BURLINGTON — Since March, the Burlington homeless shelter ANEW Place has been on the move. When the pandemic forced residents and staff out of its downtown location, the shelter offered housing in RVs at North Beach, and then, three months later, moved guests to tents at the beach campground.
Now, ANEW Place may finally get a permanent home.
An emergency resolution passed by the City Council on Monday night will allow ANEW Place to buy and move into what is now the Champlain Inn near the rotary on Shelburne Road. The shelter is just waiting for final approval on funding from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board — which ANEW Place director Kevin Pounds says he is “really hopeful” will come through, now that the city council has signed off on the plan.
Just two months ago, hope was dwindling for Pounds and his staff. On Aug. 6, the city nixed a proposal for micro-housing units for ANEW Place guests, leaving the shelter scrambling to find a new solution as cold weather loomed.
In years past, the shelter opened its doors each November, and provided housing through the winter for up to 40 people without homes. But the congregate accommodations at its downtown location do not allow for social distancing.
“Our backs were against the wall, like — what are we going to do?” Pounds told VTDigger. “It did feel like a miracle for the opportunity at the Champlain Inn to pop up that quickly.”
A second piece of good news
ANEW Place was just the first social service agency providing shelter to a vulnerable population to receive good