Winooski’s New Housing Commission Aims to Find out Where the Gaps Are in Affordable Housing

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The first meeting of Winooski’s Housing Commission was held Thursday night.

Heather Carrington, the Community and Economic Development Officer, says the group was formed due a a rise in housing development.

“We want to be sure that we’re targeting specific goals in terms of affordable housing,” said Carrington.

Carrington also is the staff liaison for the group.

“Traditionally we’ve been a place where people can move to start a family, where they can move to retire, there are options for affordable housing. Now we have a new refugee population; we want those families to be able to start their lives over again in Winooski as well,” said Carrington.

Those sitting on the commission include a housing case manager from Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, the superintendent of Winooski schools, and more.

What the group is looking at first, is the Winooski Housing Needs Assessment; it was created by the University of Vermont Master Program on Public Administration.

The assessment lists 11 recommendations.

“Those range from starting a housing commission, which we have obviously taken that recommendation, to expanding our inclusionary zoning, looking at the successes of other mill towns, creating a map and monitoring parcels, and also monitoring for any indicators of gentrification in the city,” said Carrington.

If you live in Winooski or are thinking about living in Winooski, the housing commission wants to hear from you.

“What we’re looking at in terms of how much affordable housing do we want to have, what are the gaps in affordable housing…how many bedrooms… where are the ones no one can seem to find? Are you looking for a three bedroom? Are you looking for a one bedroom? Are you looking to be a homeowner? Are you looking to be a renter? That’s really, what, would like to see the future of the city be?” said Carrington.

The commission will meet the first Monday of every month from 6-8 pm at City Hall. The next meeting is September 25th.

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