Vehicle to Equity
This fall, the opening of Taylor Street Apartments made available three stories of residency in a beautiful new building positioned next to the river on Montpelier's bike path with public transportation located on the ground floor; the City of Montpelier’s Transit Center occupies the first story of the building, right where the people who need it most can easily access it. Here in Vermont, where transportation can be challenging due to the rural nature of our state, a focus on locating housing near transportation is particularly important, especially for lower-income residents.
It is well known that housing is the largest monthly expense for most households, but transportation is a close second. Especially in Vermont, where public transportation is limited, many struggle to access to jobs, services, goods, and public spaces. Assuming one has the means to acquire their own vehicle, the cost of owning a car ranges from $6,000 to $12,000 a year, a prohibitively costly amount for those in low-income households. In fact, 18% of household earning less than $35k do not own a car. And, housing that is centrally located for ease of access to town amenities and transportation systems is often among the most expensive, putting it out of reach for many.
According to research conducted by HUD, there are ways to improve the situation. Connecting municipal leaders, community stakeholders, and affordable housing organizations is a crucial step in ensuring that public transportation and housing can work together to provide access to those who need it most. Developing affordable housing close to transportation access points is another important consideration, as those who reside in affordable housing are more likely to use public transportation systems. Both of these approaches were used in the planning and development of Taylor Street Apartments, the result of which will be 30 units of affordable and market rate apartments.
A systems approach to addressing housing inequity, combined with a healthy dose of collaboration and determination results in projects that do more than simply provide shelter at reasonable prices. When we consider all of the factors that contribute to the challenges we face and find ways to improve as many of the complicated issues that exist, we create opportunities for ourselves, our neighbors, and our region as a whole.
Click here for more information about Taylor Street Apartments and our other housing projects.