Housing Matters blog

Fitch rates VHFA bonds ‘AAA’

Posted Sep 30, 2010 at 3:44 pm by Craig Bailey

Fitch Ratings has assigned ‘AAA’ ratings to $30 million of VHFA mortgage revenue bonds.

Rating outlook for the bonds — Series 2010A and Sub-series 2009A-1 — is stable, according to Fitch.

‘AAA’ is the firm’s highest rating.

Read more about Fitch’s ratings.

World Habitat Day

Posted Sep 30, 2010 at 2:22 pm by Craig Bailey

This Monday, Oct. 4, Habitat for Humanity joins efforts around the world to mark World Habitat Day.

World Habitat Day’s a day the United Nations has set aside to call attention to the dire need for affordable, adequate housing.

Learn more about the event.

Meet the conference speaker: Jesse Kayan

Posted Sep 30, 2010 at 9:14 am by Craig Bailey

Now through the Vermont Statewide Housing Conference, Nov. 18, we’re spotlighting speakers planning to participate in the day’s bevy of workshops. Next up: Jesse Kayan, Community Services Coordinator, Westgate Housing Inc., Brattleboro, Vt.

At Westgate, Jesse works with an enthusiastic tenant body to create a vibrant community and a healthy non-profit that’s controlled by the residents of Westgate.

Before working at Westgate, he ran a women’s shelter in New Orleans, La., where resident empowerment and leadership was at the core of the shelter’s mission.

He serves on the Steering Committee of the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition.

Jesse’s presenting as part of the “Resident Empowerment Roundtable” panel.

Register online for the housing conference now.

VHFA staff available for comment on new ACS data

Posted Sep 29, 2010 at 3:21 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau

VHFA researchers are available to speak to members of the media on the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) data that were released yesterday.

VHFA’s research team includes Policy and Planning Manager Maura Collins, MPA; and Research Analyst Leslie Black-Plumeau, MPP.

Direct inquiries to Communications Coordinator Craig Bailey.

ACS is an annual survey of approximately 3 million households that provides recent information on the characteristics of Americans and their households, including the cost of homes and the ability of Americans to afford them.

VHFA will specifically be available to answer questions about ACS data pertaining to Vermont’s housing market and the housing situations of low- and moderate-income people.

For highlights of this new data, see our post from yesterday (“New Census data shows Vermont incomes stagnant”).

More information on the ACS is available at the Census site.

New Census data show Vermont incomes stagnant

Posted Sep 28, 2010 at 2:46 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau

According to American Community Survey (ACS) data released by the Census Bureau today, the median Vermont household income remained unchanged between 2009 and 2008, at approximately $52,000. Thirty-four states experienced a decline in median income. Vermont’s median income has remained statistically unchanged for the past four years and is ranked 21st highest, just slightly above the U.S. median.

An estimated 1 of every 11 Vermonters was living in poverty in 2009, according to the new data — about the same as in 2008. However, among working age Vermonters (18-64), the poverty rate increased significantly in 2009, a trend that’s occurred here for the past three years. The poverty rate among married couple families both with and without children also increased. Decreasing poverty among seniors (aged 65+) likely helped limit increases in Vermont’s total poverty rate.

ACS estimates for the U.S. and many states show a drop in poverty among seniors and an increase among younger people in 2009.

An estimated 38% of Vermont’s mortgaged homeowners and 47% of the state’s renters paid more than 30% of their incomes for housing in 2009 — the same as in 2008. Only 16 states had higher cost burdens than Vermont, as of the latest data.

More information is available at the Census web site.

VHFA to write state plan to end homelessness

Posted Sep 27, 2010 at 4:10 pm by Craig Bailey

VHFA has been hired by the Vermont Agency of Human Services (AHS) to write the state’s 10-year plan to end homelessness.

VHFA expects to spend five to six months researching, writing, soliciting feedback and making final revisions to the report. We plan to release it during the next legislative season.

Vermont’s initiative to publish a 10-year plan was inspired by the National Alliance to End Homelessness‘s 2001 report “A Plan, Not a Dream: How to End Homelessness in Ten Years,” which encouraged communities to develop and implement plans to end or greatly reduce homelessness in their communities.

