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VHFA News

Posted by: Will White on February 7, 2018 - 12:24pm

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s Community Development Advance (CDA) program offers members an excellent way to support economic development and affordable housing in their communities.

FHLB Boston offers free, one-hour webinars to help you learn more about how the CDA can help grow your business. Topics include financing options, eligibility criteria, online application navigation tips, and eligibility reporting data requirements. You can ask as many questions as you like during this live presentation, all without leaving your office.

Register now for one of the three upcoming webinars:

Wednesday, March 21

Tuesday, June 26

Tuesday, September 18

Each webinar runs from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to join the webinar.

If you have any questions, please contact Paulette Vass at paulette.vass@fhlbboston.com or 617-292-9792. 

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Posted by: Heather Kvasnak on February 5, 2018 - 11:09am

Buying a home is a complex process and often one of the largest financial investments made by a consumer in their lifetime.  Homebuyer education provides consumers with valuable insight and tools to better navigate the home purchase process.  The Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) requires homebuyer education and counseling for all consumers obtaining a VHFA loan to ensure that every consumer is well-informed and prepared for homeownership.

VHFA proudly partners with both the local non-profit NeighborWorks Homeownership Centers here in Vermont and eHome America to provide homebuyer education and counseling.  The Homeownership Centers, Champlain Housing Trust, RuralEdge, Downstreet, Windham & Windsor Housing Trust and NeighborWorks of Western Vermont all provide valuable financial readiness services within our communities to equip consumers with a blueprint to realize the dream of homeownership.  eHome America hosts the online education course for VHFA and the Homeownership Centers, online enrollment can be access here: https://www.vhfa.org/homebuyers/education.

A new homeowner recently shared, "My kids and I were looking for a new start on life and it could not have been possible without all the hard work from the people at RuralEdge...We have a place to call our own now because of our hard work, dedication and guidance we received."

Completing homebuyer education early in the home buying process allows consumers to put what is learned to practical use from the onset:

  • Calculate how much how you can afford
  • Mortgage and home buying terminology
  • Home buying process and key milestones, like when a purchase and sale agreement is signed, when a home inspection occurs and what is a lender appraisal
  • Introduces budget planning resources to use once you are a homeowner

Consumers have the option of selecting an online or in-person course.  Online course enrollment can be accessed at https://www.vhfa.org/homebuyers/education.  In-person course schedules and enrollment are available by directly contacting one of the Homeownership Centers.

Learn more about homebuyer education today by visiting https://www.vhfa.org/homebuyers/education or exploring the education opportunities with the NeighborWorks Homeownership Centers located in Vermont:

Posted by: Heather Kvasnak on January 30, 2018 - 11:42am

The Vermont Bankers Association (VBA)  is hosting the 2nd Annual Women in Leadership Conference on Wednesday March 7, 2018 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel & Conference Center in Montpelier.  VHFA is a proud sponsor of this event that is open to men, women and all levels of staff at any VBA member institution.

The conference provides an opportunity for all VBA member participants to network with colleagues and business leaders as well as learn about emerging industry topics. 

To learn more or register for this event please access additional details here.

Posted by: Mia Watson on January 25, 2018 - 9:55am

The Vermont Mayors Coalition (VMC) met at the State House yesterday to announce their legislative priorities for 2018. One of their primary goals was to increase the availability and quality of affordable housing.  To that end, VMC supports a $125,000 tax credit increase for the Vermont Down Payment Assistance Program, which is administered by Vermont Housing Finance Agency.

The Vermont Down Payment Assistance Program was established by the Legislature in 2015. The program is funded investors in the Vermont Affordable Housing Tax Credit. The program provides first-time homebuyers with up to $5,000 in 0% interest loans to help with down payment and closing costs. Although the program has been very successful in lowering barriers to homeownership, demand for the program has exceeded initial projections. To meet this need, VMC has recommend an increase of $125,000 in State housing tax credits.

“Continued investments in housing and economic development will ensure we are a state where our residents love to live, our businesses are able to grow, and our communities thrive,” said Winooski Mayor Seth Leonard.

Vermont mayors’ attention to housing mirrors concerns of mayors nationwide, the majority of whom rated the price of housing as the main driver of people out of their cities.

Other housing recommendations from VMC include a $250,000 increase in downtown and village center tax credits to fund rehabilitation of downtown buildings and a $625,000 Homeowner Tax Credit pilot program to improve the quality and quantity of housing in and around downtowns and village centers. 

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Posted by: Mia Watson on January 23, 2018 - 1:31pm

The Vermont House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs is holding hearings on rental housing health and safety issues. The Committee will hear from tenants, advocates, and health and housing experts on their concerns regarding unsafe rental conditions and gaps in health code enforcement.  

This action comes as a new report has been released from Vermont Legal Aid, documenting renter difficulties in resolving health and safety issues with landlords. The report finds that many tenants are not fully aware of their rights, and that fear of eviction and lack of affordable housing alternatives frequently prevent tenants from reporting health code violations. It also reports that town health officers are often unpaid volunteers who lack the experience and time to adequately address health code violations. The report calls for a statewide system to register and certify rental properties, increased penalties for health code violations, professionalization of the role of town health officers, and the creation of more affordable rental housing.

36% of Vermont’s rental housing stock was built before 1940, which is much higher than the national average, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Older homes are often poorly insulated and have ineffective heating systems. Safety issues such as asbestos, lead paint, rodent infestations, and leaks that can cause mold are also more likely to be encountered in older dwellings.

Eight years ago, the Legislature established a Rental Housing Safety and Habitability Study Committee to study these issues. The committee was chaired by VHFA’s Executive Director, Sarah Carpenter. The committee issued a report with some of the same recommendations that Vermont Legal Aid now proposes. "Sorry to say that not a lot of them have been implemented in the last seven years," remarked Carpenter. "It's time to resurrect them."

The House hearings are scheduled to continue this Thursday, January 25th.   

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