Our seventh event featured a panel of local housing experts who are working to make Burlington and the greater metro area more affordable to live. We heard from Brenda Torpy and Michael Monte from Champlain Housing Trust, and Regina Mahony from the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission about the current state of housing and what’s being done to address it. The panelists discussed the challenges we face in creating more affordable housing options and what we can do to make Burlington more affordable for all residents.
About the Speakers:
Michael Monte is CHT's Chief Financial and Operating Officer having joined the executive leadership team in December 2007. Michael was a founder of Burlington Community Land Trust and was a board member for Lake Champlain Housing, the two organizations that merged to form CHT. He has over 30 years of community and economic development experience. He worked at Burlington's Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) from its creation and was its longest serving Director. Prior to CEDO, he was employed as Executive Director for several non-profit organizations including the King Street Youth Center. Michael is also a founder and partner of the independent community development consultant group, Burlington Associates, where he worked with Community Land Trusts around the country.
Regina joined the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission in 2011. Prior to the CCRPC Regina worked for the Town of Milton for eight years; first as the Town Planner, then as the Planning Director from August 2006 to October 2011. Regina has a B.S. in Geography from the University of Maryland at College Park and a Masters in Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Regina uses her municipal planning experience to help lead the municipal planning assistance program including land use training, comprehensive planning, drafting bylaws, and development review. Regina also coordinates the organization’s Regional Planning efforts through implementation and updates of the ECOS Plan. Regina and her husband reside in Burlington where they’ve successfully transitioned to a one car household, and happily use the cost savings for travel.
Brenda Torpy has 34 years of experience in the affordable housing field, starting with rural community development and affordable housing advocacy in northern Vermont. As the Community and Economic Development Office’s first Housing Director for the City of Burlington, Brenda led the development of the Burlington Community Land Trust, now Champlain Housing Trust, and served as the founding Board President. In 1991, she joined the staff as Executive Director. Under Brenda’s leadership, CHT was selected as the 2008 winner of the UN World Habitat Award and Brenda has travelled extensively as a speaker and to assist start-ups of CLTs both nationally and internationally. CHT does $90 million in development annually, has an operating budget of $10 million and nearly $300 million in assets under its stewardship. Brenda has also worked for the Vermont Housing Finance Agency as Development Director, Brenda was a Ford Foundation Leader for a Changing World 2002, completed the Achieving Excellence in Community Development program at the Kennedy School of Government in 2003, is past President of the National Community Land Trust Network, and serves on the Governor’s Housing Council of Vermont, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Community Development Committee and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s Affordable Housing Program Advisory Committee.