The Champlain Housing Trust announced today that it purchased the Ho Hum Motel on Williston Road in South Burlington to serve as an isolation and quarantine motel to help address and prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Vermont. The purchase and some minor renovations was made possible by a grant from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board using federal CARES Act funding appropriated by the State Legislature.
“As we see what appears to be a second wave of the coronavirus, it is critical that anyone who has symptoms, or who has traveled out of state, or tested positive have a safe place to live either under quarantine or isolated from friends and family,” explained Michael Monte, chief operating officer of the Champlain Housing Trust. “If you are experiencing homelessness, or live in a congregate setting, isolating or quarantining is simply impossible without a property like this one – especially as we get into the colder months.”
The housing trust began leasing the property at the beginning of October pending the purchase for $1.5 million this week. Prior to October, the organization’s motel Harbor Place in Shelburne had served the same purpose on an interim basis between March and September, serving roughly 100 individuals over that period.
When renovations are complete, the new facility will have the capacity to provide up to 34 rooms at a time. It’s now serving up to 16. The operating cost and meals for guests are covered by the State’s Agency of Human Services. The housing trust has staffing around the clock and every day of the week.
This is the third property acquired by the Champlain Housing Trust in response to the pandemic in the past six weeks. In Colchester, a new, expanded shelter for Steps to End Domestic Violence will have the capacity to serve 21 families and individuals, and the Baymont Inns & Suites in Essex Junction is being converted to 68 permanent apartments for people moving out of homelessness. People just started moving their apartments at this property, renamed Susan’s Place after a long time staffer Susan Ainsworth-Daniels who passed away earlier this year.