enriched housing communities for seniors and individuals with special needs. For 40 years, we have been unwavering in pursuit of our mission to advance “healthy homes, caring communities and positive aging.” Cathedral Square is responsible for nearly 1,700 affordable apartments for seniors and adults with special needs. We currently own and/or manage 29 affordable living communities serving nearly 1,200 Vermonters. All CSC housing is permanently affordable. As a reflection of the overwhelming need in our region for affordable senior housing, we currently have nearly 800 people on our waiting list. In addition, Cathedral Square administers the nationally recognized SASH® (Support and Services at Home) program, which CSC created and piloted in 2009. In 2011 SASH became available statewide and is now in place in every county in Vermont.