New Help from City Hall With Sanders as Mayor

February, 1983

With Bernie Sanders–a self-described Democratic Socialist–in City Hall, many new progressive institutions were launched. .  1983 was a particularly busy year. He created Burlington’s Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) to engage citizens to address their own needs and support them with funding and technical assistance.  CEDO enabled Mayor Sanders and his administration to direct federal dollars to their political priorities. In an effort to increase participation in local government and improve communication within neighborhoods, CEDO set up Neighborhood Planning Assemblies in each ward. Permanently affordable housing was high on the Sanders’ administration agenda, as the Reagan administration cut federal funding and gentrification once again advanced in Burlington.  CEDO staff founded the Burlington Community Land Trust (BCLT) in 1984 to create more affordable and low income housing in Burlington. BCLT is now the Champlain Housing Trust, it was the first municipally supported community land trust in the country and in 2019 remains our country’s largest Community Land Trust.

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