Still the One

Affordable Housing Initiatives in Burlington Vermont’s Old North End

Multimedia Case Study

This multimedia case examines the impact of Burlington, VT’s affordable housing strategies on the Old North End (“the ONE”)—a historically low-income neighborhood which boasts a robust stock of affordable housing while facing rising costs of living and demand for housing. It traces the history of Burlington’s efforts back to the 1980s, when the city government under then-mayor Bernie Sanders established programs and policies to produce affordable housing and combat gentrification and displacement.

The Case Study

The Backstory

Still the ONE: Lessons from a Small City’s Big Commitment to Affordability, by Julie Campoli appears in the October 2023 issue of Land Lines, the quarterly magazine of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.


Map: The Champlain Housing Trust’s 2,569 Rentals and 675 Shared-Equity Homes in Northwestern Vermont



Map: All Permanently Affordable Units in the Old North End 


Burlington Case Study TImeline


Aurand, Andrew, et al. 2021. 2021 Picture of Preservation. National Low Income Housing Coalition and Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation.
Aurand, Andrew, et al. 2022. “Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing.” National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Cohen, Helen, and Lipman, Mark. 2016. Arc of Justice: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of a Beloved Community (documentary film).

Davis, John Emmeus. Ed. 2020. The Community Land Trust Reader. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Davis, John Emmeus. 1990. Building the Progressive City: Third Sector Housing in Burlington. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Ellen, Ingrid, et al. 2021. Through the Roof: What Communities Can Do About the High Cost of Rental Housing in America. Policy Focus Report. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Freddie Mac. 2018. Spotlight on Underserved Markets: Affordable Housing in High Opportunity Areas. Policy Brief, Washington, DC: Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.

Jickling, Katie. 2018. “Ready or Not: Is Gentrification Inevitable in Burlington’s Old North End?” Seven Days. January 17.

Libby, James M. Jr. 2006. “The Policy Basis Behind Permanently Affordable Housing: A Cornerstone of Vermont’s Housing Policy Since 1987.” Montpelier, VT: Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.

Opportunity Insights. “Neighborhoods Matter: Children’s Lives Are Shaped by the Neighborhoods They Grow Up In.” Online Research Collection. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University.

Quigley, Aidan. 2019. “Who Owns Burlington? The Largest Holdings Are in the Hands of a Few.” VTDigger. November 3.

Torpy, Brenda. 2015. “Champlain Housing Trust.” Case Study. Center for Community Land Trust Innovation.

For Teachers


Affordable housing, community land trusts, gentrification and displacement


1980 – 2023

Prerequisite Knowledge


Learning Objectives

  • Evaluate the impact of permanently affordable housing in high-opportunity areas
  • Identify the policy approaches that helped Burlington develop and preserve affordable housing opportunities in gentrifying neighborhoods
  • Articulate how a community land trust works and why this model is effective in Burlington