The Bove brothers have announced that tenants at their 300 Main Street apartment complex in Winooski will no longer be evicted from their homes due to planned renovations.
The Boves sent notices to tenants in early February saying they had 150 days to find a new home, causing outrage from housing and refugee organizations and government officials. The main concern: where to find affordable housing for 24 families in Chittenden County's extremely tight housing market.
Now, instead of being evicted, tenants will be allowed to stay during renovations through a new plan designed by the Boves and rent will not rise to market rate, they said in a news release Thursday night.
Here's some background:'He's forcing a displacement': A scramble to find homes for 24 Winooski families
The two currently vacant apartments at the complex will be renovated first, then two families will move into these apartments while workers move on to the apartments the families just vacated. This process will continue until all 24 two-bedroom units are done.
The Boves said in the release that they will still do the full renovation, and that they are capping rent at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's fair market rate which will allow Section 8 vouchers to still be used. The renovations will include new windows, new doors, new flooring, new bathrooms, new heating systems and a new parking lot. The Boves say this will "position the apartments to be offered at full market rate."
The renovations come after a Seven Days and Vermont Public Radio investigation in November into several of the Boves' properties, including the apartments at 300 Main Street, which revealed negligence and health and safety violations.
"Our primary focus was to immediately get these buildings not just up to code but to be apartments Vermonters would be proud of," Rick Bove said in the release. "Our intention was never for the renovation project to be a hardship on the current residents, so we have course corrected in hopes that it will mitigate the impact on our current residents and will still provide them with upgraded living spaces upon completion."
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Contact Urban Change Reporter Lilly St. Angelo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @lilly_st_ang