Posted Jun 18, 2013 at 1:36 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau
Gov. Peter Shumlin signed three bills yesterday that promote energy efficiency and clean energy for homes, farms and businesses.
The legislation creates new financing programs for residential and commercial sectors. It allows the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) to borrow up to $10 million from the state Treasury to establish loan programs and a new energy efficiency loan guarantee program. This program will be administered by VEDA.
The legislation also includes $6.5 million for to support residential efficiency loan programs. VHFA will not be administering a loan program as stated in the original press release, but will be working with other partners to take advantage of this opportunity. It is anticipated that Neighborworks of Western Vermont and the other Homeownership Centers of Vermont will be expanding their homeownership energy efficiency lending. Funds will also be available for some affordable rental housing initiatives, and for other eligible entities and programs.
A thermal efficiency law makes improvements to state building energy standards, including a more efficient “stretch code” for large residential developments that must comply with Act 250. In addition, the law requires a Public Service Board report on options to improve thermal efficiency efforts, and makes changes to the Home Weatherization Assistance Program to prioritize assistance to LIHEAP recipients for buildings that are the least efficient.
State Treasurer Beth Pearce explained the new measures “create a cost-effective pathway to finance clean energy and energy efficiency projects at no risk to the taxpayer.” She explained that “commercial and residential groups may now finance these important projects while lowering the cost of capital.”
Posted Jun 13, 2013 at 1:56 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau
FEMA announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to supplement state and local recovery efforts in Chittenden, Essex, and Lamoille counties for damage caused by severe storms and flooding May 22-26, 2013.
This means that federal funding will be available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work, and repair and replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms and flooding as well as for hazard mitigation.
Mark H. Landry has been named Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Landry said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Read more about the assistance available and about how to plan, prepare and mitigate future flood damage.
Posted Jun 12, 2013 at 12:06 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will be closed on Friday, June 14. The closure is a result of government-wide automatic spending cuts that took effect on March 1, 2013. HUD will resume normal operation on Monday, June 17.
According to HUD, a total of seven of these furlough days will to be paired with holidays & weekends to ease impact.
Posted Jun 11, 2013 at 10:01 am by Leslie Black-Plumeau
In June 2011 Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) introduced a program aimed at helping Vermonters whose rental applications were denied due to a poor credit history or a lack of sufficient credit history. Ready, Set, Rent! turns two years old this month.
According CHT, the program has “exceeded expectations and brought about some unanticipated positive results for program participants”. The program includes credit and money management education, along with direct work with CHT counseling resources that help participants develop a strong financial foundation. Budgeting, financial planning, developing positive money habits, and building methods and systems to support solid financial behavior are all covered as part of the program.
Ready, Set, Rent! has helped 122 participants access affordable rental units so far. The report notes that many of the participants were previously reliant on alternative housing through shelters, motels, or family members. Others were homeless. The report goes on to detail some of the specific populations the program reached, along with data on both the participants and results.
View the full report on the Ready, Set, Rent! program.
Posted Jun 7, 2013 at 9:54 am by Leslie Black-Plumeau
The first months of 2013 show the volume of home sales continuing to increase in Vermont, according to multiple listing service data and Vermont property transfer tax records. Purchases of single-family homes, both for primary and vacation purposes, are leading Vermont’s housing recovery.
Purchases of condominiums and mobile homes statewide are down relative to 2012, likely due to challenges prospective buyers face now getting financing for these types of homes.
VHFA has seen a significant jump in the number of home buyers using its loan products when comparing the first five months of 2013 with 2012. There has been a growing recognition among qualified buyers of the fees they can save with VHFA and about our new Down Payment Assistance Program, explained Executive Director Sarah Carpenter.
Check out Sunday’s Rutland Herald (subscription required) for more information, including comments from local real estate companies and VHFA.
Posted Jun 6, 2013 at 12:29 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau
The use of local donations to help fund the expansion of the West River Valley Assisted Living project in Townsend is covered in today’s Brattleboro Reformer. The expansion will increase the number of assisted living apartments in the building from 30 to 42.
VHFA provided tax credits to cover a substantial portion of the cost of the building’s expansion. Tax credits as well as a permanent loan for the development of the original section of the building in 2007 were also provided by VHFA.
Additional expansion funds were provided by the Holt Fund, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and the federal Community Development Block Grant program.
Posted May 28, 2013 at 12:50 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau
Champlain Housing Trust announced the new Manufactured Home Replacement Program last week. The program is intented to assist mobile or manufactured home owners replace older or Irene-damaged mobile homes with newer and more energy efficient, resilient and affordable ones.
