BURLINGTON – With Vermont’s rental vacancy rate continuing to shrink, and economic development costs steadily rising, many Vermonters are having trouble securing affordable housing, especially in the Champlain Valley where rents can be more than double what is charged in the rest of state. But Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) may have found a temporary solution.
CHT has partnered with the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition (VAHC) to create and maintain dozens of new homes created out of ice and snow, and will be renting them out to Vermonters at below market rates. Some of these snow buildings will go for as little as $50/month and will come equipped with features such as walls, a roof, and an opening to crawl through.
There is some concern that these homes will melt into nothingness at some point in the near future, but proponents of the plan are quick to point out that many homes currently occupied in the Burlington area are equally likely to fall apart, also do not have running water or heat, and have rents much higher than these igloos. And with winter set to hang around through what at this point looks like early to mid-August, CHT isn’t worried about needing to re-house anyone in the short term.
“It’s pretty cold,” said one new igloo resident, “but at least it ain’t windy. And when something breaks, it’s pretty easy to fix, as long as there’s still snow on the ground. Is it my first choice? Naw, but I have a very low income, so I’m used to well-meaning rich people making life decisions for me. By the time my house melts, I’m sure they’ll’ve thought up some other plan for where to put me. Course what would really help is if they gave me some of their money. Maybe you tell ’em that if you see ’em.”
There are currently no plans being considered that would give money to individuals with low incomes.