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 Apr 23, 2013 at 11:28 am by Maura Collins
All are invited to a joint Vermont House and Senate hearing to hear from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Housing Commission on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 from 9:30 to 10:30 am in Vermont State House Room 11.
Nan Roman, a member of the BPC’s Housing Commission and Executive Director of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, will be discussing the BPC’s recently released report. She will present its recommendations and how Vermont’s housing programs and policies were featured.
“The recommendations of BPC’s Housing Commission are the culmination of a 16-month process that engaged the housing community both inside and outside of the Beltway through a series of roundtable discussions and regional housing forums,” according to its website.
Key recommendations in the report are:
- Rental Subsidy for households under 30% of median income in need
- 50% increase in federal rental housing credit
- Supplement to the HOME Investment Partnerships program
- Sustainable approach to homeownership
- Reformed system of housing finance with greater role for private sector
- Aging in Place by integrating housing and health care
- Convene a White House conference on Aging in Place
While all are welcome to attend the hearing, those planning on doing so are encouraged to email Joanne Choiciere. Attendees are also encouraged to use the Department of Labor shuttle due to limited parking, and plan to arrive early since there will be other events at the State House that day.
Posted Jan 2, 2013 at 2:33 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau
With greater dissention than in the Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the fiscal cliff compromise bill last night. Despite considerable debate among House members about a lack of spending cuts, the bill retains a provision fixing the 9% credit rate for Low Income Housing Tax Credit allocations made up to January 1, 2014, according to analysis by the Housing Advisory Group.
The compromise bill also extends the New Markets Tax Credit for two years.
Read more about the fiscal cliff compromise from the Housing Advisory Group.
Posted Sep 28, 2012 at 9:28 am by Leslie Black-Plumeau
The continuing resolution passed by the U.S. House and Senate last week will keep the American Community Survey from being eliminated, at least until the resolution expires on March 27, 2013, according to the Association of Public Data Users.
Earlier this year, a rider had been attached to the FY 2013 appropriations bills by the House eliminating the American Community Survey.
In the mid-2000s, the American Community Survey replaced the decennial census “long form,” and has become the only source of many types of information on the demographics and housing stock of communities, counties, and states. The survey’s estimates are heavily used to inform decisions about housing needs in Vermont communities. The estimates populate more than half of the fields of the county and community profile fields on the Vermont Housing Data website.
Posted Jul 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau
What are the appropriate roles for the public and private sectors? What is the appropriate balance between homeownership and renting? How far beyond shelter should housing programs extend?
Answering these questions is critical to formulating effective U.S. housing policy in the future, according to a new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center.
The report takes a step back to look at the broad array of housing policies and players in the U.S. and identifies key challenges going forward.
The Bipartisan Policy Center was founded in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell.
Posted Feb 17, 2012 at 9:53 am by Leslie Black-Plumeau
The Obama administration sent Congress its FY 2013 budget this week, proposing changes to the housing credit program to provide incentives for creating mixed-income housing and to allow a 30 percent basis boost for some 4 percent credit, tax-exempt bond-financed preservation projects. It also proposes repealing the mortgage revenue bond (MRB) program purchase price limit and refinancing restriction.
In terms of HUD programs, the budget proposes increasing funding for housing choice vouchers, homeless assistance, and Section 202 housing for the elderly. It proposes cutting funding for the project-based Section 8 and Section 811 housing for persons with disabilities program. It provides level funding for HOME and the community development block grant (CDBG) programs. The budget also again proposes $1 billion in new funding to launch the housing trust fund.
Read more budget highlights summarized by the National Council for State Housing Agencies.
Posted Oct 18, 2011 at 9:07 am by Leslie Black-Plumeau
On October 12, VHFA’s executive director, Sarah Carpenter, joined housing finance leaders from other states and from the National Council of State Housing Agencies at a White House convening on affordable housing.
HUD organized the forum primarily to engage key stakeholders in the results of the 20 regional convenings it held this past year, the FY 2012 HUD budget, and the American Jobs Act.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donavan stressed the importance of the housing community uniting in an effort to secure the maximum possible funding for federal housing programs. He urged groups not to “fight over the pieces… their share of the pie” but instead to “speak as housers, with one voice in support of more resources overall.”
Donavan also reviewed the key differences between the House and Senate on HUD program funding levels for FY 2012. Review these differences.
Read more about the event.
Posted Apr 14, 2011 at 2:05 pm by Craig Bailey
Sen. Bernie Sanders issued a statement this afternoon saying he will “vote against a budget agreement that cuts public housing by $605 million and eliminates financial counseling when homeowners need it most.”
According to the statement, the proposed cuts include a 16 percent reduction to the Community Development Block Grant program, which helps build affordable housing; and a 12 percent cut to the HOME program, which funds affordable housing for low-income families.
The cuts would cost Vermont $1.5 million in grant funding and another $500,000 to build affordable housing.
According to the statement, the budget agreement also eliminates crucial housing counseling services. In Vermont, that would mean a loss of at least $330,000 to community-based organizations working to help keep people in their homes.
Posted Mar 28, 2011 at 10:47 am by Craig Bailey
This morning, the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA), National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Realtors, Mortgage Bankers Association, and others, released a set of “Principles for Restoring Stability to the Nation’s Housing Finance System.”
The principles state:
- A stable housing sector is necessary for economic recovery and long-term prosperity
- Private capital should be the dominant source of mortgage credit and bear the primary risk in any future housing finance reform system
- A continuing and predictable government role is necessary to ensure liquidity and stability for homeownership and rental housing
- Changes to the mortgage finance system must be done carefully and over a reasonable transition period
The statement also says, “Government support through various insurance and guarantee mechanisms is especially important to facilitate long-term fixed-rate mortgages, affordable financing for low- and moderate-income borrowers, and financing rental housing in all parts of the country including rural areas.”
The groups that developed and signed the statement will distribute it to key congressional and administration offices today.
Other groups that signed include American Bankers Association, Housing Policy Council of the Financial Services Roundtable, Independent Community Bankers of America, Manufactured Housing Institute, Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, National Apartment Association, National Multi Housing Council, and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.
The statement is significant because it reflects an industry consensus on the importance of a strong government role and a commitment to government support for affordable financing for homeownership and rental housing in all parts of the country.
Posted Mar 8, 2011 at 9:51 am by Craig Bailey
The City of Burlington’s Question #8 passed 4,102/1,753 during last week’s Town Meeting Day.
You might remember from last week’s post (“VAHC urges ‘Yes’ on Burlington’s Question #8″) the question dealt with sending a message to Montpelier urging the Legislature to pass a bill protecting at-risk assisted Vermonters and their housing.
The Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition thanks everyone who helped out with its “Save Our Homes” campaign — especially those who donated money to get fliers to more than 15,000 Burlington households, as well as create lawn signs.
The efforts help to support the proposed state legislation that would require owners give tenants longer notice and establish a fair, consistent process for estimating the value of a property to ensure the sale price is actually the fair market value. This will not cost owners anything, but will allow time for a housing organization to purchase the building, or for tenants to find new homes.