Champlain Housing Trust's Bright Street Rental Cooperative
“CHT is such a source of comfort. I know with their help that it is possible to achieve my goal of owning my own place eventually. They give me help and hope.” – Bree LeMay
Bree LeMay is no stranger to the Champlain Housing Trust. Having lived in a CHT apartment for the past seven years, she and her 6-year-old son, Niah, are embarking on a new adventure as members of CHT’s newest housing cooperative on Bright Street in Burlington’s Old North End.
While their move isn’t a drastic change in location (their apartment is just a short walk away), it’s a step in a new direction that comes with more responsibility. Members of housing co-ops are their own landlords – they work together to keep their property and community running well. For Bree, it’s a chance for her to learn about what kind of responsibilities come with owning a house – a dream she hopes, in time, will become a reality.
"I see the co-op as a stepping stone, a middle ground between renting and owning. It’s a chance for me to learn about maintenance and upkeep and everything that goes into owning a house,” she explains.
The prospect of owning her own home is something Bree has been thinking about for a while. Three years ago she took CHT’s Homebuyer Education class, a day-long workshop that explains the ins and outs of owning a house. Unfortunately, despite working full time as she raises her son, Bree still finds herself having a hard time affording the rental housing costs in the area.
She hopes one day this will change. In the meantime, she considers herself lucky. Her new apartment feels “like owning my own place,” and is close to everything. With an open floor plan, she’s working on filling up the space with mid-century décor. Niah’s school is within walking distance, and as a self-proclaimed “foodie,” Bree loves that they have a variety of local, hip restaurants nearby.
“The Old North End has so much potential. It’s already changed so much, and it’s slowly getting rid of the stigma that it used to have. Developments like this one are huge for that.”