Helping Others Helps Me

Resident Board member finds passion for community involvement

Owen Owes Sylvie!
Owen Owes Sylvie!
Owen Owes Sylvie!
Owen Owes Sylvie!
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When Antoinette Bennett-Jones was a new mother with her daughter, she found herself suddenly homeless and the value of affordable housing came clearly into focus. That was thirteen years ago.

Having an affordable apartment and support felt even more critical when her son was born prematurely and spent 97 days in the NICU, and a year and a half in and out of the hospital, with several procedures including open heart surgery. 

“Thanks to affordable housing, I could focus on the needs of my family and not stress about becoming homeless,” she told a legislative committee in February 2021.

A resident of Avenue Apartments in Burlington’s New North End, Antoinette’s community involvement has grown over the past few years — assisting neighbors with job searches, delivering food, helping those with transportation challenges, and finding donations for those in need. She works for ReSource as a workforce development assistant.

When a lawmaker remarked on how much she appreciated hearing about Antoinette’s service, she replied, “My helping others helps me.”

Public speaking doesn’t come easy to her, but Antoinette felt moved to lend her voice however she could. When CHT received a $3 million grant from the New England Federal Credit Union to support homeownership opportunity for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), she agreed to speak at the press conference on behalf of the CHT Board.

“Like many families, my family dreams of owning a home someday,” she said in front of several television cameras. “I am thrilled to know that these opportunities will be available to BIPOC families, and it’s my hope that the next generation – my kids – will thank us for giving them a better, more stable future.”

This year she also volunteered to serve on Champlain Housing Trust’s Board as one of five resident members. Along with Rachyl Phillips, another resident Board member, she’s participated in a new committee aimed at collecting feedback and guidance from CHT’s renters. The committee will be formalized this year if the membership votes to amend the organization’s bylaws.