Vermont’s plan is the product of work by the Vermont Interagency Council on Homelessness, chaired by AHS. VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter is a member of the council.

VHFA’s contract to produce this report is the latest example of the Agency’s growing body of housing research and policy analysis work supporting VHFA’s mission.

For more information about VHFA’s research and policy analysis services, contact Policy & Planning Manager Maura Collins.

Meet the conference speaker: Sheila Crowley

Posted Sep 27, 2010 at 9:22 am by Craig Bailey

sheila crowleyNow through the Vermont Statewide Housing Conference, Nov. 18, we’re spotlighting speakers planning to participate in the day’s bevy of workshops. Next up: Sheila Crowley, President/CEO, National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Sheila joined the staff of the coalition in December 1998, after two decades in Richmond, Vir., in organizational leadership, direct service, policy advocacy, and scholarship. She’s a social worker with a bachelor’s (1976), master’s (1978), and Ph.D. (1998) from the School of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University.

She’s worked in staff, board, and consulting roles with organizations that focus on family housing, AIDS housing, senior housing, housing for people with disabilities, and homeless services.

Sheila was the 1996-97 Social Work Congressional Fellow, where she served on the Democratic staff of the Housing Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee.

She’s an adjunct faculty member for the VCU School of Social Work and for George Mason University Department of Social Work, teaching social policy, social justice, policy advocacy, and community and organizational practice.

Sheila’s presenting as part of the Federal Housing Policy panel.

Register for the conference online now!

Housing conference: Workshop focus revised

Posted Sep 27, 2010 at 9:05 am by Craig Bailey

We’ve changed the focus of one of the workshops coming up at the Vermont Statewide Housing Conference:

“Challenging Changes for Housing” will still cover the Challenges for Change legislation, but will no longer focus on Washington County.

We’ll discuss the legislation and what housing providers can expect in the future. The Deputy Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Human Services will provide an agency overview and then focus will shift to the Department of Corrections and its plans for transitional housing.

A community-based housing provider will respond to the agency’s plans.

Register for the conference online.

AP: More than half exit foreclosure-relief program

Posted Sep 23, 2010 at 11:21 am by Craig Bailey

The Associated Press reports that, as of last month, approximately 680,000 of homeowners who entered the federal government’s mortgage relief program, have been disqualified. That’s 51% of all participants, up from 48% the previous month.

Those figures, released by the U.S. Treasury Department yesterday, might reflect the complex nature of fixing the nation’s housing crisis.

Read the AP story online.

Tighter credit standards may thwart community stabilization

Posted Sep 22, 2010 at 2:32 pm by Craig Bailey

Formerly foreclosed upon, newly renovated homes might sit vacant as a result of stricter credit standards following the foreclosure crisis. That’s the concern reflected in a survey conducted by NeighborWorks at a recent meeting in Philadelphia.

Two dozen non-profit organizations representing $740 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds were polled.

“The concern is real and it is across the board,” said Thomas Deyo, Deputy Director of National Initiatives and Applied Research at NeighborWorks America.

“A handful of non-profits have forged effective relationships with local and regional first mortgage lenders, but the majority of non-profit real estate businesses that are in these communities never anticipated that the credit market would be so tough for their homebuyers.

“Lenders are right to be prudent with credit to avoid the kind of crisis from which the housing market now is emerging,” he added, “but the pendulum has swung a bit too far. And to make revitalized neighborhoods a reality, it has to swing a little bit back the other way.”

Many of the non-profits attending the seminar also have homeownership education programs and have worked with homebuyers to ensure they understand the responsibilities of homeownership. Based on a review of the homeowners who’ve fallen into foreclosure the past few years and are receiving foreclosure prevention counseling, a minority ever had homeownership education or counseling.

“Homebuyers who go through these programs are excellent mortgage risks,” said Patrick Morrissy, Executive Director, Housing and Neighborhood Development Services Inc., in Orange, N.J.

“We want these homes sold to a buyer who can keep the home for the long-term. But mortgage financing — while not impossible — has become increasingly difficult for low- and moderate-income homebuyers to obtain.”

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