Tuesday, November 13, 2018

12:00 PM  Registration

01:00 PM Concurrent Workshops

Housing 101: Introduction to Affordable Housing

This returning and ever-popular workshop will give you all the basics about Vermont’s affordable housing landscape: state and federal agencies, our housing delivery system, major issues and concepts. It will also provide an overview of the confusing alphabet soup of different housing programs and organizations and the housing development process itself. This will be a traditional style workshop and will focus on the numbers, programs and funding led by Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition Coordinator Erhard MahnkeVermont Housing and Conservation Board Housing Analyst Leah SareCathedral Square Corporation Development Director Cindy Reidand HUD Field Office Director Michael McNamara

Becoming Bilingual in Housing and Health Care, Part 1

A two-part workshop focused discussion on the intersections between housing and health care. Housing and health care organizations will work together to learn more about options to address housing needs through collaboration.  Participants will be introduced to the roles of Medicaid, Vermont’s All-Payer Accountable Care Model and the role different sectors of the healthcare landscape play including health insurers, accountable care organizations, accountable health communities, primary care practices, Federally Qualified Health Centers and hospitals. Featuring Ena Backus and Jenney Samuelson from the Vermont Department of Health Access, we will discuss types of partnerships between health care and housing, explore Vermont-based examples, and work to develop the beginnings of local partnerships.

02:30 PM Break

02:45 PM Concurrent Workshops

Housing 102: Meeting the Housing Needs of All Vermonters

Vermont's lowest income and most vulnerable citizens face the greatest housing challenges.  Serious obstacles also confront young people looking to start families and buy their own homes.  Learn how Vermont helps meet the full spectrum of housing needs, from people experiencing homelessness, to low-wage service sector workers, to Vermonters looking to get into homeownership.  This will be a traditional style workshop and will focus on where Vermonters can go for assistance regardless of where they fall on the housing continuum. Speakers include Seth Leonard, USDA Rural Development, Housing Programs Director, Emily Higgins, Community Services Program Manager at the VT Office of Economic Opportunity and Bethany Lunn, Vermont State Housing Authority Coordinator of Intake Services. 

Becoming Bilingual in Housing and Health Care, Part 2

The second in a 2-part workshop focused on the intersections between housing and health care. In a small group format, leaders from Accountable Health Communities will talk about their work and what they perceive are the needs for housing in their communities. Groups will discuss how housing partnerships might increase value (by improving health outcomes and creating savings in healthcare costs), and how housing, health, and human service professionals can begin local conversations and partnerships, moving toward collective impact.  By the end of the session, housing and health sector partners will leave with ideas for concrete next steps.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

08:00 AM  Registration and legislative reception

Network with our state's legislators as you have a continental breakfast and talk about the important housing issues you're seeing in Vermont. Registration will also be open during this time, so come early to check in, get settled, and have some face-to-face time with our state's leaders.

08:45 AM Legislative Housing Hero Award

We will award this year's Legislative Housing Hero to a current legislator for their contributions to advancing the affordable housing industry in Vermont.

09:00 AM  Keynote

From homelessness to gentrification to the opioid epidemic, when people talk about housing, the conversation often gets mired in a maze of statistics, policy debates, and, more often than not, feelings of intractability. Looking at the way we often frame the housing conversation and think about our actions in the field, architect and social innovator Liz Ogbu will tell us how to shift our focus from the abstract details of the housing sector to the lived experience of people at the heart of it.  Ultimately, this talk will help us explore how we might achieve our vision of a more sustainable, inclusive, and healed future.

10:00 AM Break

10:15 AM  Snap interview: Federal policy 

Shortly after an election where potentially the balance of power in Congress might shift, Washington DC insiders Stockton Williams of the National Council of State Housing Agencies and David Lipsetz of the Housing Assistance Council will give us their assessments of the impact of the election on the political landscape and what, if any, major messages were made clear by the voting. 

10:45 AM  Snap interview: State policy 

Just a week after the election, 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 session and how they relate to housing. 

