Jennifer Lane

In 2007, the Town of Manchester discussed the need for affordable housing in its Town Plan, acknowledging the pressure exerted on Manchester’s housing market by the town’s attractiveness to retirees, second-homebuyers, and families relocating from urban areas. They were concerned that many residents wondered whether their children would be able to stay and raise families in their hometown. The Town set goals to address the issue, including one to create opportunities for affordable housing and another to work cooperatively with non-profit organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, to help ensure the availability of affordable housing.

In early 2008, Manchester’s Town Planner Lee Krohn brought the Jennifer Lane property to our attention again. This time, we were able to act on the idea, and in September 2009, The Town of Manchester approved our development plan. By March 2011, Bennington County Habitat owned 11 acres at Jennifer Lane, enough land to build 22 affordable houses.

On May 6, 2012, the first partner’s family moved home to Jennifer Lane.  As of 2022, eleven (11) families have moved into highly energy efficient, soundly-built, decent, affordable houses in the Jennifer Lane neighborhood as partners through our homeownership program.

All the homes come with deed restrictions that make them permanently affordable for future homebuyers.  The deed restrictions are made possible by funds granted by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board for each house in the development.

Infrastructure work at Jennifer Lane was made possible through a generous contribution from the James and Irene Hunter Foundation.  Without that gift, Bennington County Habitat would not have been able to take on a project of this magnitude.

A private developer, Vermont Traditional Builders, built and sold one house on one of the Jennifer Lane lots.  Prior to selling the house, Vermont Traditional Builders purchased the lot from Bennington County Habitat. We hope to form similar partnerships with other private developers.

The Town of Manchester’s idea for affordable housing has been made possible, in part, by Bennington County Habitat for Humanity’s homeownership program.  More than a decade after Town Manager Webster first mentioned there was land available on Jennifer Lane, eleven (11) families have partnered with Bennington County Habitat and numerous supporters of affordable homeownership to buy truly affordable homes in Manchester Center. 

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