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Vermont's first recovery funds already released

More than $14 million of economic aid funds have already been released to Vermont, less than 10 days after President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The funds are directed to state and local agencies through the:

Vermont to receive $2.6 million for affordable housing

Representatives from Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA), Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB) and Central Vermont Community Land Trust (CVCLT) announced Vermont will receive $2.6 million from the MacArthur Foundation.

The foundation's investment — a $600,000 grant to VHCB and a $2 million loan to VHFA — recognizes Vermont’s longstanding commitment to the preservation of rental housing.

Used in conjunction with other investments, the funding will preserve thousands of affordable apartments in Vermont over the next decade.

VHFA loans eligible for tax credit

Vermont Housing Finance Agency and other organizations that fund mortgage loans using tax-exempt housing bonds have a little something to cheer about.

VHFA loans are now eligible for a Home Buyer Tax Credit, as part of the recently-passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

VHFA comments on Obama plan

VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter was interviewed for a couple of TV news stories regarding President Obama's economic recovery package.

Fox 44 in Colchester and WCAX Channel 3 in Burlington spoke with Sarah following the president's talk in Arizona yesterday.

"It's very easy to blame homeowners who may have gotten in over their head in debt, but it's even a greater cost if we have to push them out of their homes and foreclose upon them," Sarah told Channel 3.

VHFA to restore, sell foreclosed homes

VHFA will soon undertake a new initiative to acquire and restore foreclosed homes, before selling them to income-eligible Vermonters.

Vermont's economic projections

Uncertainty is a consistent theme among economists these days, with each round of projections for Vermont's plight worse than the last.

Columnist Robert Samuelson explained to the audience at a Vermont economy conference in early January the only other national economic experience like this was the spiraling inflation of the 1970s because, like now, people could not see where it would end.

Vermont foreclosure rate lowest in nation

According to an article that appeared on bloomberg.com yesterday, Vermont has the lowest foreclosure rate in the nation: 0.04% of all homes in the state.

"Vermont is avoiding the foreclosure crisis plaguing homeowners across the U.S., perhaps owing to traditions of thrift, modesty and self-reliance — bolstered by laws that protect buyers and land," writes Brian Sullivan.

Read the entire article at the Bloomberg site.

Help make sure housing is part of recovery plan

The Federal government is currently working on an economic recovery plan that could amount to $1 trillion.

It's important for the future of affordable housing and the fight to end homelessness that housing is included in that plan.

Our friends at the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) suggest you contact your U.S. Representatives and Senators and encourage them to support a plan that includes several housing-related elements:

Grants help prevent foreclosure

The Rutland Herald reports today that the Rockingham Area Community Land Trust and NeighborWorks of Western Vermont received grants to expand their foreclosure prevention counseling programs.

The money comes from the Federal Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

The article quotes Bruce Whitney, Director of the NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center of Southeastern Vermont; and Tom Candon, Deputy Commissioner of the state's Banking Division and a VHFA Commissioner.

Economy down? Blame the poor

The Burlington Free Press published an opinion piece from Charles Lief of Milton, Vt., a few days ago.

Read the full article here.


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