Housing Matters blog

‘Tis the season

Posted Nov 30, 2011 at 3:01 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau

Although we look for ways to give back to the community throughout the year, VHFA staff have stepped things up a bit during the holiday season.    

The first of the agency’s recent efforts was a Thanksgiving food drive for the Chittenden County Emergency Food Shelf.    A total of 120 pounds of food, ranging from frozen turkeys to canned goods, was donated by the staff. 

Several days later marked the annual VHFA Pie Auction, in which the culinary prowess of staff reaped proceeds of $245 for the United Way of Chittenden County. 

A third event will be a mitten drive for the King Street Center.   VHFA hopes to collect enough mittens to stuff with candy for 75 children and teens attending the Center’s holiday party.   Your donations of new mittens, gloves, hats, or scarves to our office on the corner of King and St. Paul Streets in Burlington are heartily welcome any time before Friday, December 9.    Also, for every new fan that joins our Facebook page by December 8, VHFA will donate a pair of mittens in your honor. 

Census shows senior population growing much faster than total population

Posted Nov 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau

The U.S. population 65 and older is now the largest in terms of size and percent of the population, compared with any previous census, according to a new 2010 Census brief released today from the U.S. Census Bureau on the nation’s older population. The group grew at a faster rate than the total population between 2000 and 2010.  

Vermont experienced this growth rate disparity to an even greater extent.  While the state’s total population grew by only 2.8% between 2000 and 2010, it’s population aged 65 and older grew by 17.5%. and the population aged 85 and older grew by 28%. 

Timothy Collins joins VHFA as SQL Report Writer and Analyst

Posted Nov 30, 2011 at 9:04 am by Leslie Black-Plumeau

Executive Director Sarah Carpenter announced Monday that Tim Collins of Burlington, VT has joined VHFA as SQL Report Writer and Analyst.

Tim holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering Technology earned at Vermont Technical College.  He brings vast information technology experience ranging from application development to database management and web design.

Rick Jean, VHFA’s Manager of Information Technology, commented, “we look forward to having Tim round out our IT team, specializing in SQL database management and report writing.”

Welcome, Tim!

Champlain Housing Trust wins award to help expand affordable lending program

Posted Nov 29, 2011 at 1:37 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau

Our friends across the street at the Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) were selected as a winner of the TD Charitable Foundation’s 2011 Housing for Everyone competition, one of 25 selected nationally out of a pool of about 500 submissions.

The Housing for Everyone award comes with a $100,000 grant to advance CHT’s efforts to provide and sustain affordable housing in northwestern Vermont. The grant specifically will be dedicated to an expansion of the Champlain Housing Loan Fund, CHT’s affordable lending arm.

Read more.

Eldridge highlights elderly’s housing needs

Posted Nov 29, 2011 at 10:39 am by Leslie Black-Plumeau

Nancy Eldridge

According to Nancy Eldridge, Executive Director of Vermont’s Cathedral Square Corporation, programs that combine funding sources and care management approaches can provide cost effective, compassionate, and sustainable housing and care for low-income elderly people.    

Cathedral Square’s innovative SASH program (Support and Services at Home) is just such a program, as Eldridge describes in Sunday’s Burlington Free Press

Eldridge recently received the highest honor awarded by LeadingAge for her dedication to coordinating housing and health care services for Vermont’s elderly population, including her role in creating the SASH program.  LeadingAge is a national association of 5,600 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging.   

Read more about her award and Cathedral Square Corporation. 





Mittens, gloves, hats & scarves needed!

Posted Nov 18, 2011 at 9:46 am by Leslie Black-Plumeau

It’s time for VHFA’s annual mitten drive for Burlington’s King Street Center and we need your help.  Donations of new mittens, gloves, hats, or scarves  to our office on the corner of King and St. Paul Streets in Burlington are heartily welcome any time before Friday, December 9.  Waterproof gloves and mittens are especially appreciated. 

There’s also another way to help.  For every new fan that joins our Facebook page by December 8, VHFA will donate a pair of mittens.  Facebook users can visit the VHFA page, and become fans by clicking the “Like” button at the top of the page.

VHFA staff will  stuff each donated item with candy in time to have them distributed to the children and teens at the Center’s upcoming holiday party. 

The King Street Center is a non-profit community organization that promotes personal and social wellness through educational, recreational, and social programs to give children and families the life-building skills necessary for healthy and productive futures.  The center serves more than 500 children and families each year.

Burlington’s Thayer Commons wins federal grant

Posted Nov 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau

A $4.8 million federal housing grant for the Burlington Thayer Commons project was announced yesterday.   The grant will support the addition of 28 rent-subsidized units to the project.   

VHFA is providing 4% (bond) low-income housing tax credits as well as construction financing for the project. 

The location of the project on Burlington’s North Avenue where the Department of Motor Vehicles once operated will offer seniors access to public transit, shopping, health care and other services. 

The development includes apartments rented at market rates and affordable senior and family apartments.   A total of 113 apartments are now under construction.

