News

Brenda Torpy to Step Down as CEO

Posted on Monday, July 20, 2020, by Chris Donnelly

The Champlain Housing Trust’s Board of Directors announced today that CEO Brenda Torpy will step down at the end of 2020 after leading the organization for nearly 30 years, and that current Chief Operating and Financial Officer Michael Monte will be hired as its next CEO beginning in January, 2021.

Torpy was a founding member of the organization over 35 years ago when she worked in the office of Mayor Bernie Sanders and its first Board President. In these roles she was trailblazer for a new type of affordable housing called a Community Land Trust, which grew locally and more recently, across the globe. CHT is the largest Community Land Trust in the world.

“When Brenda announced her decision to step down as CEO at the end of 2020, the Board of Directors of Champlain Housing Trust knew immediately what an important moment this was after her many years at the helm of CHT,” said Bob Robbins, President of the Board. “All of us recognize and our grateful for the tremendous contributions that she has made and continues to make to Vermont communities as an internationally recognized leader and advocate for affordable housing and social justice.”

When Torpy took over leadership of the organization in 1992, it had created almost 50 homes, mostly in Burlington. Today, CHT counts over 3,000 homes of all types throughout northwestern Vermont serving people experiencing homelessness, homes for people with special needs, affordable apartments for the working class, and a pioneering, shared equity homeownership program that removes financial hurdles for buyers while creating housing that is permanently affordable. 

It is this last program that helped earn CHT the United Nations World Habitat Award in 2008, and sparked the model’s spread internationally. 

“It’s been the honor of my life to build this organization as a leader in our communities and in the field of affordable housing. I’ve been fortunate to have an opportunity help to build the Community Land Trust movement across the US and in other countries – work that I look forward to continuing,” said Torpy. “I am thrilled that Michael will be here to continue advancing a lot of the work we’ve done together over more than three decades. Knowing how resilient the organization will continue to be under his leadership makes this transition easier.”

“Michael will help us build on Brenda’s visionary leadership and ensure a seamless change through uncertain times,” added Robbins. “His commitment to the mission of CHT, his long record of innovative achievement, his strong connections to our Vermont partners, and internal board and staff relationships, all convince us that he is the best leader to navigate this historic transition.”

“It’s an honor to be asked to lead the Champlain Housing Trust and build upon Brenda’s leadership,” said Monte. “It’s a challenge I look forward to tackling with the support and participation of the Board, our dedicated staff, our volunteers and this great community.”

The Champlain Housing Trust is a Community Land Trust that supports the people of northwest Vermont and strengthens their communities through the development and stewardship of permanently affordable homes and related community assets. Founded in 1984, it is the largest Community Land Trust in the country. Throughout Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties, CHT manages approximately 2,400 apartments, stewards 628 owner-occupied homes in its signature shared-equity program, offers homebuyer education and financial fitness counseling to more than 1,000 people annually, provides services to five housing cooperatives, and offers affordable energy efficiency and rehab loans.




Bright Street Housing Co-op wins National Award

Posted on Friday, February 10, 2017, by Chris Donnelly


The Bright Street Housing Cooperative has been selected for the 2017 Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Award from the National Community Development Association. Bright Street Housing Co-op is a new, 40 home development created by Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont in Burlington’s Old North End. The City of Burlington and its Community and Economic Development Office, which sponsored the award, will be recognized on February 17 at a ceremony in Washington, DC on behalf of the co-op. It was one of six other communities selected to receive the award.

“One of the primary focuses of this Administration has been on addressing Burlington’s affordable housing crisis,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “The City was pleased to support Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont in the creation of 40 much-needed units that will provide homes for families and individuals from a range of backgrounds and income levels. We are thrilled that the product of this partnership has been recognized by the national Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Award.”

The co-op received funding through the City’s Community Development Grant program, its HOME allocation and the Burlington Housing Trust Fund, as well state and national sources such as the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, tax credits allocated by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, and NeighborWorks America. The TD Charitable Foundation selected Bright Street as a winner in its annual Housing for Everyone competition.

Residents moved in this past fall, following a large community ribbon cutting celebration which coincided with a trip to Burlington from then-HUD Secretary Julian Castro, organized by Senator Patrick Leahy.


Home Sweet Housing Co-op

Posted on Friday, September 18, 2015, by

One of Burlington’s best-kept housing secrets is about to become better known!

On Saturday, October 3rd, leaders of housing cooperatives in Vermont and Montreal will explain how their co-ops work and why they love them. Co-ops have operated in Burlington for over 20 years and in Montreal for over 30, and new ones continue to form.

Housing co-ops offer self-determination, security, and a unique form of community. They may be apartments or mobile homes and may have 18 households or 100, but whatever their size and shape, they are democratically run by their members.

Bonus: Come learn about co-ops of all kinds! Tabling fair starts at 2pm in the lobby.

Home Sweet Housing Co-op: A Public Forum Saturday, October 3rd, 2015 

  • 2 – 3 pm    Cooperative business fair
  • 3 – 5 pm    Home Sweet Housing Co-op: A Public Forum

Contois Auditorium, Burlington City Hall, 149 Church Street


Housing For Everyone Award

Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2013, by Chris Donnelly

TD Everyone Award Announcement

The Champlain Housing Trust and TD Charitable Foundation announced today the investment of a $100,000 grant to a housing and community development effort in Burlington’s Old North End. The award is just one of 25 grants made from TD Charitable Foundation’s Housing for Everyone competition, and is the only one recognized in Vermont.

“We are very thankful for TD’s commitment to our work to rejuvenate this block in the Old North End,” said Brenda Torpy, CHT’s CEO. “In these days where there are fewer federal resources but increased demand for affordable housing, this award is a welcome and appreciated contribution to our development plans on Archibald and Bright Streets.”

The grant is funding CHT’s work with Housing Vermont to redevelop an urban brownfield with four existing structures in Burlington’s Old North End into the Bright Street Housing Cooperative – 42 newly constructed homes in a resident-controlled housing development. Developing new, affordable housing in Chittenden County is critical with a 1% vacancy rate and rents that have increased by nearly 50% since 2007.

“We are excited to support the transformation of a full block which needs more affordable housing and is in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Vermont,” said Phil Daniels, Vermont President of TD Bank. “The Champlain Housing Trust has a long and successful history contributing to the vibrancy of the Old North End, and we are happy to be able to support their next development there.”

The Housing for Everyone competition received 300 applications with 25 winners from Maine to Florida. This year’s theme was “Neighborhood Revitalization and Stabilization” with a focus on preservation, rehabilitation and expansion of viable affordable housing proprieties or utilization of abandoned properties for affordable housing. The Bright Street development covered all of these bases. Each application was evaluated on merits of the proposal, the organization’s viability and sustainability, the organization’s governance strength and structure, and history of organization’s involvement with affordable housing. The development’s many green features, including energy efficiency and garden space, scored extra points in its judging.

Four buildings will be constructed on the site; one large building with 35 apartments, and three other buildings with a total seven apartments scattered amongst them will form the streetscape. The larger building will be developed in the middle of the block. For a visual of the site plan, visit http://bit.ly/brightstreet. The plan envisions several eco-features, such as community garden space in raised beds, the possibility of solar panels on the roof stormwater collection for watering gardens and clotheslines.

“The redevelopment of this area of Bright Street is an ambitious project,” said Nancy Owens, President of Housing Vermont, a partner in the development. “The grant from the TD Charitable Foundation will enable us to create housing that will benefit the neighborhood for years to come.”

The development will be under construction in late summer of fall of 2014, beginning with the demolition of buildings along Bright Street. Occupancy in the new co-op is expected to be in late summer 2015.