News

UPDATED: CHT Response to COVID-19

Posted on Saturday, April 18, 2020, by Chris Donnelly

[Update: Saturday, April 18, 2:30pm]

We hope you're safe and healthy, and managing okay under the circumstances. Life will slowly get back to normal, but it will take some time. Thank you for all you're doing to protect public health.

Below we have compiled a number of programs to help you. It is important for you to know what is available, but please be cautious about scams during this period as always.

With the first steps of loosening the Stay Home, Stay Safe order, you may start to see a little landscaping or outside work around your properties. This is a small step to return to some normalcy. There will be additional ones, but for now it is important that we continue to practice social distancing, wear masks in public, and wash hands regularly to keep us all safe.

As always, please reach out to your property manager if you need help.


[Update: Wednesday, April 15, 2:30pm]
We've launched a new Covid-19 Response Fund, as we didn’t have a budget for all of the costs associated in responding to the coronavirus, but in these times we’re not asking “how much does that cost?” We're prioritizing public health. 

Many of us have just received stimulus funding from the Federal CARES Act deposited in our bank accounts. Some of us will need this money to get by, or have a family member or friend who needs assistance.

If you are able, please consider supporting CHT with some of these funds. It is clear to us that everything we've expended to date – which is approaching $100,000 – won't be covered by federal funds. Our guiding purpose is to ensure that our most vulnerable neighbors, and all of us, stay safe. Please support us if you can.

[Update: Friday, April 3, 2:35pm]

A lot has transpired in the last couple of weeks and we wanted to update you on our efforts and thank you for your efforts in your own lives to adapt and make public health a priority. 
We know it’s a very difficult time. 

FOR OUR TENANTS 
We just instituted a new electronic communication tool, and will continue to find ways to effectively communicate with you. We know at the forefront of your mind is your ability to make ends meet, including whether you can pay your rent.
We understand if you’ve lost employment and cannot pay your rent in April, May or even beyond. We won’t – and advocated that we couldn’t – initiate any eviction processes during this state of emergency and until people are back on their feet. It is helpful to hear from you so we may be effective advocate for your needs, so please be in touch with your property manager. 
We recently blocked off the playgrounds at some of our properties, and we’ll be instituting a “One Household at a Time” policy in elevators. We encourage you to restrict visitation to only those essential guests so prevent the spread of the virus. We are planning on opening up community gardens where we have them, though we will need people to continue to engage in social distancing and if public health needs dictate, we could take the action to close them.

FOR OUR HOMEOWNERS
All of our staff are continuing to provide service over the phone, video or email. We are here to help with your needs. 
If you have lost employment or income and are having a hard time making your mortgage, property tax or other payments, please be in touch – we can help you work through this difficult time. We will waive any late fees for missed lease or membership payments.
Tax Related Reminders: Every Vermont homeowner must file a Homestead Declaration (HS-122) every year – even if you are not required to file a Vermont Income Tax Return. The Homestead Declaration allows your city/town to charge you the lowest possible property tax rate. If someone else files your taxes, verify that this has been done. 
Also, if your household income is less than $140,000 you may also be eligible for a property tax rebate, but you will have to file a State of Vermont Property Tax Adjustment Form (HS-144) to apply.
Even though the deadline to file your income taxes has been extended, the State of Vermont encourages you to file now if you can.


[Tuesday, March 17, 9:30am]

A message for our tenants:

Your well-being and safety, and the health and safety of our staff, is of utmost importance to us in response to this public health emergency. We are writing to let you know of additional steps we have taken and ones that are in progress to keep you informed:

  • First, we have closed our offices to outside visitors to practice “social distancing” and installed an intercom system at 88 King Street. We are avoiding face-to-face meetings. Please call or email your property manager if you need to reach them.
  • If you need to drop off your rent payment or other paperwork, please use the mail slots at our offices or, better yet, put it in the mail or send an email. If you haven’t signed up to pay your rent online, you can do so from our website.
  • We are limiting maintenance responses to emergencies only. Please understand that we need to prioritize health and safety at this point. If you have an emergency need, call 861-3076.
  • If your job(s) or income has been impacted by the pandemic, please let us know. These are challenging times and we are here to support you. We are compiling a list of resources and will share those on our website as soon as possible. We will not initiate eviction if you cannot pay your rent because of the pandemic.
  • We are hoping to be able to communicate shortly by email or text message. Please stay tuned for this.
  • We have increased the number of times that we wipe down common areas, elevators, door handles, laundry rooms and other places in your building.
  • Lastly, please stay safe and make sure you wash your hands upon entering your apartment. Keep your hands away from your face, and practice social distancing. If you feel ill, please limit contact with others.

These are challenging times, but we want you to know that we are doing everything we can and we will keep you informed of our efforts.


[Saturday, March 14, 2020, 1:30pm]

CHT continues to monitor news reports and are working to implement best practices in response to COVID-19. Our staff’s safety and the safety of the people we work with is of utmost importance.

Starting sometime on Monday, we will be closing our doors to the public. All of our offices will be closed to visitors, and staff have been instructed to make alternative arrangements to carry out their business. Activities such as counseling appointments and meetings with tenants, among others, will all done by phone or video conference. Staff will be in touch with clients and residents to make arrangements.

An intercom should be in place at the front door at 88 King Street in Burlington on Monday.

We encourage any payments, submission of applications or other documents to be done through the mail, deposited in our mail slot or filed/paid electronically.

We will continue to refine our plans for essential functions and will communicate that in the coming days.

In the meantime, general guidance for both staff and the general public:

             Stay home if you’re sick, and if you have a fever, contact your medical provider.

             Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

             Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

             Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

             Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.

             Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

             Cover your cough or sneeze with your sleeve or a tissue, not your hands.

Please stay safe.


[Thursday, March 12]

CHT continues to monitor the COVID-19 virus. We are regularly updating our procedures and protocols to insure our residents and staff are safe. Staff are being advised to monitor their own health and to take extra precautions. 

In our efforts to maintain a healthy environment for staff and residents, we ask that if you are feeling ill to please stay home and not come into our offices in Burlington, St. Albans, or at our properties. If you need to meet or speak to a staff person, please call and speak to that person over the phone.  

If you are a renter, there are options to pay your rent online through the resident portal, mail in your rent or drop it into one of our drop boxes.  

When you have a request for maintenance please let us know if you are ill and have any of the following symptoms so that our technicians can be prepared: fever, cough, or shortness of breath.  

We may get to the point where we are only responding to emergencies, such as no heat, no hot water, fire or leaking water.  If this happens, we will communicate that decision.  

And you may be tired of hearing it by now, but the emphasis on hand washing comes from the fact that the virus breaks down well in soap and water. Scrubbing for twenty seconds and keeping your hands away from your face as much as you can are important steps in stopping the spread of the virus.

Up to date information on the situation in Vermont can be found at the Vermont Department of Health's website.



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