VHCB Presents Awards at 2019 Housing & Conservation Conference

Outstanding Partnership Award L to R: VHCB Board Chair Neil Mickenberg, VHCB Executive Director Gus Seelig, Elizabeth Bridgewater, Executive Director of the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, Kate Lamphere, Director of  the Adult Services Division at Health Care & Rehabilitation Services, and Josh Davis, Executive Director of Groundworks Collaborative, were recognized for their outstanding partnership in creating a model of housing linked with permanent support services for individuals that have experienced homelessness at Great River Terrace in Brattleboro.

Following a conference hosted by the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board on October 10, awards were presented to the following individuals and organizations during a reception at Barre’s Old Labor Hall:

MOLLIE BEATTIE AWARDNancy Owens, President of Housing Vermont, received the Mollie Beattie Award for her leadership in creating affordable homes, bringing historic buildings back to life, and supporting downtowns and village centers in all corners of the state. Under Nancy’s leadership, Housing Vermont has attracted millions in public and private investments; listened to the needs and concerns of communities; and improved opportunities for residents. During her time as president, a number of innovative programs have been created, including Vermont Rural Ventures, HV Connections, and the Parsons Platform.

JOHN NUTTING COMMUNITY CATALYST AWARD – Tracy Zschau, Vice President for Conservation at the Vermont Land Trust (VLT), was presented with the Community Catalyst Award for her commitment in helping communities embrace conservation, particularly in building support in Newport for VLT ownership of the Bluffside Farm on Lake Memphremagog, incorporating community desires in the vision for the property, and working with local leaders to assemble funding for a bridge connecting downtown Newport with the farm and with a recreational corridor extending to the Canadian border. Tracy was also recognized for 22 years of project development work with VLT, focusing on the conservation of farms and forests of the Northeast Kingdom.

JOHN NUTTING COMMUNITY CATALYST AWARD – Mary Houghton earned the Community Catalyst Award over the course of her career, first as chief financial officer and co-director at the Burlington Community Land Trust (dba Champlain Housing Trust), and then at the Brattleboro Housing Authority, as finance director and deputy director. Additionally, Mary served as a director for both the Tri-Park Cooperative Housing Corporation and the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust. Her ethic of community service and her professional knowledge will benefit generations of low-income Vermonters.

The Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, Groundworks Collaborative, and Health Care & Rehabilitation Services were recognized for their outstanding partnership in developing Brattleboro’s first permanent supportive housing site, Great River Terrace. Using an evidenced-based approach to housing and services, Great River Terrace is targeted to individuals that have experienced chronic homelessness. The collaboration among the three organizations has become a statewide model for providing housing that is affordable, has a focus on self-determination and independence, and promotes respect and resident empowerment.

The Green Mountain Club, the Northwoods Stewardship Center, and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation were recognized for working together to create the Kingdom Heritage Trail—a new 20-mile trail network leading to the summits of Bluff Mountain, Middle Mountain, and Gore Mountain. The trail system allows access to these remote peaks while honoring the wildness of the areas, and realizes a vision conceived when the Kingdom Heritage Lands were conserved more than 20 years ago. Especially notable for their tireless contributions to this effort were Jean Haigh, past president of the Green Mountain Club, and Luke O’Brien, who worked for many years at the Northwoods Stewardship Center.