Housing Matters blog

HUD money for housing education in Vermont

Posted Dec 29, 2010 at 3:13 pm by Craig Bailey

Nearly $77,000 is coming to Vermont from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help families find decent housing and to prevent future foreclosures.

The Central Vermont Community Action Council in Barre and Bennington-Rutland Opportunity Council in Rutland will share $76,882.73 in HUD grants.

“These organizations are on the front lines of helping families who are desperate to remain in their homes,” said HUD Sec. Shaun Donovan. “Now, more than ever, it’s crucial that we support these agencies that are working with struggling families on a one-to-one basis to manage their money, navigate the homebuying process, and secure their financial futures.”

The grants will assist families in becoming first-time homeowners and remaining homeowners after their purchase. HUD-approved counseling agencies provide homeownership counseling, and offer financial literacy training to renters and homeless individuals and families.

Vermont’s grants are part of $73 million HUD allocated nationwide.

Read more in HUD’s press release.

Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity earns national award

Posted Dec 29, 2010 at 8:43 am by Craig Bailey

charlotte homeGreen Mountain Habitat for Humanity has been given the Clarence Jordan Award for a home its building in Charlotte.

Habitat for Humanity International honors just two local chapters a year with the award. There are approximately 1,500 local Habitat affiliates nationwide.

Construction of the house, on Greenbush Road across from the Old Lantern, began in September. Builders are paying special attention to carbon-neutral construction concepts as specified by the Passive House Institute.

Read more about the award in today’s Burlington Free Press article and in The Charlotte Citizen.

(Rendering: Albert, Righter & Tittman Architects Inc., Boston)

Act 68 certification deadline for 2011

Posted Dec 28, 2010 at 8:31 am by Craig Bailey

We’ve posted the 2011 application deadline for Act 68 subsidized rental housing certification: Feb. 25.

Act 68 categorizes all Vermont properties as “homestead” or “non-homestead,” charging a higher tax rate for non-homestead properties.

Subsidized housing buildings are, by default, considered non-homestead properties under Act 68. Luckily, the law allows owners/managers of those properties to apply to reduce their assessment to reduce their tax burdens to something more akin to homestead status.

More details about Act 68, the process of applying for the subsidized rental housing designation, as well as a PDF application are all available online.

Season’s greetings from VHFA

Posted Dec 22, 2010 at 1:56 pm by Craig Bailey

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Vermont Census numbers in the news

Posted Dec 22, 2010 at 8:27 am by Craig Bailey

chip sawyerChip Sawyer from the Center for Rural Studies (CRS) at the University of Vermont appeared on TV and radio yesterday, talking about the release of the 2010 Census numbers. (See our post from yesterday: “Census: Vermont population up 2.8% over past decade.”)

Chip and CRS are partners with VHFA in the Vermont Housing Data Web site.

Read more:

Census: Vermont population up 2.8% over past decade

Posted Dec 21, 2010 at 1:23 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau

Vermont’s total population is 625,741, according to the first set of data released from the 2010 Census.

This represents an increase of 2.8% from the count in 2000 — a dramatic slowing of the population growth rate compared to the 8.2% growth between 1990 and 2000. Only six states grew more slowly than Vermont between 2000 and 2010.

Vermont continues to be the second smallest state in the country, behind Wyoming. Although these population counts will affect the number of representatives in the U.S. Congress from many states, Vermont’s single seat will remain unchanged.

More information is at the Census site.

Pearce named state treasurer

Posted Dec 21, 2010 at 8:29 am by Craig Bailey

beth pearceDeputy State Treasurer Beth Pearce of Barre will become the state’s new Treasurer next month. Governor-elect Peter Shumlin made the announcement yesterday.

Beth has 30 years of government finance experience in Vermont, Massachusetts and New York.

The Treasurer holds an ex officio position on VHFA’s Board of Commissioners. Beth has been current Treasurer Jeb Spaulding‘s designee on our Board of Commissioners since 2003.

Congratulations, Beth!

Shumlin appoints MacKay housing commissioner

Posted Dec 15, 2010 at 2:12 pm by Craig Bailey

noelle mackayGovernor-elect Peter Shumlin appointed Noelle MacKay (pictured) Commissioner of the Department of Economic, Housing and Community Affairs.

MacKay has been Executive Director of Smart Growth Vermont in Burlington for the past five years. The non-profit organization works to understand the factors changing Vermont, and develop creative land use and development policies.

Before that MacKay was Deputy Director of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association in New Jersey; and she directed the New Jersey Project for Municipal Excellence, which built partnerships among municipal officials and environmental advocates to improve the protection of water and related ecological resources.

Jennifer Hollar, a member of the Government and Public Affairs Group at Downs, Rachlin, Martin PLLC, will be Deputy Commissioner.

Hollar’s experience in housing and community development spans 25 years and includes service at the state, local and federal levels. She’s worked at the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Affairs, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and a municipal development organization in Washington, D.C.

“I am tremendously excited that we have been able to bring together a team with such diverse backgrounds and common interests to meet the challenges we face,” Shumlin said in a press release. “Our mission is to support economic development, while preserving Vermont’s heritage, promoting vibrant communities, and creating housing that is affordable for low and moderate income Vermonters.

“Noelle Mackay and Jennifer Hollar each bring a deep personal commitment to improving the lives of Vermonters. I thank them both for being willing to serve the state in this way.”

Economic, Housing and Community Affairs is part of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. Lawrence Miller was appointed Secretary of the Agency on Nov. 22. Patricia Moulton-Powden will become the Agency’s new Deputy Secretary.

Census Bureau releases new estimates about Vermont communities, residents

Posted Dec 15, 2010 at 1:24 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau

The Census Bureau released new estimates yesterday that provide information about the characteristics of residents and homes in every Vermont community during 2005-2009.

These estimates are based on the annual American Community Survey (ACS), which asks a sample of Vermonters questions about their home and household members living there.

Here’s a sample of the types of information collected through the ACS:

  • Total monthly housing costs
  • Household income during the prior 12 months
  • Number of people in the household
  • Type of fuel used to heat the home
  • Age of the household members
  • Whether the home is rented or owned

VHFA’s researchers are available to speak to members of the media about ACS data pertaining to Vermont’s housing market and the housing situations of low- and moderate-income people. Direct inquiries to Communications Coordinator Craig Bailey.

We’re currently reviewing the data and will share highlights as we complete our analyses. We’ll also be displaying many ACS estimates in the state, county and community profiles available at www.housingdata.org after we complete our next update in January 2011.

More information about this data source as well as direct links to the American Fact Finder ACS data querying tool are available through the Census Bureau website.

Due to the small size of the ACS sample in some Vermont communities, data users are advised to carefully consider the error ranges provided by the Census Bureau with each estimate.

Burlington fair housing presentation on Channel 17

Posted Dec 7, 2010 at 9:06 am by Craig Bailey

VHFA’s Maura Collins helped present the Burlington Community & Economic Development Office’s (CEDO) fair housing report to the Burlington City Council last night.

You can watch the meeting on Channel 17/CCTV Sunday night at 8. The station will eventually post streaming video of the meeting on its Web site.

The report was researched and written by VHFA Research Analyst Leslie Black-Plumeau and returning University of Pennsylvania’s Warton School intern Casey Klyszeiko, under Maura’s direction.

Channel 17 serves the communities of Burlington, South Burlington, Essex, Essex Junction, Winooski, Williston, St. George, and parts of Colchester.

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