11:15 AM  Snap interview: Next steps

After we hear from state and federal policy wonks, Dr. Tiffany Manuel, Vice President of Knowledge, Impact and Strategy at Enterprise Community Partners, will talk about the urgency to build stronger public support in Vermont for our work.  Interviewed by Charlie Baker of the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, Dr. Manuel will discuss why some public engagement strategies backfire and share examples of strategies that work.

11:45 AM  Lunch

Buffet lunch, including dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. Please indicate in your registration if you have any food sensitivities.

12:45 PM  Innovation and Impact Housing Hero Award

This will be awarded to a person or team of individuals (or organizations) whose leadership, vision and actions have brought about positive and lasting change in housing Vermonters.

01:00 PM  Governor-elect (invited)

The conference will be held one week after the Vermont gubernatorial election and both candidates will be invited to address the audience on their vision of housing in Vermont.

01:15 PM Concurrent Workshops

Why Housing Messages are Backfiring and 10 Things We Can Do About It

Public will building expert Dr. Tiffany Manuel will follow up her morning "snap interview" with a workshop on the top ten evidence-based messaging recommendations that can be used to advance a strong affordable housing and community development agenda.

Zoning Predictability + Infrastructure = Setting the Municipal Stage for Housing

Municipalities influence the cost of housing construction through regulations and infrastructure, and can lower the costs of construction by establishing a more by-right, objective and predictable review process. Such a review process can ensure that the scale and feel of new homes are appropriate for the community. Learn about the zoning reform that has paved the way for a predictable development review process and the associated municipal effort to improve the infrastructure on Winooski’s gateways. This will be an interview style workshop led by Seth Jenson with Winooski's municipal staff Jessie Baker, Heather Carrington and Eric Vorwald and Tom Getz of Summit Properties.

Employer Assisted Housing

Employee housing needs have a large impact on employers. This session invites you to learn about various ways to assist employees in overcoming housing barriers. Featuring small group discussions you can learn from employers about their different employee housing solutions.  Moderated by Betsy Bishop, Vermont Chamber of Commerce President, panelists will include Kevin Dailey of the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and Joshua Schwartz, Mad River Valley Planning District, who will discuss Sugarbush’s Tenants for Turns program. 

Stepping in to Stave Off Homelessness

Come learn how to avoid disruptive evictions and focus on preventing homelessness. Sarah Russell, Director of Housing Retention and Services at the Burlington Housing Authority will discuss their housing retention team, how they got it off the ground, the services they offer, and their challenges and successes.  You’ll also hear from Molly Dugan, SASH® Director at Cathedral Square Corporation, about the latest success, challenges, and lessons learned from this nationally recognized program that started right here in Vermont. Learn about the newest initiative to expand SASH into family housing and have an opportunity to ask questions and give input.  This session will be moderated by Kim Fitzgerald, Director of Cathedral Square Corporation. 

New Opportunities to Modernize and Preserve Middle-Income Housing

Many places in Vermont and across New England face a complicated set of issues concerning our aging housing stock, rising land prices, potential gentrification, and the need to preserve existing housing for families “in the middle”. Recapitalization and rehabilitation of this housing stock generally results in making this same stock unaffordable, costing our communities much needed naturally-occurring workforce housing. This also impacts the community’s ability to keep and attract younger workers and families.

Existing state and federal housing funding are not sufficient for those who need it the most, much less middle-income households. New opportunities are emerging to recruit private and social impact capital which can be leveraged for housing preservation, workforce housing, and community stabilization.  With panelists Kenneth Willis from the Federal Home Loan Bank, Michael Monte from Champlain Housing Trust, Rebecca Regan from The Housing Partnership Network and Gus Seelig from Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, this workshop will focus on answering the following key questions: 

·         How can we modernize and maintain the affordability of this middle-income housing stock for middle-income families?

·         What new capital sources are needed? What new partnerships and solutions can we develop?

