MORRISVILLE — The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation has awarded Lamoille Housing Partnership (LHP) a Vermont Economic Justice Grant.
The grant will support the affordable housing nonprofit’s continued efforts to reduce housing barriers in Lamoille County and the Town of Hardwick.
“The Ben & Jerry’s Employee Grantmaking Committee was impressed by the vision and economic equity potential expressed in LHP’s proposal,” said Rebecca Golden, Director of Programs at the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation. “We are very happy to support this work.”
The competitive Vermont Economic Justice Grant is awarded annually to non-profit organizations in Vermont “working to address the economic, social and environmental impacts of poverty.”
Organizations are chosen by a committee of Ben & Jerry’s employees who prioritize “innovative programs that are working toward fundamental change in Vermont and that approach their work through the lens of social justice and equity.”
“The current housing crisis is caused in part by low vacancies and rising rents, making it even harder for low and moderate income individuals and families to get ahead,” explains LHP Executive Director, Jim Lovinsky. “Housing is at the crux of social justice and equity issues. Unfortunately, despite best efforts to lift people up and out of poverty, high housing costs can make a tough situation even tougher. If it were only as easy as ‘getting a job’ or ‘just working harder,’ the problem would surely be solved.”
The grant funded program builds on the outcomes of the affordable housing nonprofit’s 2019 Housing Summit series.
LHP’s program will coalesce housing, human service, and municipal professionals to share their expertise in areas of housing, supportive services and zoning laws in a series of Summits slated for 2020 and early 2021.
Community members and stakeholders will be invited to learn about and collaboratively address rising homelessness and eviction rates, supportive services for residents, recovery housing, and outdated zoning policies that inhibit inclusive community development in the region.
“It is incredibly exciting to have the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation sponsor this important initiative, which will support us as we continue to bring our neighbors and local organizations together to focus energy, expertise, and resources to bear on our region’s housing challenges,” says Lovinsky. “Housing is a shared community challenge, and we need community stakeholders to come together with us to solve the larger issue.”
LHP was awarded the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation grant following the organization’s recent completion of Jeudevine Housing Project, a $4 million collaborative rehabilitation project with Housing Vermont that significantly upgraded 26 affordable apartments in Hardwick.
Lamoille Housing Partnership develops, rehabilitates and maintains safe, decent affordable housing through rental, homeownership and other means to low and moderate income families and individuals living within Lamoille County and the Town of Hardwick.
LHP also provides such assistance without discriminate or prejudice using a combination of public and private funding partnerships.