Burlington, Vt – The city of Burlington intends to open a winter warming shelter at the former VFW location on South Winooski Ave from December until mid-March.

The shelter will accommodate up to 30 guests with the possibility for overflow capacity.

Michael Monte, CEO of the Champlain Housing Trust, says that they’ve been in talks with the VFW to acquire the building in April and build apartments to be ready by summer 2025.

Monte says this is just one small initiative to aid the city’s ever-growing housing crisis.

“We’ve got 64 apartments under construction now at the fort, we have construction ready to go just needing some last pieces of financing in Shelburne…looking in Hinesburg, looking in Winooski, we’ve got a lot of development opportunities underway.”

The project is projected to cost $22 million, producing 38 apartments with preferences for those experiencing homelessness, as well as veterans.

Monte also says they’re working with the Vermont Justice Center and VFW to provide new spaces for both organizations, located on the buildings ground floor.

The seasonal overnight shelter will operate from 5pm until 8am, seven days a week. They also plan to have two support staff and one security guard on during hours of operation, and will ensure trauma-informed and harm-reduction models are implemented in shelter operations and policies.