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Posted by: Mia Watson on 10/26/2018

Vermont Resident Service Coordinators (VRSC) is hosting a training on “Smoke-free Housing Now: Checking in on the Challenges and Successes” on November 28, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the Royalton Academy Building, in South Royalton. This training is sponsored by Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA), Vermont Housing Managers Association (VHMA), and Burlington Housing Authority (BHA).

In the training, Burlington Housing Authority will share its experience as the first public housing authority in Vermont to implement a smoke-free policy. Staff from BHA will provide an overview of their implementation plan, resident engagement in the roll-out process, resident resources, and enforcement strategies.  The training will include a problem-solving session with attendees and facilitate discussion to support successful smoke-free housing policy development and compliance. 

The session is open to the public. Admission is $10 per person, payable at the door with cash, check or money order. VRSC and VHMA members are admitted free. Lunch is included for everyone. After the training, VRSC will hold its fall meeting from 1:00-2:00 pm.

Registration is required for this event. Contact Doug Hemmings at dhemmings@maloneyproperties.com with any questions.


Posted by: Mia Watson on 10/24/2018

Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) is seeking a Managing Director of Community Development. Named a “Best Small Place to Work in Vermont” for the past three years in a row, VHFA is looking for an individual who will help us to maintain our great reputation, and who demonstrates a strong work ethic, is creative, puts customers first, and works well both independently and as a team player.

In collaboration with Executive Management, this position will provide leadership in the development and implementation of the strategic goals and objectives of the Agency, develop and implement successful business plans for each program area of responsibility, monitor program risks and provide Agency-wide leadership.

VHFA offers a competitive salary and an excellent benefits package. The full position description and a summary of benefits is available at www.vhfa.org/careers. Please send cover letter, resume and references to HR@vhfa.org by 4:00 pm, November 9, 2018. Position will be open until filled.

VHFA is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to a diverse workplace. We highly encourage women, persons with disabilities, and people from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds to apply.

Posted by: Mia Watson on 10/23/2018

Taking place shortly after the midterm and statewide elections, the 2018 Vermont Statewide Housing Conference on November 13 and 14 will provide many opportunities to get your questions answered about how the election results will affect Vermont.

A legislative breakfast reception on Wednesday the 14th will allow conference attendees to network with state legislators as well as staff from the offices of all three Vermont federal legislators. The winner of the Vermont governor's race has also been invited to address the audience on their vision of housing in Vermont.

During the breakfast, the conference committee will announce the winners of the Housing Hero Awards. The Legislative Housing Hero Award is awarded to a state legislator who has demonstrated a commitment to affordable housing. Recent recipients have included former state representatives Helen Head and Martha Heath, and former state Senator Susan Bartlett.

Afterwards, a series of snap interviews will offer a detailed analysis of the likely direction of housing policy in the wake of the elections. At the federal level, Washington DC insiders Stockton Williams of the National Council of State Housing Agencies and David Lipsetz of the Housing Assistance Council will share their assessments of the impact of the midterm election on the political landscape and what, if any, major messages were made clear by the voting. At the state level, Rebecca Ramos of the Necrason Group will interview Mitzi Johnson, Vermont Speaker of the House, and Katie Buckley, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development, to discuss not only who won statewide office but also what the makeup of the Legislature will mean for top issues in 2019. 

You won't want to miss this opportunity to learn about the big topics for the coming legislative sessions and how they relate to housing, so register to attend today.


Posted by: Mia Watson on 10/23/2018

Earlier this month, Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) joined Downstreet Housing & Community Development in celebrating the completion of renovations of the Winooski River Apartments in Montpelier. The project was funded in part by VHFA, which awarded both state and federal tax credits as well as construction financing. This renovation allows Downstreet to preserve affordable, historic apartments while significantly improving the energy-efficiency and accessibility of the buildings.

Winooski River Apartments consists of three buildings at 11 Bailey Avenue, 15 Baldwin Street, and 37 Barre Street. The three buildings form part of the Montpelier Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The project earned over $400,000 in equity from federal historic preservation tax credits. The properties were originally purchased and renovated by Downstreet in 1998, which was also financed by loans and tax credits awarded by VHFA. This new renovation project improved the buildings’ structural stability, weatherization, energy efficiency, and ADA compliance, while preserving their historic character.

The three buildings will offer 15 mixed-income apartments, 13 of which will be reserved for low-income households.  The buildings’ downtown location will provide tenants with convenient access to transportation, services, and recreation. 

The $4.5 million renovation received over a quarter of its funding from VHFA, including $95,000 in federal 4% housing tax credits and $95,300 in state credits, which were sold to investors to raise an estimated total of $1.2 million in equity for construction. This project also received funding from Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) HOME program, the Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP), and Neighborworks.

Photo courtesy of Mike Rama, Downstreet Housing & Community Development

Posted by: Mia Watson on 10/19/2018

This week Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) received national recognition for pioneering the use of state housing tax credits to provide down payment assistance to low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since the Vermont Affordable Housing Tax Credit was originally created in 2000 to fund creating and preserving affordable apartments for low income renters, VHFA led the effort to expand it to help two more types of underserved Vermonters: first-time home buyers and buyers of energy-efficient manufactured homes.

In light of this success, VHFA received an Award for Program Excellence on October 15th at the National Council of State Housing Agencies’ annual conference in Austin, Texas. This annual award honors state housing finance agencies for their outstanding public purpose programs, projects, and practices. VHFA won the award in the “homeownership” category based on nine criteria, ranging from innovation to responding to an important state housing need to having benefits that outweigh costs.

“We are thrilled both to receive this award and to see such immediate, profound benefits that our work is generating for Vermont home buyers and their communities,” said VHFA’s Executive Director Sarah Carpenter.

With demand far outstripping the funds currently available through the state housing credit, the programs have already helped over 800 first-time home buyers and 146 buyers of highly efficient manufactured homes. Both programs have been used in every Vermont county.

VHFA has a long history of using its financial expertise and understanding of Vermont demographics and housing stock to partner with private investors to creatively meet the state’s emerging housing needs. Tax credits create funds for housing when they are sold to investors in exchange for annual tax benefits.

After the 2008 recession, first-time home buying in Vermont lagged considerably due to the state’s higher than average closing costs, rates of student loan and auto debt and gap between starting salaries and home prices. This prompted VHFA and the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce to propose using state housing credits to provide down payment assistance for low and moderate-income Vermonters who need help with a down payment but are otherwise ready to buy their first home. Recognizing the potential benefits for home buyers and the state economy, the Vermont Legislature in 2015 expanded the amount of state tax credits available each year to create a first-time home buyer down payment assistance program to be offered through VHFA.

When Hurricane Irene struck Vermont in 2011, low-income owners of damaged mobile homes who were disproportionately impacted by the storm needed immediate, innovative action. VHFA stepped up and helped to expand the amount of tax credits available each year to fund a program that provides down payment assistance to income-eligible Vermonters purchasing energy efficient manufactured homes, including the path-breaking, net-zero energy use Vermod home. The program, which serves home buyers with an average income of $39,000, is administered through Vermont’s largest Neighborworks organization, Champlain Housing Trust.

Pictured: (top row, from left) Tom Kimball, Tom Connors, George Demas, Michelle Baird (bottom row, from left) Mia Watson, Maura Collins, Sarah Carpenter, Heather Kvasnak