November 13-14, 2018

This year's conference theme is the impact Vermont communities have on housing affordability. An inspiring line up of interactive, cutting-edge sessions will focus on specific municipal policy tools and community case studies. The 2016 conference drew over 400 housing professionals, including legislators, town and regional planners, advocates, developers, and bankers. Attendee evaluations from previous conferences have been consistently positive about the many opportunities to network, learn, and be inspired. Registration is open! 

Beat election-year uncertainty with the inside scoop at the Vermont Statewide Housing Conference

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. 

Improve health through housing at the Vermont Statewide Housing Conference

Consensus is growing quickly that improving housing options is essential to improving the health of Vermonters.  Released this week, early results of the 2019 Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties Community Health Needs Assessment show affordable housing as the top-ranked concern among social and environmental health challenges. To help connect the people and systems focused on housing and health care, the upcoming Vermont Statewide Housing Conference on November 13-14 in Burlington will provide several innovative opportunities to move forward.  

Beginning at noon on November 13, the first day of the conference features an exclusive two-part workshop on “Becoming Bilingual in Housing and Health Care.” This workshop will bring together housing and health care organizations to learn more about addressing housing needs through collaboration.  In the early afternoon, Ena Backus, Director of Health Care Reform, and Jenney Samuelson of the Department of Vermont Health Access will introduce participants to the roles of Medicaid, Vermont’s All-Payer Accountable Care Model, and other diverse sectors of the healthcare landscape in Vermont, including health insurers, accountable care organizations, accountable health communities, primary care practices, Federally Qualified Health Centers and hospitals. The workshop will examine potential partnerships between health care and housing, explore Vermont-based examples, and work to initiate new local partnerships.

After a break, the second part of this workshop will use a small group format for leaders from Accountable Health Communities to talk about their work and perceived needs for housing in their communities. The groups will discuss how housing partnerships might increase value by improving health outcomes and creating healthcare cost savings, and how housing, health, and human service professionals can begin local conversations and partnerships, moving toward collective impact.  By the end of these sessions, housing and health sector partners will leave with ideas for concrete next steps for their communities.  To encourage maximum participation, the registration fee for the first day of the conference is only $35 ($45, after 10/15) and scholarships are available.

The second day of the conference on November 14 includes a full day of exciting nationally-acclaimed speakers, networking opportunities and cutting-edge workshops, including several on key health-housing connections.  The “Stepping in to Stave Off Homelessness” workshop in the early afternoon will look at the role of the Support and Services at Home (SASH) program for connecting Vermonters with health care and preventative programs as well as at housing retention programs.  Later in the afternoon, “The Quest for Improved Housing Quality” workshop will examine recent steps taken by the Vermont Legislature to improve tenant health through improved rental housing quality, the roles of town health officers and rental codes and recommendations for future improvements.  A third workshop “How Housing and Housers Fit Into the State’s Response to the Opioid Crisis” will look head on at the connections housing plays at each stage of addiction and opportunities to improve the likelihood of recovery.

Liz Ogbu, inspiring new voice for social innovation, to keynote November Statewide Housing Conference

This year's conference on November 13-14, 2018 will feature keynote speaker Liz Ogbu, a designer, urbanist, and social innovator who collaborates with communities to leverage the power of design to catalyze sustained social impact. Ogbu has taught at California College of the Arts, UC Berkeley, and Stanford. She has also been chosen as a TED speaker, one of Public Interest Design’s Top 100, and an Aspen Ideas Scholar. Her keynote speech will focus on how to emphasize the lived experience of people at the heart of housing issues and explore how we can achieve a more sustainable, inclusive, and healed future.

The conference will also feature national policy experts and DC insiders Stockton Williams of the National Council of State Housing Agencies and David Lipsetz of the Housing Assistance Council, who will share their assessments of the results of the midterm elections on November 6 and will discuss the likely impact on the housing landscape.

Vermont's "Housing Heroes"

Since 2002, Vermont's Statewide Housing Conference has celebrated the achievements and service of individuals and organizations by recognizing them through the Housing Hero Award. This year's winners will be announced during the conference on November 13th and 14th.

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