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VHFA News

Posted by: VHFA on 8/5/2008

Watch for our 2008 Vermont Statewide Housing Conference brochure, hitting the mail later this week.

The conference is coming to South Burlington on Tuesday, November 18.

Registrations are open now. You can register online, or complete the form contained in the brochure and mail it in.

Registration fee is just $40, but goes up to $50 Oct. 18.

Posted by: VHFA on 7/31/2008

We thought Champlain Housing Trust's winning an international award from the United Nations's UN HABITAT earlier this week was pretty big news. (Read our previous post about the award.) Apparently, we weren't the only ones.

The Burlington Free Press writes in an editorial published this morning, the award "is a timely recognition of a worthy effort when affordable housing is such a critical issue in Vermont."

Read the entire editorial that appeared in today's paper.

Posted by: VHFA on 7/30/2008

Today President Bush signed into law the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HR 3221). The measure provides housing organizations with a number of new tools to help slow home foreclosures and finance affordable houses and apartments.

The new legislation is a major step forward for Vermonters and the nation, according to our Executive Director Sarah Carpenter, but the work isn't finished yet.

"The provisions to help homeowners in trouble and to stabilize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac got a lot of attention recently," Sarah said, "but the benefits of this legislation reach much farther.

"A new housing trust fund is created by this bill, and the federal government has given housing finance agencies more resources to support affordable housing. But we need to work on many details with our Congressional delegation and our partners in Washington to make sure we can use these resources most effectively."

Read our full press release about the Housing and Economic Recovery Act.

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Posted by: VHFA on 7/30/2008

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is presenting two free events in our region in August.

"Building Green for Rural Communities" is a day-and-a-half roundtable and tour taking place starting at 2 p.m. Aug. 11.

"Single-Family Housing Development" is a two-day event running Aug. 13-14. Sponsored by HUD, it's open to CHDOs and many CHDO-eligible organizations.

Both events are free and will take place at the Holiday Inn in Holyoke, Mass. HAC is offering up to $500 scholarships to organizations to help with travel and lodging.

You can register at www.ruralhome.org. For information contact Johanna de Graffenreid, HAC Training Coordinator, at (202) 842-8600, x105, johanna@ruralhome.org.

Posted by: admin on 7/30/2008

BURLINGTON—New federal housing legislation signed into law by President Bush this morning is a major step forward for Vermonters and the nation, according to VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter, but the work isn’t finished yet. “The provisions to help homeowners in trouble and to stabilize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac got a lot of attention recently,” Carpenter said, “but the benefits of this legislation reach much farther. A new housing trust fund is created by this bill, and the federal government has given housing finance agencies more resources to support affordable housing. But we need to work on many details with our Congressional delegation and our partners in Washington to make sure we can use these resources most effectively.” The new legislation, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, was signed into law early Wednesday morning. The measure represents years of work coming to fruition as the country’s housing and credit markets have slowed considerably. “Big thanks go to Senators Leahy and Sanders, to Congressman Welch, to former Senator Jeffords and to their staffers for all their work on this bill over the years,” Carpenter said. “Vermont’s Congressional delegation has solid in its support of affordable housing.” The new legislation includes temporary increases in bonding authority and tax credits for housing finance agencies, Carpenter said. VHFA sells bonds to raise the capital it needs to make loans to consumers and developers, and federal housing tax credits help attract private capital into affordable housing developments. At this point, Carpenter added, it is difficult to predict the exact impact these new resources will have. The bill also includes nearly $4 billion in grants to states and communities for redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed properties. Carpenter said Vermont’s Senators were instrumental in making sure Vermont would receive a fair share of these grants; however, she added the rulemaking process that would control how these funds are used will be crucial in determining their effectiveness in Vermont. “We will be working closely with our delegation and with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to create the best framework for this program,” Carpenter said. “We would like to be able to use some of this money to help households who are at risk of foreclosure, rather than only looking at properties who’ve already been foreclosed-upon.” The bill also creates a housing trust fund to provide grants to states to increase rental and home-ownership opportunities for low-income families and a first-time homebuyer tax credit, Carpenter said. There is an increase in homeless assistance and money for housing counseling. Another part of the bill creates a new program to allow some people to renegotiate their existing mortgages and replace them with new, fixed-rate loans. Some homeowners under the new bill will also receive a federal tax deduction of up to $1,000, and seniors who are considering reverse mortgages will also receive some benefits. “We have a lot of new tools,” Carpenter said, “now we have to make sure we use them to give Vermont and Vermonters the most benefit.” 

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