A Housing-Focused Solution to Vermont’s Heroin Epidemic

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin based his entire State of the State speech this year on the state’s “full-blown heroin crisis.” The crisis has obvious impacts on neighborhoods, but did land use policy contribute to the problem?

Katharine Seelye, provides a detailed account of the cultural impacts of vermont’s terrible heroin problem. Seelye focuses on a town called Rutland, which has implemented a number of innovations to combat the problem.

One cause, according to some, is housing policy: “Many believe that part of the drug problem lies in the high conversion rate of single-family homes into multiunit rentals.”

In response, community organization called Project Vision, funded with a $1 million federal grant from the federal Department of Justice has targeted blighted homes in a 10-block target area. “Project Vision intends to reduce the number of blighted homes in the target zone to 15 from 21 by rehabilitating or razing six of them.”

“Two-thirds of the homes in the target area are multiunit apartments; Project Vision hopes to reduce that number to 50 percent within three years by buying back properties, perhaps having nonprofit groups restore them and resell them to owners who would live in them.”

Full Story: A Call to Arms on a Vermont Heroin Epidemic


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