Up to this point, almost every form of Sharon’s capital that I have written about has been impacted by how small and rural the town is. Built capital is no exception. Sharon shows the age of the community through the age of its buildings; approximately a quarter of all housing units were built pre-1940 (US Census 2014: Year Structure Built). This is a result of many homes being old farmhouses that were built on several acres. This seems to contribute to the area and the state’s problem with affordable housing. While over 50% of all homes cost over $200,000 (US Census 2014: Value), a quarter of existing housing units are rentals (US Census 2014: Households by Type of Tenure). This is a very generous amount of housing being rented for such a small town in which many people have lived their whole lives. A large reason that there are so many rentals in Sharon is because of The Sharon Academy and Vermont Law School, which is only one town away. People and families that attend these schools for only a handful of years don’t need to buy a home. This increases the demand for rental units.
One organization that has begun doing good work for sustainable and affordable housing in the Upper Valley is the Modular Housing Innovation Project (MHIP). MHIP is a company formed by Efficiency Vermont and other organizations after hurricane Irene, with a purpose of creating zero-energy modular homes called Vermods. Through their partnership with Efficiency Vermont’s Mobile Home Replacement Program, they have already built up to 40 Vermods already. Several of these units have been in neighboring towns to Sharon, with plans to add some within the town’s borders soon. This is a great help for a community that was seriously affected by the flood and has a growing population of people that can not afford a $200,000+ home.
US Census Bureau. (2014). Year Structure Built. Retrieved from: https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xh tml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B25034&prodType=table
US Census Bureau. (2014). Value. Retrieved from: https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xh tml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B25075&prodType=table
US Census Bureau. (2014). Households by type of Tenure. Retrieved from: https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xh tml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B11012&prodType=table