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BURLINGTON—Vermont Housing Finance Agency’s Policy and Planning Manager, Maura Collins, received a Vermont Business Magazine Rising Star award at last night’s annual awards dinner in South Burlington, Vermont. Rising Star awards recognize 40 of Vermont’s most accomplished young leaders, all of whom are younger than 40. With 120 nominations this year, judges faced tough selection decisions. Selection is based on nominees’ commitment to business growth, professional excellence and involvement in their communities. “I’m humbled to be included when I see the caliber of the other winners and judges,” Collins said. Collins has led VHFA’s policy and planning initiatives for the past six years and prior to that forged new roads for the agency in housing research and data sharing. “Among all the players who build, operate, and finance housing, Maura has emerged as one of the state’s most effective coalition builders and communicators,” commented Sarah Carpenter, VHFA’s Executive Director. Carpenter noted that “Maura’s focus and passion for an issue as critical as affordable housing has benefited low and moderate-income residents across the state.” Collins’ also manages the biennial statewide housing conference for hundreds of professionals from the profit, non-profit, and government sectors which will be held next Thursday, November 15th. In addition to her work at VHFA, Collins teaches housing policy at the University of Vermont. “Few colleagues realize how young she is due to her deep expertise and professionalism,” Carpenter explained. VHFA is a non-profit agency created in 1974 by the Vermont Legislature to finance and promote affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since its inception, the Agency has helped approximately 27,000 Vermont households with affordable mortgages and financed the development of approximately 8,400 affordable rental units.