Hardwick, News

Lamoille Community House Celebrates Grand Opening

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HYDE PARK – The grand opening of Lamoille Community House (LCH) brought community partners together to celebrate the facility’s completion with a ribbon cutting program and tour on Friday, June 28. The county’s first year-round homeless shelter was set to open in Hyde Park on July 1.

by Andy Duback
Community partners and friends attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for that grand opening of Lamoille Community House in Hyde Park on Friday, June 8 (from left) Father Rick Swanson; Rabbi David Fainsilber; Executive Director Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, Gus Seelig; Interim Executive Director Lamoille Housing Partnership, Lucy Leriche; Executive Director Lamoille Community House, Kim Anetsberger; Vermont Community Loan Foundation, Sarah Phillips; he crowd also includes LHP and LCH supporters and volunteers, area human service providers, organization staff, and Legislative reps.

Lamoille Housing Partnership (LHP) and LCH partnered to fill a critical need, establishing Lamoille County’s first and only year-round emergency shelter for adults experiencing homelessness.

Lamoille Community House has 21 guest bedrooms, a shared kitchen and an office space for area service providers to meet with clients. It will be the only homeless shelter operating year-round between Burlington and Barre, adding a critical resource.

Community partners and the organization’s staff attending the event included Father Rick Swanson; Rabbi David Fainsilber; Executive Director, Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, Gus Seelig; Interim Executive Director, Lamoille Housing Partnership, Lucy Leriche; Executive Director, Lamoille Community House, Kim Anetsberger; Vermont Community Loan Foundation, Sarah Phillips; LHP and LCH supporters and volunteers, area human service providers, organization staff and Legislative reps.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s (HUD) most recent annual Point in Time Count, Vermont has the second-highest per-capita rate of homelessness in the country for the second year in a row, increasing 5% since 2023’s count. In early June, homelessness advocates in Lamoille County reported 181 adults and 97 children were experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness in local communities. Nearly half of the 143 reported households were sheltering in a motel, tent, or vehicle, on the street or in temporary shelter.

“LCH is excited to finally be bringing this much needed, year-round resource to our community,” said LCH Executive Director Kim Anetsberger. “Throughout the pandemic, we expanded our services to do outreach to hotels and people sheltering outdoors during the warmer months when our seasonal shelter was closed. We served more than three times the people we’d normally serve during one winter and this proved to our community that a year-round shelter was needed. We are so grateful to have partnered with experts in real estate development, LHP, and that the previous owners of the building were intentional in finding a seller that would use the building to serve the community. It was the perfect, kismet lining up of efforts that felt just right for what we needed.” Anetsberger continued, “Now, we are opening a shelter that not only will be open year-round, but will accommodate more guests, and give each person their own room and a real bed providing them with the dignity and respect they deserve. We’re excited to embark on this new chapter for Lamoille Community House.”

LHP owns the facility and led the property’s rehabilitation scope of work, working with Neagly & Chase Construction Company, S2 Architecture, Red Bird Consulting to redesign and update the property using an integrative process with a focus on shelter guest well being, environmental benefits and cost containment.

LCH will lease and operate the facility, offering the same services as the organization’s prior 12-bed, seasonally operated shelter they’ve run since 2017 in the Village of Hyde Park.

“LHP is thrilled to be part of this major milestone,” said LHP’s Interim Executive Director Lucy Leriche. “Jim Lovinsky, LHP’s previous executive director, recognized the Forest Hill property’s potential to be a critically needed resource that could meaningfully address homelessness locally.”

A total of $4.3 million in funding was raised from numerous sources to cover the total development costs of the project, including $4.1 million from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, energy incentives totaling $100K from the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, 3E Thermal and funds raised locally.

The permanent LCH facility is the culmination of collaborative efforts between the two organizations dating back six years, when LHP acted as LCH’s fiscal sponsor while the budding grassroots group sought 501c3 status.

For several years, LHP and LCH each searched for an appropriate site. In 2022, an opportunity emerged when the Forest Hill Residential Care Home was listed for sale. Owner Dave Andersen intended for the property to continue as a community resource, and introduced the opportunity to LHP. From there, the affordable housing and homelessness organizations teamed up to bring the project to fruition.

LCH planned to open its doors to adults seeking emergency shelter on July 1. Shelter seekers should call 802-521-7943.

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