Posted by: Leslie Black-Plumeau on July 7, 2015 - 10:41am

The lack of affordable housing in the U.S. has become a “silent crisis” says a new report from the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families.  The foundation, formed just last month, is led by a  bi-partisan group of business leaders, policy makers and financial and housing experts. 

“A legacy of the Great Recession, the dire state of housing in our country is a “silent” crisis often overlooked by policymakers, ignored by the media and underestimated by the general public, despite deeply impacting millions of families and clouding our nation’s future” the report explains.

A testimonial video accompanies the report, which is set in New Hampshire but could easily be based on Vermont’s housing market.  Both states suffer from high home prices, high levels of student debt and low rental vacancies.

The video also highlights the critical need for programs administered by VHFA-- the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program and tools for making home buying more affordable.


Posted by: lori on July 2, 2015 - 10:15am

Executive Director Sarah Carpenter announced Joseph Brouard, Richmond, VT, has joined VHFA as SQL Server Report Writer and Analyst. 

Joe has previously worked at IBM for 14 years and most recently at Norwich University for 8.

Posted by: Leslie Black-Plumeau on July 1, 2015 - 9:24am

Tony Hernandez, USDA Rural Development’s (RD) Rural Housing Service Administrator, visited VHFA to share his plans for RD’s programs and policies for the future. The roundtable format brought together 20 housing leaders from across the state including Rutland, the Northeast Kingdom, and northwestern Vermont.

RD administers two mortgage programs that help rural Vermonters buy homes: the single-family direct loan program and the guarantee program that helps homebuyers who do not have 20% of the home’s price for a down payment. Mr. Hernandez discussed his agency’s work to improve processing and increase automation, which he hopes will improve the current servicing backlog on existing loans as well as speed up processing new loans. He also described similar automation improvements for new multifamily rental properties applying for RD funding.

At the national level, RD is facing a preservation crisis as many of the affordable housing units it funded years ago become at risk of converting to market-rate housing. Thankfully, Vermont’s housing policies as well as the stewardship of the state’s housing leaders and non-profit housing network has limited the impact of this crisis within Vermont. That said, there is at least one property just over the Vermont border that may strain the housing market in border towns if it converts to market rate in the near future.

The roundtable meeting at VHFA was just one stop in Mr. Hernandez’ full day of Vermont activities which also included a visit to Colchester to celebrate National Homeownership Month as well as a visit to recent housing developments in Shelburne to promote a new pilot program that supports lending for energy efficient manufactured housing.

By Maura Collins, VHFA Director of Administration and Policy.

Pictured (from L to R):  Tony Hernandez, Rural Housing Service; Sarah Carpenter, VHFA; David Adams, VHFA; Josh Hanford, VT Department of Housing and Community Development; and Polly Nichol, VT Housing and Conservation Board.



Posted by: Marina Demas on June 25, 2015 - 2:52pm

A new Appraisal Institute Registry has come out listing both Vermont residential and commercial appraisers who have successfully completed the Appraisal Institute's Valuation of Sustainable Buildings Professional Development Program. Residential appraisers must complete 28 hours of course work and pass three exams while commercial appraisers have to complete 35 hours of course work and also pass three exams.

According to Vermont Green Home Alliance (VGHA), the Registry "enables lenders or their Appraisal Management Company to draw appraisers from a pool of qualified appraisers on a high performance and/or "green" home." The Appraisal Institute Registry really gives a lender's purchasing agent or Appraisal Management Company more self-confidence when hiring an appraiser. 

This new registry is giving appraisers an important new skill set. VGHA writes, "Ever increasing numbers of new homes and significantly renovated homes in Vermont are achieving energy efficiency levels well beyond what has existed in our traditional housing stock and the need for this training is great." An appraiser does not have to be an Appraisal Institute member to be on this registry. It is open to appraisers that meet all of the requirements. Take a look at the registry and learn more about what the program has to offer. 

Posted by: Marina Demas on June 19, 2015 - 9:22pm

The Brattleboro Co-op / Canal & Main Apartments building received the 2015 Creating Community Action Award through HUD Secretary's Housing and Community Design Awards. This site, located in downtown Brattleboro, was redeveloped by the Brattleboro Food Co-op, Windham & Windsor Housing Trust and HousingVermont. VHFA provided Housing Tax Credits as well as long term financing on the project.

The new four-story building provides retail and office space for the Co-op on the first floors as well as 24 affordable apartments on the upper two floors. The Creating Community Connection Award recognizes projects that incorporate housing within other community services for revitalization or planned growth. Windham & Windsor Housing Trust Executive Director Connie Snow says, "The Cooperative Building, with its retail store and housing, has had such a positive impact on the downtown community since it opened."

HUD writes, "The building is a model of energy efficiency, using both conventional and innovative systems, such as heating the entire building with reclaimed waste heat from the store refrigerator system." These features cut energy costs by approximately 50 percent and saves 21 tons of CO2 emissions a year. Read more about the Brattleboro Co-op / Canal & Main Apartments building.