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VHFA News

By: Mia Watson on 12/14/2018

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce recently named Leo O’Brien Jr. and Daniel J. O’Brien, founder of O’Brien Brothers real estate development, as the 2018 Citizens of the Year. Among their many other accomplishments, the brothers have a long history of investment in affordable housing in Vermont.

In the late 1970's, O’Brien Brothers was one of the first real estate developers to participate in the Section 8 program offered by the federal government through VHFA. At that time, the program was new, complicated, and considered risky by many. Country Park was one of the first projects built by the company with VHFA as a partner.  The South Burlington affordable apartment complex continues to serve very low income seniors today. The O’Brien brothers are responsible for much of the Burlington area’s affordable rental housing stock. 

As the company more recently shifted some of their development interest to workforce housing and decided to sell some of their affordable properties, they worked very closely with VHFA to responsibly transition those properties to owners to ensure long term affordability and protection of the residents who lived there.

VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter remarked, “I have worked with Leo and Dan for over 40 years and know what solid and caring business people they are and how committed they are to the Chittenden County community and to the State of Vermont. They have provided outstanding service to the community and continue to work on that through the values they have set for their family business.”

Photo from O'Brien Brothers

By: Mia Watson on 12/12/2018

Earlier this fall, VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Vermont Housing Managers Association (VHMA) for her lifetime of service in affordable housing.

Carpenter has worked in affordable housing management throughout her career. Prior to her role as Executive Director of VHFA, she led Cathedral Square Corporation as its Executive Director for 15 years and worked with the Champlain Valley Agency on Aging on housing issues. Sarah was a founding member of VHMA and has served in a variety of roles, including President and Treasurer.

VHMA supports a network of affordable housing management organizations across Vermont, offering advanced training about current regulations and best practices for housing service providers.  VHFA works closely with housing managers as part of its responsibility to provide oversight to state and federally funded housing developments. VHFA monitors housing projects for financial viability, property maintenance, program compliance, and long-term affordability.

Photo courtesy of Karen Pike Photography

By: Mia Watson on 12/12/2018

Once again, VHFA is hosting a virtual auction to benefit United Way. Online bidding is now live.  

The theme of this year’s auction is "Vermont Made". The auction features over 75 items from Vermont companies and artisans, donated by staff and local businesses. This is an amazing opportunity to support a worthy cause, highlight the work of talented Vermonters, and finish your holiday shopping stress-free. 

All proceeds from the auction will go directly to the United Way of Northwest Vermont whose mission is to build a stronger Northwest Vermont by mobilizing our community to improve people’s lives. United Way brings together individuals, nonprofits, businesses, and government entities to fight for the education, financial stability and health of every person in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties.

Now it is time to bid! The auction closes at 4:00 pm on Monday, December 17th.

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By: Mia Watson on 12/7/2018

Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) has issued a Request for Proposals to provide underwriter services for VHFA’s bond issuance.

The details of the RFP can be found on our website. The deadline to submit a proposal is Friday, January 4, 2019.

Proposals and questions should be directed to finrfp@vhfa.org. We will be posting your questions related to the RFP, and our answers, on the RFP page.

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By: Mia Watson on 12/5/2018

New estimates from the ACTION Campaign demonstrate the significant impact that the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit has had in Vermont, including creating and preserving over 7,000 affordable homes since 1986 and supporting nearly 8,000 jobs per year.

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit is the largest source of funding for publically-assisted housing development. These federal tax credits are awarded by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) to developers, who sell the credits to raise capital for construction. In exchange, developers set aside apartments for low-income households. These apartments are roughly affordable to households earning less than $40,000, for a family of four. The program has created over 3 million affordable housing units nationwide since it began in 1986.

The program is also an important source of economic development for Vermont, generating $296 million in local income and $754 million dollars in tax revenue stemming from the construction of the homes.

However, 39,000 Vermont households still pay over half their income towards housing costs. This makes it extremely challenging to afford other basic necessities like transportation, healthcare, childcare, and food. Most of the low-income households in Vermont do not receive housing assistance, from this or other housing programs. 

The ACTION Campaign (A Call To Invest in Our Neighborhoods) has released a fact sheet providing these figures. VHFA is a proud member of the campaign, which is a national coalition of over 2,200 national, state, and local organizations and businesses that have joined to call on Congress to protect and expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.

Currently, ACTION is supporting the bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, which would expand the program by 50% over five years, as well as by providing states with additional flexibility in tax credit allocation, streamlining financing, assisting development in rural communities, and supporting the preservation of existing affordable housing. According to ACTION, a 50% increase to the program would allow 903 additional affordable homes to be built in Vermont over the next ten years.

In addition to state fact sheets, ACTION provides a variety of resources to support advocacy, including letter-writing campaign materials, reports on pending legislation, and a list of other campaign members in Vermont.

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