This workshop will be moderated by Champlain Housing Trust's CEO Brenda Torpy

Connections between schools and affordable housing

Connect with a leading expert on Vermont’s education funding mechanics as we address the intersection of housing and education funding policy. Housing opportunities help determine the population composition of Vermont’s communities and a play a key role determining school-aged demographics.  In this session Paul Cillo of the Public Assets Institute will explore the direct ties between housing policy and education funding policy, and how communities can better inform conversations around both issues by recognizing their impact on each other.  

02:45 PM  Break

03:00 PM  Concurrent Workshops

Municipal Incentives for Affordable Housing 

 Due to the high cost of construction in Vermont, building homes at an affordable price point requires subsidy from a variety of sources. Municipalities can incentivize affordable housing construction by providing additional funds through a variety of tools: local housing trust fund, Tax Increment Financing for infrastructure, land donation, state grant funds (VHCB, VCDB), inclusionary zoning, reduction of impact fees, etc. Hear from both developers and municipalities to learn how these municipal financial programs helped establish perpetually affordable homes. This will be a pecha kucha quick style presentation featuring Alex Weinhagan from the Town of Hinesburg, John Simson of South Burlington's Affordable Housing Committee, City of Montpelier Planning Director Mike Miller, and Alison Friedkin from Downstreet Housing and Community Development. 

The Quest for Improved Housing Quality

Ensuring safe, decent housing throughout the State of Vermont has been an ongoing endeavor involving many partners. In this workshop, we’ll discuss the latest efforts on this front. In May of 2018, Act 188 was signed into law and created the Rental Housing Advisory Board. This Board is tasked with providing recommendations to the Legislature in January 2019 on ways to improve the state’s code enforcement system. Participants in this workshop will be introduced to the draft recommendations from this Board and have the opportunity to provide public input to be relayed to the Legislature. We will also learn more about the role of town health officers in enforcing Vermont's rental housing codes. Led by Shaun Gilpin, Housing Policy Specialist at the Vermont Department for Housing and Community Development, this will be a panel discussion with Meg McCarthy from the Vermont Department of Health about rental recommendations.

Small Living Spaces-Municipal and Developer Considerations

As small living spaces gain popularity this workshop will focus on what it takes to make this new trend work for your community and/or development. Presenters will touch on considerations from a design perspective, the benefits and challenges of incorporating smaller living spaces into a project and what effects municipalities can have on a project featuring these spaces. This workshop will be fast paced and will include looks at different approaches to small living spaces. Speakers:  Martha Ratcliffe of M&S Development, Jillian Tomaselli of Stevens and Associates, Phoebe Howe of Vermont Energy Investment Corporation and Danny Sagan from Norwich University.

Visualizing Vermont: Demographic Data at your Fingertips

Got questions about changing demographics or the housing in your community?  VHFA's research and communications coordinator, Mia Watson, will show you how to look up answers on the newly redesigned Vermont Housing Data website (

Economic development

Affordable Housing Tax Credits and New Market Tax Credits are key economic tools for creating jobs and supporting local economies throughout communities in Vermont.  This session will provide insight into mechanics behind and actual creation of two developments within a local downtown and village center in Vermont and the resulting job and business growth.  This will be a case study-oriented workshop with speakers including developer Bob Stevens of Stevens & Associates and Jim Lovinsky of Lamoille Housing Partnership. 

How housing and housers fit into the state’s response to the opioid crisis

The opioid crisis in Vermont has touched every corner of our communities. Housing is a critical cornerstone component when it comes to strategies around prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts. This session will focus on the role housing plays at each critical juncture along the continuum of addition – you will hear from prevention specialists, members of the justice system, treatment programming, and recovery experts on the future role of housing in Vermont’s effort to support healthy communities.  Session participants will be asked to take an active role in approaching the challenges and opportunities for the role housing can play at each stage of addiction. Speakers: Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont Department of Health Commissioner and Eileen Peltier, Downstreet Housing and Community Development Executive Director.  

04:30 PM Networking reception

Join us on the mezzanine, with its view of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks, to mingle with the state's top housing industry leaders and professionals. We'll have hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar and lots to discuss after a full day.