Montpelier, VT – Two months after flooding hit downtown Montpelier, we’ve learned that three dozen FEMA trailers are moving in to provide emergency temporary housing.
On Friday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency agency held a virtual event to show what the housing solution would look like.
The city says it’s in talks with FEMA to set up the trailers on the site of the old Montpelier Elks Country Club. Montpelier purchased the land on Town Meeting Day 2022. 36 mobile homes are expected to arrive around mid-December.
Right now, the lot is being used as a recreation area and a dog park. Some of those who need housing are already camping on the site. It will need development before the trailers can set up.
Montpelier City Manager Bill Fraser says the city’s long-term goal remains the same, and the addition of FEMA trailers provides a unique opportunity. Fraser says, “It’s the added benefit of bringing infrastructure, water, sewer, electricity, road into an area that we would have to do for future housing.” FEMA will cover the cost of the development.
The trailers will not be a permanent fixture at the site. People who move in can stay in the area until January, 2025 at the latest. Affected residents have the option to purchase the unit and move it to a different location. Fraser adds, “Our goal is not to have a long-term FEMA trailer set-up, but also bring in multi-family housing in that area. We’ve just begun discussions since the council gave the go-ahead last night to see if we can have a multi-family building under construction while the FEMA trailers are there so there is an option for people to move right in.” He expects that once in place, the trailers will be filled in short order.
Fraser says it gives Montpelier more time to envision what the rest of the area will look like in the years ahead. He says, “It may be that a developer or a project partner decides that a mix of different types of housing is most desirable and marketable, so we’re open to all those outcomes.”