Burlington motel to become homeless shelter

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 5:38 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - There will be a new option for homeless living in the Burlington area now that plans are underway to convert an old motel into a shelter.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger Monday announced that ANEW Place has officially closed on the purchase of the Champlain Inn and will transform it into a year-round homeless shelter starting Dec. 1. City leaders say the inn will fill the void left by the March closing of the low-barrier shelter on South Winooski Avenue due to poor ventilation and not enough space to physically distance. They hope the inn will eradicate homelessness in the Queen City.

“We agree, I agree, that Vermont should aspire and work toward being a place that does not have a chronic homelessness issue. And we have made, by some measures, some progress toward that. And yet, chronic homelessness does exist here in Vermont. It does exist here in Chittenden County and here in Burlington. And today’s event is a big step toward recognizing that and facing our challenges head-on,” Weinberger said.

To pay for it, ANEW Place used $2.5 million of coronavirus relief funds granted by the Vermont Housing Conservation Board. “It’s really important to remember that all of our good intentions isn’t what gets things done,” said Burlington City Councilor Joan Shannon, D-South. “It’s people willing to set up with creative solutions and find the money to do it.”

The 33-unit inn can house up to 50 people. Each room will provide guests with a private or semi-private sleeping area. The property also includes a 2,800-square-foot house that will provide space for on-site services.

City leaders and ANEW Place say the facility has enough space for physical distancing, appropriate ventilation, and allows for the isolation of symptomatic guests. “And I think it’s also great that there’s a COVID recovery site up on Williston Road at the Ho Hum Motel. If somebody’s COVID-positive, we already have a process in place for people to go there,” said Kevin Pounds, ANEW’s executive director

ANEW Place will also provide guests with onsite services, connecting them with case managers and offering assistance finding permanent housing.

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