After much anticipation, shovels were raised, dirt was thrown, and prayers were spoken at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Vermont Place Apartments Tuesday. Together with local government leaders and project supporters, we celebrated a historic moment which will increase Talbot House Ministries’ capacity to offer affordable housing by 50 percent.  Once renovated, each of the 16 units will provide stable, affordable housing and supportive services in an environment that nurtures individuals while encouraging personal responsibility.

Attendance was limited due to COVID-19 concerns, but Talbot House provided an opportunity for the community to watch its ceremony live via Facebook. Executive Director Dr. Brenda Reddout stated: “There were many supporters who, under different circumstances, would be celebrating alongside us today. But we are grateful to be able to hold this socially-distant groundbreaking ceremony and we appreciate all of those who are with us in spirit or watching along online.”

Talbot House Ministries and its supporters will now embark on a five month journey that will result in a complete renovation of these badly dilapidated facilities.  Talbot House will begin accepting applications for the Vermont Place Apartments this fall, with the goal of having its first tenants moved in by December 2020. Tenants must be low or very low income working adults, veterans, or disabled to be considered for this project.

While setting up for the ceremony, Talbot House resident Carl remarked that he used to practically live on the property when he was struggling with addiction. He was proud to see the buildings being converted into something positive for the community. Just as Carl is working to renew his life, these apartments are transforming into a place where broken hearts are healed and lives restored; a place many will call home.  As Board President Jim Lobinsky stated, “The Vermont Place Apartments represent a broader vision for Talbot House Ministries than even its founders could have imagined. I am so proud to be part of this initiative.”

We are so grateful for the outstanding support of the City of Lakeland, First United Methodist Church of Lakeland, Lakeland Community Redevelopment Agency, Polk County Board of County Commissioners, the Barnett family, Henkelman Construction, Straughn Trout Architects, BB&T/Truist Foundation, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, Givewell Community Foundation, and Harrell Family Charities.