A Home with a Lake View

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Late in 2019, Rose and Michael Jerome toured a Champlain Housing Trust apartment on King Street in Burlington. After years spent bouncing from one place to another, they walked into the vacant 4th floor apartment at 88 King Street ready to find a home they could stay in for the long term.

After the walkthrough they knew this was the place. When asked how she would describe the apartment to someone, Rose has a quick response.

“We have a lake view! In both rooms, we have a lake view. I think that’s actually the reason I fell in love with it,” she says, while sitting on the couch in their living room. It’s a space full of natural light from the large window next to them. Even on a cloudy day like this one, there’s plenty of sunlight for their cat Oliver to enjoy as he relaxes on a nearby sofa.

Rose and Michael have both spent most of their lives in Burlington. It’s home for them. Michael was born here, and Rose arrived at that age of 5 from her birth country of Romania. They’ve been together since meeting as students at Burlington High School.

Unfortunately finding affordable housing was a challenge from the start for the couple. Since meeting they’ve lived in four different apartments and spent time living with family. The excessive cost of rent, lack of quality apartments, and landlords that weren’t always responsive were all factors that forced the couple to move often.

They did enjoy a year living in an apartment they loved in Champlain Housing Trust’s Harrington Village in Shelburne, but eventually moved out seeking better opportunities across the lake in Keeseville, New York. But they met the same rental challenges in New York and soon wanted to come home.

“Normally we didn’t stay at a place more than a year. It felt like every year we’d go from one place to another place and another after that,” explains Rose.

By 2019 they’d had enough. They were tired of all the moving and wanted to find a place where they could really settle in. While living with Rose’s parents, the couple put in a new application for an apartment with Champlain Housing Trust. That’s how they ended up touring that vacant apartment which has become their home.

“The King Street community is wonderful. There are really nice people here,” says Rose “Everyone tries to get along. That’s what I really like about it. It’s not like that everywhere.”

“I love all the flowers out front. We have irises coming up. The community is great,” adds Michael. 

Another positive has been the relationship they’ve built with Champlain Housing Trust staff. Their apartment is upstairs from CHT headquarters so they’re able to easily interact with their property manager and front desk staff. Oliver quickly made friends with the IT department located down the hall. 

“The thing I like most about CHT is that they treat you with respect,” says Rose.

Now, four years later, it’s the longest they’ve ever stayed in the same place, and they have no plans to leave anytime soon.

“Champlain Housing Trust changed our lives…We intend on living here a long time,” says Michael. Rose adds, “a long, long, long time!”