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Berkshire Housing President and CEO Elton Ogden speaks at the opening of the Highland Woods senior housing project in Williamstown in 2019.

Berkshire Housing Announces Leadership Transition

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Eileen Peltier, Executive Director of Downstreet Housing & Community Development, is one of three leads in creating and...

Posted by Change The Story VT on Tuesday, May 5, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The board of directors of Berkshire Housing Development Corp. has announced that Eileen Peltier, currently of Montpelier, Vt., has been selected as its new president and chief executive officer effective April 20.
Elton Ogden, who has led the non-profit since 2006, will continue to oversee completion of Berkshire Housing's major real estate development projects and serve in an advisory capacity through September.
Peltier brings 25 years of experience in non-profit leadership with a focus on housing, community development, and healthcare and was selected by the board at the conclusion of a national search effort.
Over the past 13 years, she has been executive director of Downstreet Housing and Community Development in Central Vermont ( During her tenure, Downstreet has completed several transformative projects including two in Vermont's capital city of Montpelier.
The projects included the rehabilitation of an historic downtown building that had been vacant for 85 years and a long-awaited initiative to create a multimodal transportation hub and affordable housing.
"Eileen has been the city's "go-to" person for housing solutions," Montepelier City Manager Bill Frazier said. "She is a fantastic collaborator and advisor on development issues and community needs. Eileen also brings years of experience bringing together community partners at the intersection of health and housing to ensure all our neighbors have the opportunity to have a home and to thrive."
Peltier said she is looking forward to the opportunity to continue her work in the Berkshires.
"My passion for social and economic justice has inspired my work throughout my career in non-profit leadership within healthcare and housing," Peltier said. "I am inspired by the opportunity to bring my experience, compassion, and commitment to Berkshire Housing."
The chair of the Berkshire Housing board said it is confident Peltier can continue and expand on Ogden's work.
"We feel fortunate to have attracted a leader of Eileen's caliber and qualifications," Michael Ferry said. "She brings a wealth of programming and development experience as Berkshire Housing looks to build upon the successes of Elton and his team.  Eileen has been a champion in developing housing and providing support services to residents to further housing stability."
Under Ogden's leadership, Berkshire Housing has expanded its housing assistance programs to assist more households, completed development of six affordable rental housing projects totaling 282 units, formed a unique partnership with Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority to transform the Berkshire Housing Consumer Education Center into a seamless and comprehensive assessment-driven service delivery system for people struggling with housing instability and poverty, and expanded its portfolio of managed properties. 
This year Berkshire Housing is celebrating 50 years of mission-driven work to improve lives in the Berkshires by expanding housing opportunities, carrying out community development projects and providing high quality property management services. 
Berkshire Housing's current activities include two new affordable rental housing projects under construction with a total of 96 units, administering over $1 million in COVID-19 relief funding targeted to families and individuals at risk of losing their housing as a result of the pandemic, administration of 600 state and federal rental housing vouchers and providing professional management services to 25 properties with over 800 units comprised of rental communities, condominiums and commercial properties. 

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Dalton Man Gets Year in Jail For Burning Political Sign

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Dalton man who set fire to a political sign made of hay bales last fall has been sentenced to a year in jail.
Judge Mark Pasquariello sentenced 50-year-old Lonnie Durfee on Thursday to one year at the Berkshire County House of Correction on a single count of burning personal property.
The Berkshire District Attorney's Office secured the maximum jail sentence as part of a plea deal.
Durfee set ablaze 20 plastic-covered hay bales that were near the roadway at Holiday Brook Farm in Dalton on Friday, Oct. 9. The bales had spelled out support for the Biden/Harris presidential ticket.
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