It has been well documented that people are healthier when they have an affordable home. Having a home also allows people to access other types of services that can improve their health – services that are simply impossible to dependably access when living on the streets, in a tent, or even when couch surfing.
Connecting health and housing has broader benefits, too – reduced use of emergency departments or hospital beds means fewer health care expenses for all taxpayers. On this page, we’ve compiled a few of the initiatives we are involved with that make the connection between health systems and housing. We are thankful to our partners that help us carry out this work.
Bel Aire Apartments
With resources provided by the University of Vermont Medical Center, CHT purchased the Bel Aire Motel in Burlington and is converting it into eight apartments for people who have accessed medical care at the hospital but no longer need to stay in a hospital setting – yet do not have a safe place to go home or have no home at all. Read more…
1. What impact will this have on the neighborhood?
We believe it will have little to no impact on the surrounding neighbors. The current motel has guests coming and going frequently. There should be less vehicle traffic overall at the property. There likely will be an occasional ambulance service to the apartments.
2. What will the renovation look like?
The existing foot print will not change, and there will be no additional buildings constructed. The vast majority of the renovation is interior. There will be some accessibility upgrades and kitchens added. The motel will be converted into eight apartments for twelve residents: six one-bedroom or efficiencies, one two-bedroom, and one four-bedroom.
3. Who will live there?
The twelve residents will be members of our community who may have been experiencing homelessness and who have medical vulnerabilities which could be exacerbated by not having a safe home or apartment. Some of the residents require medical respite care – meaning they no longer need to stay at the hospital, but are too frail to recover from their illness living on the streets, in a makeshift lodging, or in a tent. These apartments will help stabilize the tenants at a critical time to avoid further illness or medical complications.
4. Will there be services onsite?
The Community Health Centers of Burlington’s Homeless Healthcare Program will have an onsite, full- time social worker to provide case management services to the residents. Additional services from organizations such as the VNA or Meals on Wheels will serve the residents of the apartments.
Beacon Apartments in South Burlington used to be the Ho Hum Motel. We converted the property to 19 apartments and employed the “Housing First” model of addressing homelessness. Services provided by the Community Health Centers of Burlington are available to residents onsite, with housing vouchers provided by the Burlington Housing Authority Read about the creation of Beacon Apartments.
Support and Services at Home (SASH)
CHT manages two SASH panels, one in the Old North End in Burlington, and one in Swanton and Grand Isle County. SASH coordinates the resources of social service agencies, community health providers and nonprofit housing organizations to support Vermonters who choose to live independently at home. Individualized, on-site support is provided by a Wellness Nurse and a trained SASH Care Coordinator.