United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials visited the Swanton School Apartments Thursday to celebrate site manager Richard “Skip” Trahan’s receipt of USDA’s 2014 Site Manager of the Year Award. Trahan, a resident of St. Albans, works for the Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) – the region’s leading provider of affordable housing and home-owner education.
"Providing safe and affordable rental housing in rural Vermont can be a challenge – it is expensive, our harsh weather takes its toll on buildings, and the scarcity of units is disheartening," said USDA Rural Development State Director Ted Brady. "But when you match our programs with a great organization like the Champlain Housing Trust and a great housing site manager like Skip, it can be very rewarding and successful. Skip has proven himself to be a great project developer, a great site manager, and a great person."
Overall, Trahan is charged with maintaining 298 units of affordable rental housing for CHT, including 16 at the Swanton School and 24 at Pleasant Street Apartments in Enosburg. He was recommended for the award by both residents of these properties and the management of CHT, who attended Thursday’s ceremony.
USDA Rural Development provided financing to develop both properties. In 2010, CHT used USDA funds to complete a rehabilitation of Pleasant Street Apartments. USDA Rural Development provides rental assistance to 38 of the 40 families in both developments, ensuring that no tenant pays more than 30 percent of their income for rent. Skip’s job is to make sure residents of these apartments live in a safe, clean and secure home.
USDA Rural Development provides more than 1,400 families across Vermont with rental assistance at 78 different rental housing complexes. Last year, this equated to a federal investment of $8,338,174 in working class families across the state.
USDA, through its RD mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $201 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas. For more information on Rural Development visit the Vermont/New Hampshire Rural Development website (www.rurdev.usda.gov/nh-vtHome.html) or contact USDA RD at (802) 828-6000.