A Stable Home

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Photos courtesy of Glenn Russell

Before moving into her new apartment in Williston, Michelle Lucas had been without housing for more than four years. 

She bounced between motels rooms funded by the State or friends’ homes but couldn’t find stability – especially hard as she struggled with multiple health challenges ranging from malignant melanoma to fibromyalgia. She remained steadfast in her commitment to sobriety and has been in recovery for substance use disorder for 14 years. 

When she moved into Zephyr Place, a motel converted to housing, in December, 2022, she cried. “It was a little overwhelming,” she told a VTDigger reporter. “It felt nice to wake up and know where I’m at. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.”

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CHT created Zephyr Place out of a 99-suite motel and turned it into 72 apartments in two buildings with services on site for those who need them. Over half of the apartments have been dedicated to people like Michelle who had been unhoused. It was one of the first housing developments developed with the State’s allocation of the federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars, administered through the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board.

Newly elected Congresswoman Becca Balint made her first public appearance at the property in January and met privately with Michelle. Afterwards she pledged to make both affordable housing and resident services a priority for her work in Congress. “I will be completely focused on doing everything I can around this,” she said.

Read about Michelle’s story in VTDigger.