• Ethan Dezotelle

Support for FHI Today Supports FHI Tomorrow

We’ve requested a $5,000 appropriation from the town to help cover service fees at Franklin Carriage House. Earlier this week, I covered the thinking behind that. Today I’ll look at that request in a larger context.


By approving Article 2 on Franklin’s Town Meeting ballot, town voters will not only be supporting current residents, but they’ll also cast votes to ensure future homes for themselves and/or their loved ones.


Back on Town Meeting Day 2020 – which feels like way more or less than a year, depending on how you’re dealing with life these days – Franklin Homestead, Inc. conducted a survey to gather information about how Franklin Homestead & Carriage House is viewed by the community. The pandemic hit, and we never had a chance to do much with the collected data.


Being a data dork, I didn’t want the effort to go to waste, and what I found was quite interesting.


In short, Franklin Homestead & Carriage House is highly valued by the Franklin community in several ways, and folks already have our apartments in mind as places to live. A not just a few years from now, but decades.


Here’s the data.


Out of 50 respondents (only two of which were FHI residents at the time), nearly half said they could see themselves or a family member living here. Only 6 said no, with the remainder saying they were unsure.



On its own, that’s interesting, but what if everyone responding was already in their 50s? That’d mean this sort of thing was already top of mind. But based on the data, that’s not the case.


We asked respondents who answered “yes” or “unsure” to the previous question what decade they would potentially apply for housing at FHI. A full third said it would be between 2040 and 2050, while over a quarter responded that it would be in the next 10 years. The period of time between 2030 and 2040, as well as 2050+, received 20 percent each for responses.



This is astounding.


As much as we work here day-in and day-out to support the residents who live here now, the work we do is also seeding opportunities for the future when today’s 20, 30, and 40-somethings need safe, affordable housing in a local setting.


The same goes for the support we receive from the community. Whatever help we receive now gets us through today and tomorrow, but it also ensures that when 2043 comes around, we’ll be here for those who find themselves needing what we provide.


So approving a $5,000 appropriation is a huge help in the short term, but it’s also a sound investment to help carry us into the long term.


One last data set …


We asked folks what they considered to be Franklin Homestead & Carriage House’s greatest asset(s). Respondents could check multiple options.



Responses ranged from “affordable senior housing” (highest ranking) to “employment opportunities” (lowest ranking). People placed the greatest value in having affordable senior housing right here in Franklin. They also appreciated the opportunity to use our FELCO Room as a community meeting space (we haven’t been able to do this in the age of COVID, and we’re eager to get back to it when the time is right.) and having FHI as a community within Franklin.


People ask me if I’m at all concerned about Article 2 passing. My answer is yes and no.

I’m concerned because Town Meeting is so different this year. Aside from tonight’s info meeting, there won’t be an opportunity to gather and discuss ballot articles. And that sort of discussion is a big part of what makes Vermont Town Meeting so special. It’s an opportunity to question, debate, and hopefully find common ground. When we lose that opportunity, it’s a cause for concern.


There’s also concern because new ballot items are always met with skepticism. Which is perfectly understandable. And it’s also another reason why the opportunity for discussion is vital.


But based on last Town Meeting Day’s survey results and the way this town has stepped up to support Franklin Homestead & Carriage House over the past three decades, I’m not worried much at all.


Franklin has a future, and so does Franklin Homestead & Carriage House.


The people who call one place or both home will make sure of that and do what it takes to secure the legacy that's built here.


If you have any questions about Article 2, we hope that you’ll get in touch with us. You can call Manager Stacy Silloway and Assistant Manager Ethan Dezotelle at 285-2944. You can also email Stacy (stacy@franklincarriagehouse.org) or Ethan (ethan.fhi.fch@gmail.com).

The Town of Franklin is also holding an informational meeting tonight, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Ethan will be at that meeting to address any questions about the appropriation request. For meeting login information, visit https://drive.google.com/file/d/1t8cSi7SZmH3eJ0U5AJmqlguPrhtWI6Qs/view.

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