Housing Matters blog

“What I learned at the 2014 Vermont Statewide Housing Conference” haikus

Posted Nov 20, 2014 at 4:22 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau

housing conference poetYesterday’s housing conference prompted participant Mike McNamara of HUD (pictured at left) to wax poetic. He put pen to paper, creating what may very well be the first ever Vermont housing conference haikus:

Biennial must
Statewide Housing Conference
Maura makes it so

Sequestration sucks
Doing less with less and less
Budget dysfunction

Vermonters lament
Affordable housing need
Build it, they will come

Housing is vital
Platform for living one’s life
Things get better soon

Housing day is done
Conference reception fun
Drink tickets abound.

Housing Matters sends out a big “thank you” to Mike and all of this year’s conference attendees who used the day to get their creative juices flowing.

Photo by Sam Falzone.


Hundreds convene at Vermont Statewide Housing Conference

Posted Nov 19, 2014 at 3:32 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau

Housing conference 2014 Keynote Barry ZigasAbout 450 policy makers, housing developers, lenders and advocates convened today to learn from national and state leaders and to identify the state’s most pressing housing issues.  The conference was kicked off by Governor Shumlin as he discussed his priorities for housing, followed by interactive instant polling designed to capitalize on this rare convening of the state’s full cadre of housing voices.  Polling results showed little disagreement among conference participants about the severity of the state’s shortage of housing affordable to low-income Vermonters.

Keynote speaker Barry Zigas (pictured) of the Consumer Federation of American and the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission described the demographic and budget drivers affecting housing conditions today. He explained that indisputable trends, such as aging seniors, tightening credit and falling homeownership rates among young households, led to the Commission’s unanimous support for increased affordable housing.  These recommendations include extending the availability of rental assistance to the lowest income households, rapid re-housing for those who lose their housing and rebuilding the mortgage finance system to increase private investment.

Thought-provoking workshop presenters included Anthony Poore of the Boston Federal Reserve Bank who discussed the state’s declining number of young home buyers and burgeoning student debt levels.  “Housing Hero” awards were presented to former state Senator Susan Bartlett and Representative Martha Heath for their leadership, commitment, and courage to find balance between Vermont’s budget and values.

The Vermont Statewide Housing Conference is coordinated by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency on behalf of a multi-agency planning committee: Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, Housing Vermont, USDA Rural Development, VT Affordable Housing Coalition, VT’s Department of Housing and Community Development, VT Housing & Conservation Board, VT Housing Finance Agency, VT Mortgage Bankers Association and VT Realtors.

Residents and partners celebrate Richmond Terrace renovations

Posted Nov 17, 2014 at 11:33 am by Leslie Black-Plumeau

Richmond terrace - cakeThere was much to celebrate on Friday at the 16-unit Richmond Terrace apartment complex. Increased insulation and air sealing and new highly-efficient heat pumps, hot water boilers and solar arrays topped the list of energy improvements. In addition, the 30-year old apartments, common areas and grounds were updated with modern kitchen and bath materials, lighting, and made more accessible for elderly residents.

VHFA facilitated the recent renovations through tax credits, construction and permanent financing. Additional funders include CVOEO Weatherization Program, Efficiency Vermont, Federal Home Loan bank of Boston Affordable Housing Program, Northfield Savings Bank, People’s United Bank, Vermont Fuel Efficiency Partnership, Vermont Housing & Conservation Board and Vermont Small Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program. The project is owned and managed by Cathedral Square Corporation.

Photos by Sam Falzone.

