Posted Mar 7, 2014 at 1:42 pm by Victoria Johnson
An important roundtable discussion will take place on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 on the needs of housing and support service collaboration. The event, Access to Housing for the Homeless, will take place from Noon to 3:30pm, immediately following the monthly Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness meeting in Randolph.
The purpose of this facilitated discussion is to foster increased collaboration between housing managers and service providers in addressing the needs of the homeless and other vulnerable Vermonters. The hope is to highlight efforts at the local level by Housing Review Teams, Continuums of Care, and other collaborations by addressing some of the following questions:
- What are the main obstacles to accessing stable housing in your area?
- What are some of the primary challenges undermining existing tenancies?
- What do housing providers need to take a chance on a challenging tenant?
- What are the best collaborative practices of housing managers and service providers in your area?
- What are lessons learned to share with colleagues across the state?
- Provide examples of how the CoC or Housing Review Team work with local housing managers to increase access to the the most vulnerable individuals and families.
There is no fee to attend and lunch is provided, however registration is required by April 1. No joke!
This event is being sponsored by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness, Agency of Human Services, and the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition.
Please email Rick DeAngelis at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 802-828-3526 to register today.
Posted Mar 7, 2014 at 9:25 am by Victoria Johnson
Vermont Housing Managers Association (VHMA) is offering a one day training with Fair Housing Solutions, LLC.
April 16, 2014 8:30 AM-4:00 PM (Registration opens at 7:30a.m.)
Fireside Inn & Suites, 25 Airport Road, West Lebanon, NH.
Registration Deadline: April 1, 2014.
Registration Cost: $195.00 per person for VHMA/ GSMA members $320.00 per person for Non-members (Lunch is included in the registration cost).
Topics to be covered at this training will include:
Introduction to the Fair Housing Act;
Protected Classes and discriminatory conduct under the Fair Housing Act;
Fair Housing Impact on applicant screening; Reasonable accommodation;
How to analyze requests for service, companion, and other assistance animals;
What constitutes a “direct threat” under the Fair Housing Act and how does that impact violent behavior caused by a disability?;
Specific policies that may have a discriminatory impact on the basis of race, national origin, and sex;
Special issues to consider to avoid discriminating on the basis of familial status;
Housing harassment and how to develop and implement a housing anti-‐harassment policy;
HUD Mortgagee Letter and how it will affect your future CNAs,PNAs and GPNAs;
The BIG Differences in managing your properties in the coming years and how Baby Boomers will affect Accessibility; April, 2013 News on HUD’s Final Rule to provide comprehensive direction to owners and agents who are processing request for assistance animals and companion animals;
The latest (April 2013) HUD & DOJ Joint Statement on Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines and how it will affect your properties.
For more information contact Vermont Housing Managers Association, 802.535.3594, http://www.vhma.net/events.php.
Posted Mar 4, 2014 at 1:40 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau
Thanks to the recent development of a menu of indicators and targets by the Vermont Agency of Human Services and the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, describing how Vermonters are doing has become easier.
The Vermont Agency of Human Services released its “Results Scorecard” last month listing indicators of statewide conditions, with plans to expand the scorecard to include community level indicators in the future.
Similarly, the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission published the 2013 ECOS Annual Report on the State of Chittenden County based on over 80 indicators that track the progress of Chittenden County against goals related to the economy, environment, quality of place, and community.
Since safe, decent housing is a critical to health and well-being, it is no surprise that both organizations included indicators of the availability of housing into their indicator menus. The number of homeless community members was included by both, with additional indicators pertaining to housing cost, vacancy rates, and the availability of housing on the Chittenden County list.
Image source: humanservices.vermont.gov/copy_of_ahs-results-scorecard
Posted Mar 4, 2014 at 9:37 am by Leslie Black-Plumeau
Many renters within and beyond Vermont’s borders struggle to afford a decent, safe place to live. Increasing rents coupled with stagnant or declining incomes have widened the gap between the number of affordable rental units available to lower income households.
For every 100 extremely low-income renter households in the country, there are only 29 affordable and available rental units, according to recent research from the Urban Institute. This is down from 37 in 2000.
Extremely low income renters living in most Vermont counties today face nearly as tight a market when looking for rental homes they can afford, according to a mapping tool designed by the Urban Institute that is based primarily on 2012 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
See how your county fares with the Urban Institute’s on line mapping tool.
Posted Feb 25, 2014 at 9:57 am by Leslie Black-Plumeau
Next to job availability, access to affordable housing was ranked the second most important challenge for lower-income communities by New England respondents to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Community Outlook Survey.
