White River Valley received a three-year, $300,000 grant to develop a regional identity and model a new way of working together by collaborating on housing solutions for entry-level workers and beginning entrepreneurs. The team seeks to promote the region as a place where opportunity and a sense of belonging are available for people of all incomes, races, ages, and backgrounds, and all community members can live their best lives and succeed in a 21st-century economy.
The White River Valley is a broad area and one of the most rural regions in the state of Vermont. It consists of small communities with little collective identity but many shared services and amenities and a strong desire to work together. Many towns struggle with aging housing stock, high seasonal vacancy, minimal infrastructure, and regulatory or affordability obstacles to rentals or home-sharing. The region’s hospital system and its two postsecondary educational institutions are assets but put additional demand on the limited housing stock. The White River Valley also has a robust agricultural economy and strong support systems for outdoor recreation. Both provide significant quality-of-life benefits, but they require that any new housing is created at appropriate locations and scale and complements the protection and support of the region’s working lands and natural resources. Creating affordable and appropriate housing solutions requires considerable time and effort for relationship-building and navigating the regulatory and economic landscape. But each town has limited staff capacity to devote to it.
- Learn from projects happening elsewhere, and from the experiences and creativity of our own residents, to better understand the ways in which rural communities can make significant improvements to housing
- Work closely with those on-the-ground in each of our towns to identify and implement the housing solutions that best meet the specific needs -- and strengths -- of each community
- Create a sense of shared identity, purpose, and mutual aid
- Establish a new model for rural, issue-based organizing based on partnerships between public sector, private sector, and grassroots organizers, especially those most affected by the issue
The vision of the WRVC is to create a White River Valley where opportunity and a sense of belonging are available for people of all incomes, races, ages, and backgrounds. The WRVC will build a culture of connection, inclusion, and collaboration by working on the shared goal of increasing housing that is affordable and accessible for entry-level workers and new entrepreneurs.
- Town of Randolph
- Capstone Community Action
- Clara Martin Center
- Randolph Area Community Development Corporation
- Bar Harbor Bank & Trust
- Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation
- Vital Communities
- Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission
- The 4-Town Coalition