Jennifer Lane

In response to a changing housing market, Bennington County Habitat teamed up with local civic partners and investors to make the county’s first Habitat development.

Seizing Opportunity

In 2007, in its Town Plan, the Town of Manchester acknowledged the pressure on the local housing market exerted by an influx of retirees, second-homebuyers, and families relocating from urban areas. 

Spurred on by residents’ concerns that their children would be unable to raise families in their hometown, Manchester set a goal to create opportunities for affordable housing. The Town set another goal to cooperate with nonprofit organizations, including Bennington County Habitat for Humanity, to ensure the availability of that housing.

Taking the First Steps

Between early 2008 and early 2011, Manchester’s town planner brought the Jennifer Lane property to our attention, the Town of Manchester approved our development plan, and Bennington County Habitat acquired 11 acres, with enough land to build 22 affordable houses.

A generous contribution from the James and Irene Hunter Foundation funded the project’s infrastructure work, making this ambitious endeavor possible. 

Building Community

The first partner family moved home in May, 2012. In addition, Vermont Traditional Builders, a private developer, piloted a partnership that serves as an example for future opportunities. The developer built one of the houses, then purchased the lot from Bennington County Habitat and sold the home.

All Habitat homes in the Jennifer Lane neighborhood have deed restrictions that make them permanently affordable to future homebuyers, thanks to grants from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.

“Bennington County, like much of Vermont, is in desperate need of affordable housing. [Our] volunteers build some of the most energy efficient and affordable housing units in all of Vermont”

– Jim Hand

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