At the biennial Vermont Statewide Housing Conference on November 15, two statewide leaders were honored for their service and achievements. Representative Helen Head received the “Legislative Housing Hero” award for her years of commitment to affordable housing. Head has served as South Burlington’s representative to the Vermont House of Representatives since 2003 and as Chair of the House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs since 2007. She also helped lead Project Home (now HomeShare Vermont) and the Joint Urban Ministries Project (JUMP). Head also volunteers with and on behalf of Hospice of the Champlain Valley, Dismas House and Small Potatoes.
Polly Nichol of Montpelier received the “Innovation and Impact Housing Hero” award for 28 years of service and vision at the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. As the first Housing Director of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Nichol helped build the capacity of the statewide network of non-profits by investing in 12,000 homes and worked with Habitat for Humanity to support more than 108 homes. Nichol also led Vermont’s housing preservation work and initiated and developed statewide lead paint and AmeriCorps programs.
Housing Hero awards have been granted by the Vermont Statewide Housing Conference since 2002. Previous winners include former state Senator Susan Bartlett, Representative Martha Heath, Vermont’s Mobile Home Project and Governor Madeleine Kunin. Coordinated by Vermont Housing Finance Agency on behalf of a multi-agency planning committee, the Vermont Statewide Housing Conference draws 400-500 professionals together from across the state to collaborate and improve housing opportunities for Vermonters.