The program is funded through the Agency of Commerce and Community Development/Department of Housing and Community Development, state tax credits allocated by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency and funds from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.
For more information, contact Cheryl Read at (802) 527-2361 x101 or read more on-line.
Posted May 24, 2013 at 12:52 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau
Sales of primary and vacation homes increased 13 percent in Vermont in 2012, according to the recently updated Vermont Housing Data website. The data site was updated today to include final home sale volume and price statistics for every town and county in the state for 2012 by use and building type.
The site was also updated to include HUD’s estimated median family income for a family of four and information on monthly SSI payments in Vermont in 2013 (by state, county, and town) and the extent to which these payments enable Vermonters to afford to rent apartments.
In light of changes made by HUD in April 2013, the site’s fair market, median rent, and housing wage information for communities and counties in the Burlington-South Burlington metropolitan statistical area were also updated.
Visit the Vermont Housing Data website to learn more.
Posted May 21, 2013 at 11:09 am by Leslie Black-Plumeau
Staff from VHFA and HUD’s Manchester office met on the banks of the White River yesterday to improve conservation land on the property of Randolph House. With financing from VHFA and HUD risk share insurance, Randolph House contains apartments for 48 lower income senior households.
Led by a knowledgeable local botanist, the team from VHFA and HUD struck out through the conservation land, removing invasive species and clearing a nature trail. The land was altered dramatically during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
VHFA-ers faced weeds, downed trees, and automotive surprises on the drive back to Burlington with their typical bravado. All ended well thanks to astute driving skills of vintage Volvo aficionado and multifamily program director, Sam Falzone, and AAA.
Posted May 17, 2013 at 11:12 am by Leslie Black-Plumeau
Organizing your schedule for next week? Check out the list below and the Events Calendar page on VHFA’s website for the latest Vermont housing events.
Tuesday, May 21
Continuums of Care Workshop
- 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
- The Vermont Tech Enterprise Center, VT RT 66 East, Randolph, VT
Join members of the Chittenden Continuum & Vt Coalition to End Homelessness to dive deep in how we measure results of our work (federal & state funded programs). See your own private report card and how it stacks up to established benchmarks & statewide averages. Hear about best practices from high performing Vt peers. Then, how do we know when we (collectively-not just as single programs) are creating the change we wish to see? @ Vt Tech Enterprise Ctr, Randolph, www.vtc.edu/right.php/pid/2/sid/267/tid/723. All Continuum Agencies are encouraged to attend. Please RSVP at: http://doodle.com/azriuwz2ztrck28u.
Smokefree Housing: Let’s Clear the Air
- 9:00 AM-1:30 PM
- Franklin Conference Center, 1 Scale Avenue, Rutland, VT
This free summit will focus on the benefits, implementation, and enforcement of smokefree multi-unit housing policies. This event is ideal for landlords and housing providers, property managers, and housing support staff. Community coalition staff and volunteers and tobacco treatment specialists are encouraged to attend. Morning coffee & lunch will be served. Each participant will receive a toolkit of resources. No charge, but registration is required. Hosted in partnership by: Rutland Area Prevention Coalition, Burlington Housing Authority, Rutland Housing Authority, Housing Trust of Rutland County, Support and Services at Home (SASH), & the American Lung Association. More information: Rutland Area Prevention Coalition, 802.775.4199, email@example.com.
Fair Housing Accessibility Training
- 8:00 AM-4:30 PM
- Thomas P. O’Neill Jr. Federal Building – 1st Floor Auditorium, 10 Causeway Street, Boston, MA
Promote compliance with the Fair Housing Act design and construction requirements. The program offers comprehensive and detailed instruction, useful online web resources, and a toll-free information line for technical guidance. AGENDA – 8:00 – 8:30 Registration. 8:30 – 8:45 Welcome, Opening Remarks & Section 3 Presentation. 8:45 – 10:15 Design & Construction Requirements of the Fair Housing Act, Technical Overview – Module 10 – Part I. 10: 15 –10:30 Break. 10:30 – 12:00 Design & Construction Requirements of the Fair Housing Act, Technical Overview – Module 10 – Part II. 12:00 – 1:15 Lunch (not provided, plan accordingly). 1:15 – 2:45 Accessible Routes – Module 7. 2:45 – 3:00 Break. 3:00 – 4:30 Accessible Public & Common Use Areas –Module 8. Free Admission. More information: John Ritzu, 312.913.1717, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.fairhousingfirst.org/training/signup.asp?location=boston.