Read the article in today’s Burlington Free Press .

Your comments needed on Chittenden County ECOS housing and other reports

Posted Nov 17, 2011 at 2:43 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau

Reports analyzing Chittenden County’s housing needs, economic development, natural resources,  transportation, land use, education, public health and energy issues have been completed for the ECOS project.   All communities, organizations and residents are encouraged to review and comment on these reports by December 31 through the ECOS website.   VHFA prepared the housing needs report in collaboration with ECOS project partners.   

ECOS stands for Environment, Community, Opportunity and Sustainability and is a once-in-a generation opportunity to provide the framework for a more healthy, inclusive and prosperous community.  The project is funded by a $1 million Housing and Urban Development, Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Highway Administration grant whose ultimate intent is to steer limited financial resources toward sustainable growth.  The project builds on existing town and regional planning work.  The Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission is spearheading the project, along with over 60 diverse organizations representing the community, and is looking for your ideas and actions that will help shape the future of the region.   

What will be the most critical step in this ECOS project is not the planning, however. Once the planning and recommendations are completed, the implementation stage begins. As a part of the grant, there are implementation funds available to turn ideas into practice. As the ECOS project begins its larger outreach phase after the final reports in 2012, getting input and support from municipalities, organizations, employers and residents will be critical to realizing success.

Investing in the future of Northgate apartments

Posted Nov 16, 2011 at 4:09 pm by Leslie Black-Plumeau

VHFA, the New Northgate Housing, LLC, and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) came together yesterday to sign the legal documents firming up a new and improved financing structure for the Burlington apartment complex.

The new loan provided by VHFA for $13.265 million is the largest in the Agency’s history. The new loan is being used to pay off existing debt and to finance $5.2 million in improvements, including new roofs and boilers, weatherization, and some kitchen and bathroom upgrades. The weatherization and new boilers are expected to reduce the cost of heating for residents.

These apartments overlooking Lake Champlain in Burlington’s New North End are unique in several ways. Northgate is owned by New Northgate Housing LLC, which is comprised of the Northgate Residents Ownership Corporation, a resident-controlled organization. Northgate is also the largest single subsidized apartment development in the state, with 336 units of housing, and is perpetually affordable, by virtue of a Vermont Housing & Conservation Board Housing Subsidy Covenant.

Northgate is truly a mixed-income, diverse, multi-generational community. With incomes of 30% through 95% of area median income, Northgate’s 1,000 residents are from Vermont and 14 countries, Its longest standing resident moved in 40 years ago, and residents range in age from 1 to 95. A full time on-site youth services coordinator offers popular, successful programs.

Northgate’s financial restructuring involved many legal and financial complexities. A nearly $6 million HUD loan came due and a restructuring proposal needed to be reviewed and approved by HUD. In addition, a capital needs assessment outlined a scope of work that required more resources than the project’s existing reserves. Further complexities involved transferring the ownership of the ground lease, combining two HUD projects into one from an operating and financing basis, and completing a market study required for HUD’s approval of a new rent structure to service the new debt (while maintaining affordability). Finally, the financing needed to be structured in a way that complied with requirements of the U.S. Treasury’s New Issue Bond Program in order to obtain low 4.5% fixed rate financing.

The vision of several key players 18 months ago, including Phil Holmes in HUD’s Manchester office who died in a tragic accident in July, and the tenacity since then of VHFA, Maloney Properties Inc. (Northgate’s management agent), and Northgate Residents Ownership Corporation, and their development and legal consultants led to yesterday’s monumental accomplishments.

Thanks to these individuals and organizations, Northgate will be preserved as a mixed income community, with needed improvements and sufficient reserves to cover future capital needs.


Left:  New Northgate Housing LLC authorized signer Carol Jaramillo with Attorney Celia Daly, signing closing documents

Right: Northgate Closing, L to R, Kathy Luce (Maloney Properties), Hidden – Carol Jaramillo (New Northgate Housing LLC) Celia Daly (Borrower’s Attorney), Brenda Howley (VHFA Legal Assistant), George Demas (VHFA General Counsel), Cindy Reid (VHFA Development Underwriter), Mark Seltzer (Acting Director of HUD Manchester)



Managing the needs of VT’s homeless on VPR at noon

Posted Nov 16, 2011 at 10:57 am by Leslie Black-Plumeau

Jane Lindholm at Vermont Public Radio (VPR) will discuss Vermont’s homeless today at noon and again at 7PM.  

The recent Occupy protests in Burlington brought to light problems of mental illness and substance abuse among some homeless people, but advocates say that doesn’t tell the whole story. In today’s story, VPR looks at the entrenched issues facing some of Vermont’s homeless population and the resources to help them.  Guests are Matt Young, supervisor of the Howard Center’s Street Outreach Team in Burlington, and Rita Markley, executive director of COTS, the Committee On Temporary Shelter.

The story was produced by VPR’s Patti Daniels. 

Read more.

subscribe to the housing matters rss feed wordpress