More than a dozen new housing units meant for previously homeless families are coming to Burlington. The Committee on Temporary Shelter, COTS, marked the start of the new project on Friday with a groundbreaking ceremony.

Named ‘Main Street Family Housing,’ the upcoming apartment building is located right across the street from Edmunds Elementary School. Executive Director of COTS Jonathan Farrell notes “families facing homelessness are often not seen.”

Back in 2018, the COTS property committee started looking at ways it can increase housing stock on property it already owns. Its Main St. property rose to the top of the list.

“It’s a dream long held, and despite these uncertain times, despite pandemics, despite supply chain issues, despite labor shortages, here we are,” Farrell says.

“So many stepped into that uncertainty with COTS to pursue that dream.”

Officials from COTS say services and continued access to their support programs will still be offered to families living at the new complex. COTS also chose this location for its easy access to Burlington’s public transportation.

Nancy Owens is the co-president of Evernorth, the co-developer on the project. She says this kind of housing is “sorely needed” in Burlington.

“Breaking ground on new housing for people who are without it is truly a day for celebration, and absolutely no one should be without a home that is safe, secure, and affordable,” Owens says.

$8.3 million of funding is being funneled into this project, including over $2 million from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and nearly a half million in HOME funds from the City of Burlington. Mayor Miro Weinberger says the city recommitted itself to urgent action is housing.

The Mayor has several goals, including “doubling housing production over the next five years, to ending homelessness in Burlington over the next three years.”

Mayor Weinberger added that Burlington can now contribute more money towards affordable housing, as it expanded its low-income housing trust fund. Construction on Main Street Family Housing is expected to take one year.