It all starts with a home… and a community
When local community members think of Addison County Community Trust (ACCT), what do they think of? Many may not be very familiar with what we do, and even those who know us most associate our organization with the word “housing” and not with the broader ways in which we impact the community.
At our nonprofit’s creation in 1989, our main mission was to provide affordable housing in our community. We fought against housing costs that were rising faster than wages, an issue we continue to combat to this day. We initially focused on making single-family homes financially accessible and conserving land throughout Addison County.
Over 30 years later, we have identified more goals and developed new resources and services for our community. We manage over 750 permanently affordable homes from multi-family apartments to manufactured housing communities to shared equity houses–and we are continually building more homes to meet the growing need.
We’re More Than Just Housing
Housing is a platform for health and wellbeing. A safe, decent, affordable home provides the solid foundation individuals and families need to thrive.
Our Support and Services at Home (SASH) program supports healthy aging by providing an on-site Wellness Nurse and a Coordinator. Open to residents of both ACCT housing and the surrounding area, seniors can attend Bone Builders workshops, blood pressure clinics, fraud education sessions, and more.
The Family Support Program launched in 2021 as a way to provide resources for those with a history of homelessness, housing instability, struggles with mental health or substance use, retaining employment, and/or maintaining household income. This isn’t just about helping people with affordable and permanent housing but working to increase residents’ health and wellbeing.
Our organization is built of advocates. We work on a State and Federal level to stand up for affordable housing in Addison County. On a regular basis, we apply for grants to fund environmentally friendly living, repairs of failing infrastructure, clean water projects, and more.
We award down-payment grants to low- and moderate-income homebuyers through our Shared Equity Program. In return for the grant, the new owner signs a Housing Subsidy Covenant on the property, agreeing to sell the home to a new moderate-income buyer at a restricted price. Therefore, the cycle of providing affordable housing continues.
Another initiative we focus on is creating events and cultivating resources for our community. This includes community gardens, spaces and forums for residents to socialize and build connections, and partnerships with other organizations providing services from transportation to summer camps and community meals.
We are on a mission to continue to develop programs that go beyond affordable housing, which is why we wanted to find a way to better convey what we do for Addison County.
Discovering Our Identity
Last year, we embarked on a journey to find a way to better represent our organization’s mission, values, and services through our name and logo. We’re committed to advocating for quality affordable homes as a human right, but that isn’t represented in our name.
During the rebrand process, we worked with a local firm to gather input and feedback from our residents and the greater Addison County community. We conducted extensive community surveys, held town hall meetings with residents, and hosted multiple stakeholder workshops to identify key themes, considering our past and our future. What we found is that our neighbors, the ones we serve directly, were unclear how our name and logo represented our mission and services.
After many brainstorm sessions, workshops, and new iterations, we finalized a name that encapsulates who we are, what we do, and the message we are trying to share.
We are excited to announce our new name: Addison Housing Works.
Let’s break down the new name, word by word.
Addison — We serve members of the Addison County community.
Housing — Cost and availability are the largest housing obstacles in Addison County, and we work to change that.
Works — Over 3 decades in the affordable housing industry has shown us that affordable housing works. When a community invests in affordable housing, it has a ripple effect.
Once people’s basic housing needs are met, they can be contributing members of the community that help build the economy. People can join the workforce, spend their income at local businesses, and participate in community-wide events. That’s the power of affordable housing.
“I first started working with this organization in 2006, and have seen it grow and evolve over nearly two decades,” said Elise Shanbacker, executive director. “I’m so excited to be a part of its next chapter as Addison Housing Works, and believe that our new profile will better represent the vital work we have been doing in the community for nearly 35 years, attracting even more resources and support to ensure that everyone in Addison County has access to a safe, sustainable, affordable home where they can thrive.”
We are a fundamental organization that contributes to the health of Addison County. We want neighbors to trust that we are a resource to help them make their community stronger, and we know they are contributors who will work with us along the way.
There’s no question that home sale prices are out of reach for many Vermonters. With our new name and identity, we hope to reinvigorate our mission to bring affordable homes to more Vermonters in Addison County. For current and new donors, we hope you see this as an opportunity to support our work and give strength to low- and middle- income neighbors.
The Future of Addison Housing Works
As we look ahead to the rest of 2023 and beyond, we are inspired and motivated to tackle a variety of housing challenges in our community. We hope that our new name and brand identity encourage more stakeholder buy-in, expand our educational outreach, inspire community members to be housing champions, and increase funding for future projects. Our community is essential to the strength of our organization, and Addison Housing Works will allow us to better serve our neighbors.
Addison Housing Works (formerly ACCT) offers our sincere condolences to everyone affected by the tragedy that occurred at McKnight Lane last Friday. We are devastated at the terrible loss being experienced by our community. The safety of our properties is of utmost importance to us and we will continuously work within our power to ensure our properties are as safe as possible.
The Vermont State Police is conducting its investigation into this matter. We have and will continue to cooperate and work with the police. To the extent that residents have concerns related to or information about the police investigation, please direct questions and concerns to the Vermont State Police.
We are grateful for the outpouring of support from the community during this difficult time. Your strength and compassion are a source of inspiration that will light our way forward as we continue to seek to provide safe, decent, affordable housing for our neighbors across Addison County.
Addison Housing Works staff members share news and information about upcoming events.