Westgate Community Center
Westgate Housing Community is a 98 unit affordable housing complex in West Brattleboro, Vermont. As a tenant-led non-profit, Westgate is a unique place where residents can take an active roll in all aspects of the organization and its decision-making. Westgate has experienced great changes over the past decade and we expect to evolve, thrive and grow in the years to come. Along with a safe, attractive place to live, Westgate has a Boys and Girls Club, free after school programs for teens, a vibrant tenants association and a beautiful view of the Whetstone Brook. We are also the most affordable place to live in Southern Vermont!
Westgate was built in 1971 by a private company who contracted with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to maintain affordability for 20-40 years. At the end of the contract it became clear that rent rates at Westgate were in danger of significant increases, which would force most of the residents out of their homes. In response to these fears, the Westgate Tenants Association began organizing to find a way to protect their neighborhood from gentrification.
Throughout the 1990’s several attempts were made to purchase the property and maintain affordability. In 2000 a coalition of non-profits led by Housing Vermont and Westgate tenants successfully bought the property. They formed a new non-profit, Westgate Housing Inc. (WHI) that owns and manages the property. Since December of 2000 Housing Vermont and WHI have acted as partners in the ownership of Westgate, maintaining rents at a level considerably below market rates and giving tenants a voice in the organization of their community.
Since its construction, tenant leadership has been central to the mission of Westgate. Each year following the buyout the proportion of tenants to community members increased on WHI's Board of Directors. In June of 2009, the Westgate tenant body elected the final resident to the WHI Board, making the organization permanently tenant-controlled. Westgate is now one of the few tenant-controlled rental housing complexes in the country!
The unique level of tenant involvement at Westgate has led to a vibrant community that takes a great deal of responsibility for itself. The results are evident all around in the quality of the neighborhood, the level of civic engagement, and the health of our kids. Tenant leadership works!