Rural respondents saw a bleaker picture than their urban counterparts. Nine out of 10 rural respondents saw the availability of affordable housing decrease or stay the same over the past six months. Improvements in housing affordability were seen far more often by urban respondents. About 28% of these respondents saw affordable housing availability increase, compared to fewer than 8% of rural respondents reported an increase.
Federal Reserve researchers attributed the lack of improvement seen by rural respondents to the unique challenges of expanding the availability of affordable housing in rural communities, such as lack of density, urban focus of traditional federal programs, and the struggle small towns face attracting “developers of affordable rental housing because of the lower rents they command relative to urban developments.”
Recognizing the inherent difficulties for traditional approaches, VHFA has continually sought ways to help address affordable housing needs of low income rural Vermonters. About 5,000 units of affordable rental housing units and 20,000 lower and moderate income homeowners outside of Chittenden County have been supported through VHFA’s rental and home purchase programs.
Posted Feb 20, 2014 at 5:21 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau
Residents and guests gathered at McKenzie House in Burlington this week to celebrate the project’s past 30 years and bright future providing affordable rental housing. By renewing the project’s HUD Section 8 HAP Contract, the project’s owner, the O’Brien Brothers Agency, extended its commitment to keeping these 41 apartments for area seniors and disabled residents affordable in the future. VHFA has been the lender and HUD Contract Administrator for this property since it was developed in 1983 and was instrumental in demonstrating for the owners the value in keeping the property in the affordable housing inventory.
VHFA’s Director of Multifamily Programs, Sam Falzone, and Multifamily Management Officer, Erin Philbrick, attended the celebration which featured a delicous lunch of prime rib, chicken cordon bleu and cake.
Photos: S. Falzone.
Posted Feb 14, 2014 at 12:03 pm by Brittany Riley
Executive Director Sarah Carpenter announced Lauren Trono of Colchester, VT has joined VHFA as Human Resources/ Administration Manager.
Lauren comes to VHFA from General Dynamics where she has worked for the past 9 years, most recently as the Senior Human Resources Specialist.
Sarah explained that “VHFA is happy to welcome someone with Lauren’s background and skill set… Her professionalism and energy will help the Agency remain one of the best places to work in Vermont.”
“I am proud of our staff’s dedication to the Agency’s mission and Lauren shares that commitment… She’s a great addition to our team,” Sarah continued.
Posted Feb 13, 2014 at 12:01 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau
Home buyers across the nation with less than a 20 percent down payment are discovering that their state’s housing finance agency (HFA) offers mortgages with the terms they need, according to a recent report from Bloomberg news.
HFAs in many states have seen the volumes of interested borrowers, many of whom are first-time home buyers, expand significantly during the past year, the article explained. ”We believe that housing finance agencies will be able to play a bigger role in whatever the restructured mortgage market looks like in the future,” said MassHousing Executive Director Tom Gleason who was interviewed for the article. ”HFAs have already demonstrated that they’re ready to step up to the plate to absorb the risk associated with low down payment borrowers,” he continued. The growth in lending may also help bolster the housing recovery, which hasn’t included many first-time buyers, the article concludes.
Like its counterparts in other states, Vermont Housing Finance Agency also serves low down payment borrowers. Read more online about VHFA programs.
Posted Feb 7, 2014 at 8:48 am by Leslie Black-Plumeau
VHFA’s Executive Director Sarah Carpenter announced Lucas Henderson of Burlington has joined the agency as SQL Report Writer/Analyst.
Lucas comes to VHFA from Systems and Software in Williston where he was a Data Conversion Specialist. Lucas graduated Cum Laude from Dartmouth College.
Rick Jean, VHFA’s IT Manager states, “I am very excited to have Lucas join our IT Team. His experience with, and knowledge of, SQL will be a very valuable asset to VHFA.”
Lucas’ skills will help create reports on loans to Vermont home buyers and developers of affordable rental housing projects made possible through VHFA financing.
Photo by Brittany Riley.
Posted Feb 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau
VHFA’s Executive Director Sarah Carpenter announced Sara Everest of Burlington, VT has joined VHFA as Web Developer.
Sara comes to VHFA from working as a Freelance Graphic Design & Web Designer, and was previously at Pro Acoustics in Marketing and Design. Sara attended Sam Houston State University where she majored in Advertising in Graphic Design.
Rick Jean, VHFA’s IT Manager states, “Sara brings many years of web development experience, working as a consultant and also part of other rapidly changing organizations, making her a great fit for VHFA!”
Photo by Brittany Riley