Richmond terrace

Vermont Statewide Housing Conference by the numbers

Posted Nov 13, 2014 at 12:45 pm by Maura Collins

conf_logoThis year’s Vermont Statewide Housing Conference is posting some pretty impressive numbers. At this point we have:

  • 6 days until the conference on November 19th.
  • 450 housing developers, Realtors, legislators, residents, advocates, housing managers, social service providers, and others are registered, ready to learn and network.
  • 9 out-of-state subject matter experts presenting on their latest work or providing updates of how other states or communities are solving the housing dilemmas we all face.
  • 2 Washington DC leaders who will discuss what last week’s election will mean for our favorite federal programs.
  • 30 minutes of Governor Shumlin’s time to hear about his administration’s goals for housing in Vermont, and he will take questions from audience.
  • 18 workshops with 54 speakers and moderators ready to provide high quality content based on an agenda that was crafted based on your input!
  • 13 exhibitors who will be available with information about their company or programs. New this year: we will have a drawing for a free iPad for attendees who visit at least 10 of those tables.

If all of these numbers sound so good that you’d like to join us – we have room for same-day registrations. Come for this event that only happens every other year!

HUD fair market rent levels effective October 2014 now on Vermont Housing Data site

Posted Nov 12, 2014 at 3:27 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau

housing data profile siteThe fair market rent levels that will be in place from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015 are now available on the Vermont Housing Data website.

HUD’s fair market rent levels are estimates of the monthly rent level within which 40 percent of standard quality rental units in an area are rented. For example, the current fair market rent of $793 for a 1-bedroom apartment in Washington County means that HUD estimates that approximately 40 percent of comparable units in that county cost rent for less than $793.

Current fair market rents in Vermont are based primarily on an equation HUD applies to each county’s rent estimates from the American Community Survey.   Since this survey includes a very small number of Vermont residents, fair market rents for some areas may fluctuate quite a bit from year to year.

If the fair market rents proposed for a county appear to be out of line with local data, HUD may be asked to reconsider these rents. This summer VHFA , with the Vermont State Housing Authority and several other organizations, commissioned a rent survey of Windham, Windsor and Bennington counties. As a result, the Fair Market Rent levels effective last month reflect the more accurate local data gathered for these counties.

In addition to fair market rents, HUD’s estimates of median rents were also uploaded to the Vermont Housing Data site.

Housing Vermont sponsors Statewide Housing Conference

Posted Nov 10, 2014 at 11:23 am by Brittany Riley

hvt 200x100A big thanks to Housing Vermont who is a diamond sponsor for the 2014 Vermont Statewide Housing Conference.

Don’t miss Vermont’s largest housing event!


Northfield Savings Bank and Mutual of America sponsor Statewide Housing Conference

Posted Nov 7, 2014 at 3:29 pm by Brittany Riley

mutual + northfieldThanks to Northfield Savings Bank and Mutual of America who are both gold sponsors for the 2014 Vermont Statewide Housing Conference.

Don’t miss Vermont’s largest housing event!


KeyBank sponsors Statewide Housing Conference

Posted Nov 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm by Brittany Riley

keybank jpgThanks to KeyBank who is a platinum sponsor for the 2014 Vermont Statewide Housing Conference.

Registration for the conference is open online. Don’t miss Vermont’s largest housing event!


Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and Vermont Federal Credit Union sponsor Statewide Housing Conference

Posted Nov 5, 2014 at 3:24 pm by Brittany Riley

vhcb + vfcuThanks to Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and Vermont Federal Credit Union who are both gold sponsors for the 2014 Vermont Statewide Housing Conference.

Registration for the conference is open online. Don’t miss Vermont’s largest housing event!


Housing conference registration extended and workshop added

Posted Nov 5, 2014 at 11:54 am by Leslie Black-Plumeau

conf_logoThere are still a few more days to register for the Vermont Statewide Housing Conference. On-line registrations will be accepted through Friday, November 7, 2014. The conference takes place on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at the Hilton in Burlington.

This year’s amazing lineup of workshops, speakers and networking opportunities just got even better with the addition of a new workshop. Specially created for managers and owners of affordable rental housing buildings and their communities, this workshop will feature representatives from the Brattleboro Housing Authority and Red Cross. They will share lessons learned during and after Tropical Storm Irene and strategies for emergency preparedness.

Don’t miss out. Register today!

subscribe to the housing matters rss feed wordpress