Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Rutland Nonprofit Turns Community Buildings Into Senior Housing

With Vermont’s population aging, there’s a growing need for affordable senior housing. A nonprofit in Rutland is trying to address that by reusing existing community buildings.

Rutland’s historic Watkins School was built in 1897 and oozes charm with arched windows and a stately red brick façade.

Audio for this piece will be available by approximately 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 13

But the building had been vacant for years and local officials were talking about tearing it down.

That’s when the Housing Trust of Rutland County stepped in. Elizabeth Kulas, the nonprofit’s Executive Director, says her organization has renovated a number of historic structures like: downtown Rutland’s Tuttle Building, the Adams House in Fair Haven and the Stanislaus School and Convent in West Rutland.

She says they then turned those buildings into attractive and affordable housing.

“So these buildings are often the white elephants. They’re the buildings that are too expensive and too big to envision repurposing, and paying for it ... that’s our job,” she says.  “We try to preserve the historic fabric of our communities and create needed housing with it.”

She says the cost to renovate the Watkins School and construct a new carriage house next door was just more than $4 million.  

Credit Courtesy of the Housing Trust of Rutland County
The refurbished Watkins School now has 6 one-bedroom apartments, all of which are now occupied. A newly constructed carriage house next door provides 8 more one-bedroom apartments.

Kulas says they were able to complete the project thanks to funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as state and federal grants and tax credits.

She says all 14 of the new one bedroom senior apartments are already occupied.

One in five Vermonters is considered elderly. But what does being elderly even mean — and what do Vermonters need to know as they age? I’m looking into how aging in Vermont impacts living essentials such as jobs, health care and housing. And also how aging impacts the stuff of life: marriage, loss, dating and sex.
Latest Stories