Our zip code –the places where we live –shouldn’t determine the trajectory of our lives. The idea of justice for all means that people should have an equal opportunity to make the most of their potential, no matter where they live or come from. This belief is what drives Downstreet Housing & Community Development (Downstreet), Central Vermont’s leading mission-based housing services provider.
Serving the citizens and communities of Lamoille, Orange, and Washington Counties, Downstreet seeks to bolster an environment of social justice for all and as a result, strengthen the health and future of our local communities. Downstreet achieves this through the power of housing and its ability to connect people to the resources they need to thrive.
“Housing is not just about four walls and a roof; it’s also about health care, education, mental health, and physical well-being, nutrition, transportation, employment, and the list continues. Housing is the bedrock to which all thriving ecosystems rely on” says Eileen Peltier, Downstreet’s Executive Director. “Unfortunately, far too many of our fellow Vermonters are struggling with their housing situations today, and even if you’re not one of them, this still affects you as our local economies feel the effects.”
Downstreet offers an array of services to address today’s housing realities. Most visibly, Downstreet is a housing developer, procuring funding to build new and renovate existing multi-family homes to serve low-to-middle-income earning families and individuals. Downstreet then manages and maintains these rental properties at an affordable rate. Today, over 800 Vermonters, including 250 children, call a Downstreet apartment home.
On a homeownership front, Downstreet provides education and financial guidance to prospective homebuyers and offers low-interest loans to homeowners for critical home repairs. Downstreet also manages the Support & Services at Home (SASH) program for all of Central Vermont, providing individualized, on-site support to 650 seniors and young disabled adults to improve their quality of life while living independently in their home. In total, Downstreet’s mission directly influences the lives of over 2,300 Vermonters annually.
“While the reach and impact of our services are extensive, we are not blind to the fact that housing gaps are as prevalent as ever today,” said Mike Rama, Downstreet’s Director of Advancement. “This is why we’ve formed our Capacity Fund, a philanthropy-backed fund that helps us invent and trial new programs and approaches that could help close the housing gaps in our region and across Vermont. Affordable tiny homes; recovery housing from substance use disorder; a family-oriented service and resource program; childcare centers; a housing renovation program – all of these are current pilot projects, ideas, and initiatives we’re headlining today with the future of Central Vermont peoples and communities in mind.”Throughout October, Hunger Mountain Co-op shoppers can get involved by rounding up their purchase to the next dollar every time they check out, donating that spare change to Downstreet and their invaluable work. Visit www.downstreet.org to learn more about Downstreet and text the word Downstreet to 33777 to sign up for their informative, monthly newsletter.