Letter to Our Neighbors

Hartford Ave Looking E cropped

January 31, 2022

Dear Neighbor,

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church has partnered with the Upper Valley Haven and Twin Pines Housing to address the need for affordable housing and services for the homeless, and to ensure sustainability for the finances of the church. Under current plans, St. Paul’s will sell a portion of its land on Hartford Avenue to Twin Pines and the Haven to develop a pair of buildings.

We offer this letter with information about the project and an invitation to be a part of the community conversation.

Twin Pines will develop 18 one-bedroom apartments for adults who have experienced homelessness on the current site of the St. Paul’s Rectory. Residents of the new Twin Pines building will have access to enhanced case management services provided by The Haven. These services can include linking residents to primary care and mental health services, as well as other services currently provided by the Haven on its campus next door to St. Paul’s. The goal of those services is to help residents of the new housing remain healthy, housed and integrated into the community. This model is the same one used successfully by Twin Pines and the Haven in their Parkhurst project that opened in Lebanon
three years ago (outlined below).

As noted, Twin Pines will be removing the Rectory at the rear of the property, which was constructed in the 1920’s. Due to funding that Twin Pines is using for the project, we have been working with the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation to assess the building. The Historic Preservation staff has determined that it is not a historically significant building, due to the degree of alterations that have taken place over the years.

The Haven plans to build a two-story building on another part of the current St. Paul’s campus to meet several needs. There will be a resource center and day station with office space for Haven staff, as well as meeting space, on the first floor. A low-barrier shelter with approximately 20 cots will be on the second floor. The shelter will replace the 15-bed low-barrier shelter that the Haven previously operated in the Byrne Community Building on its campus from 2015 to 2020, when the Covid pandemic caused the Haven to close the program. The first-floor space will allow the Haven to relocate some of its existing services from the Byrne Community Building.

A Successful Model: The Parkhurst Building

The proposed permanent housing plans are based on Twin Pines’ Parkhurst Community Housing property. In 2017-2018, Twin Pines developed Parkhurst in Lebanon, which has 18 one-bedroom apartments for homeless adults. Twin Pines partnered with the Haven to have its staff provide case management services to help residents access necessary services to remain housed. Opened in August 2018, the project has been a tremendous success. Some tenants have moved on to other housing in Twin Pines’ portfolio, creating new opportunities for people needing housing. Fifteen of the 18 tenants continue to work with the Haven service coordinator. It has been a model of stability with only one tenant evicted since its opening, a credit to the case management staff of the Haven.

Neighborhood Conversations

On December 15, 2021 neighbors were invited to St. Paul’s Church to learn more about the project and share feedback with St. Paul’s, the Haven, and Twin Pines Housing. Comments and suggestions from neighbors were incorporated into the project as a result.

  • Since the December 15th meeting, the development team from Twin Pines and the Haven have been working on project plans that will be submitted in the coming months:
  • Traffic flow: Vehicles will continue to enter and exit from Hartford Avenue. There will be a fire lane exit to Goudreau Street for emergency vehicle use only.
  • Pedestrian access: Pathways and landscape design on the property will encourage people to enter and exit the site via Hartford Avenue, discouraging access along Goudreau and Demers.
  • Landscaping has been added at the north and south ends of the site to provide a natural barrier for noise, pedestrian activity, and visual site-lines.
  • The dumpster for trash will be in an enclosure at the southern end of the campus to reduce noise and impact on neighbors on Goudreau and Demers.
  • Twin Pines and the Haven buildings will include security cameras to enhance security on the campus. Twin Pines has been including cameras at its properties for a number of years.
  • The lighting plan calls for a well-lit campus to promote safety. Down-cast lights will fit within local permitting requirements while also minimizing levels of “light pollution” off-site.

As we continue project planning, we encourage open communication and direct feedback. There will be additional opportunities for community input in the meetings detailed below, and we welcome any interested individuals to contact our team.

Upcoming Public Meetings

The two buildings will require a series of approvals. Twin Pines Housing and the Haven will make presentations to the Hartford Planning Commission on February 14, 2022; March 21, 2022 and April 18, 2022. These meetings are open to the public and there are opportunities for public comment. In addition, the Haven will be hosting another neighborhood meeting at a date in the future to which the Hartford Police Department will be invited to speak on the issue of neighborhood safety.

Please contact us to discuss the project: info@uppervalleyhaven.org; 802-295-6500 (The Haven’s main line).

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