Conversion Of Motel Into Apartments Designed To Help Homeless, Lower Costs

Dec 9, 2016

The University of Vermont Medical Center is funding the purchase of a Burlington motel as a way to reduce health care costs.

The medical center is making it possible for the Champlain Housing Trust to purchase the Bel Aire Motel in Burlington and convert it into rental apartments.

The apartments will be occupied by people who often end up staying in the hospital for continued care only because they don’t have an appropriate place to recuperate.

“It really allows them to be healthier and not go in and out of the hospital," says Chris Donnelly of the Champlain Housing Trust. "That’s really expensive. Having a hospital bed has got to be the most expensive housing you can think of."

A caseworker from Community Health Centers of Burlington will also work with the 12 residents who will live in the former motel.

The medical center is providing $1.6 million for the housing trust to acquire and renovate the motel. It is also funding the operating costs of the program.

The medical center says the savings in health care costs are expected to be between $500,000 and $2 million in the first year.

A similar Burlington program saved more than $1 million in its first year.

This story was revised at 3:35 pm on Dec. 9 to clarify that the motel will be owned by the Champlain Housing Trust.