Brenda Torpy to Step Down as CEO

Posted on Monday, July 20, 2020, by Chris Donnelly

The Champlain Housing Trust’s Board of Directors announced today that CEO Brenda Torpy will step down at the end of 2020 after leading the organization for nearly 30 years, and that current Chief Operating and Financial Officer Michael Monte will be hired as its next CEO beginning in January, 2021.

Torpy was a founding member of the organization over 35 years ago when she worked in the office of Mayor Bernie Sanders and its first Board President. In these roles she was trailblazer for a new type of affordable housing called a Community Land Trust, which grew locally and more recently, across the globe. CHT is the largest Community Land Trust in the world.

“When Brenda announced her decision to step down as CEO at the end of 2020, the Board of Directors of Champlain Housing Trust knew immediately what an important moment this was after her many years at the helm of CHT,” said Bob Robbins, President of the Board. “All of us recognize and our grateful for the tremendous contributions that she has made and continues to make to Vermont communities as an internationally recognized leader and advocate for affordable housing and social justice.”

When Torpy took over leadership of the organization in 1992, it had created almost 50 homes, mostly in Burlington. Today, CHT counts over 3,000 homes of all types throughout northwestern Vermont serving people experiencing homelessness, homes for people with special needs, affordable apartments for the working class, and a pioneering, shared equity homeownership program that removes financial hurdles for buyers while creating housing that is permanently affordable. 

It is this last program that helped earn CHT the United Nations World Habitat Award in 2008, and sparked the model’s spread internationally. 

“It’s been the honor of my life to build this organization as a leader in our communities and in the field of affordable housing. I’ve been fortunate to have an opportunity help to build the Community Land Trust movement across the US and in other countries – work that I look forward to continuing,” said Torpy. “I am thrilled that Michael will be here to continue advancing a lot of the work we’ve done together over more than three decades. Knowing how resilient the organization will continue to be under his leadership makes this transition easier.”

“Michael will help us build on Brenda’s visionary leadership and ensure a seamless change through uncertain times,” added Robbins. “His commitment to the mission of CHT, his long record of innovative achievement, his strong connections to our Vermont partners, and internal board and staff relationships, all convince us that he is the best leader to navigate this historic transition.”

“It’s an honor to be asked to lead the Champlain Housing Trust and build upon Brenda’s leadership,” said Monte. “It’s a challenge I look forward to tackling with the support and participation of the Board, our dedicated staff, our volunteers and this great community.”

The Champlain Housing Trust is a Community Land Trust that supports the people of northwest Vermont and strengthens their communities through the development and stewardship of permanently affordable homes and related community assets. Founded in 1984, it is the largest Community Land Trust in the country. Throughout Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties, CHT manages approximately 2,400 apartments, stewards 628 owner-occupied homes in its signature shared-equity program, offers homebuyer education and financial fitness counseling to more than 1,000 people annually, provides services to five housing cooperatives, and offers affordable energy efficiency and rehab loans.

New Programs to Help Struggling Vermonters with Housing Costs

Posted on Monday, July 13, 2020, by Chris Donnelly

Renters and homeowners who have lost income due to the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for assistance under two new programs established by the State of Vermont.

Rental Housing Stabilization ProgramAll renters who have been impacted can seek support to help pay missed rental or mobile home lot payments. Information on how to apply and the rules of the program can be found on the Vermont State Housing Authority's website. CHT is reaching out directly with all of its own renters that we know who have missed rental payments to encourage them to apply. This is a first-come, first-serve program. Payments are made directly to landlords on behalf of rental households and come along with eviction protections. Applicants do not need to show proof of citizenship.

Mortgage Assistance ProgramHomeowners who have been impacted by the pandemic can apply for a mortgage assistance grant through the Vermont Housing Finance Agency. This program has income eligibility guidelines and has an enrollment period between now and August 31, with grants made for as much to three months of mortgage payments as resources allow after October 2, 2020. The grant amount awarded may not be as much as the full amount owed and the borrower is still responsible for outstanding payments. CHT is also reaching out to its homeowners to let them know of this opportunity

CHT advocated for these programs and encourages all impacted financially by the public health emergency to take advantage of them to provide you some economic relief.