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VHFA News

By: Caroline Rubin on 5/27/2020

AARP Vermont and HomeShare VT are co-sponsoring a free informational webinar with housing experts and Burlington Planning & Zoning staff on Thursday, June 4th from 12- 1PM.  

The webinar will address the benefits of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), share architectural design ideas, the latest zoning regulations passed by City Council, and the steps required to get an ADU permitted and built in the city of Burlington.

ADUs are small houses or apartments that exist on the same property lot as a single-family residence.  This once-popular home type is re-emerging as an affordable and flexible housing option that meets the needs of demographics such as older adults and young families.

ADUs have benefits such as providing necessary housing for parents, adult children, grandchildren, and other loved ones, as well as providing a way to downsize one’s own property while a tenant or family member resides in the second unit.

Speakers for the webinar will include Kelly Stoddard-Poor, AARP; Eli Spevak, Orange Splot LLC; Meagan Tuttle, Burlington Principal Planner; Kirby Dunn, HomeShare Vermont; Missa Aloisi, Architect

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By: Caroline Rubin on 5/22/2020

Focusing, Collaborating, and Supporting Autonomy: Key Strategies for Effective Change Conversations

New England Resident Service Coordinators, Inc. (NERSC) is hosting a virtual workshop led by Ali Hall (JD) that will teach participants skills and strategies to focus a shared agenda and exchange information in a style that is collaborative and supportive of autonomy, so that resident service professionals can create a positive climate for their residents’ success. Participants will have an opportunity to practice these skills and look at applied examples related to aging in place, reducing fall risk, engaging with families, and connecting with community resources.

When: Tuesday, May 26th, 2020, 10:30am-12:00pm Eastern Time

Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Track: Professional Development & Supervisory/Management
Format: Lecture, Interactive
HUD Core Area: (Required Ongoing Training Areas) Networking in the Community & Identifying Resources, Communication Strategies in Working with Older Adults (Additional Recommended Training Area) Effective Communication

Ali Hall (JD) is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and an independent consultant and trainer. Ali currently serves on the MINT Board of Directors in an at-large capacity, focusing on professional skill development for MI practitioners and trainers. Ali served as a Lead Trainer for the International MINT Training for New Trainers (TNT) in New Orleans (2018) and Berlin (2015) and is serving as Lead Trainer for the TNT in Warsaw 2019. Ali has designed and facilitated more than 2500 Motivational Interviewing (MI) workshops for health care practitioners, health coaches, social services providers, behavioral health clinicians, social workers, criminal justice professionals, psychologists, and psychiatrists, and provides training for trainers in evidence-based practices. Ali also provides training and consultation for effective case management, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), minimizing secondary trauma and creating compassionate organizations.

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Best legal practices for resident service coordinators in the wake of COVID-19

NERSC will be facilitating a one-hour webinar session hosted by Attorney Frank Flynn to discuss the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and ways for resident service coordinators to reduce liability and maximize revenue during these difficult and uncertain times. 

When: Tuesday, June 2nd, 1:00pm-2:00pm Eastern Time

For the past 30 years, Frank has specialized in residential and commercial landlord/tenant litigation, subsidized housing, condominium collections, commercial litigation and condominium association representation. He currently represents many prominent management companies, commercial and residential landlords and condominium associations in Massachusetts. He has presented numerous seminars and webinars to many of the real estate trade groups in New England. 

Level: All levels
Track: Professional Development, Supervisory/Management, Family & Youth, Elderly/Disabled Population
Format: Lecture, Interactive
HUD Category: Legal Liability Relating to Service Coordination (Required Training Area)

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By: Mia Watson on 5/22/2020

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston estimates that job losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic could put 21,351 Vermont homeowner and 23,561 renter households at high risk of not being able to pay their mortgage or rent.

Although many Vermonters will feel the economic impact of the pandemic, workers in occupations with greater risk of layoffs and furloughs are especially likely to have difficulty paying for housing. This includes jobs categorized as nonessential, cannot be done from home and are paid hourly. In Vermont, a large number of these jobs are likely to be located in the leisure, tourism and hospitality sectors.

According to the Federal Reserve’s analysis of Census data, 36% of Vermont homeowners have at least one member in a high-risk occupation, including 17% that have all members in high-risk occupations. The share of renters at high risk is even greater, with 43% of households with at least one high-risk worker, and 26% with all members in high risk occupations.

Homeowners are more likely to be able to weather the economic impact of the pandemic than renters. Sixty three percent of Vermont homeowners have a monthly housing payment (in the form of a mortgage), compared to 94% of renters. Homeowners are also more likely to have savings and to have other non-earnings income in the form of retirement, investments, Social Security or welfare payments. The Federal Reserve estimates that 32% of Vermont renters could not afford their monthly rent if all members working in high-risk jobs became unemployed and did not have access to government assistance, compared to just 11% of homeowners.

It remains unknown how many at-risk households will actually become unemployed, and how long job losses will persist. At Vermont’s highest recent unemployment level to date, over 81,000 Vermonters filed for benefits. The number of weekly Vermont unemployment claims has been declining since the week of April 25, although it is not yet clear whether this is due to workers becoming reemployed, businesses obtaining access to PTT loans to temporarily pay workers or lingering administrative delays related to benefits processing.

The Federal Reserve suggests that emergency payments under the federal CARES Act combined with state-level eviction and foreclosure moratoriums may substantially mitigate the impact of New England job losses. Under their best-case analysis, if 95% of eligible Vermont households receive stimulus and unemployment payments, 1.9% of homeowners and 6.8% of renters would be at high risk of nonpayment.

However, supplemental unemployment under the CARES Act will expire at the end of July. Unless most workers are able to return to work by that time, or the federal government provides additional funding, non-payments resulting from job losses may simply be deferred until later in the summer. The Federal Reserve estimates that without federal assistance, missed mortgage and rent payments in Vermont could total up to $48 million per month, which could have a large impact on Vermont’s housing market and economy as a whole.

By: Leslie Black-Plumeau on 5/20/2020

Suffolk University graduate student Emerald Anderson has been named the Summer 2020 Vermont Housing Fellow. Anderson will receive a financial stipend to improve and expand information available to decision makers about Vermont housing markets and opportunities. In addition, the program is intended to provide the fellow with valuable experience aiding to her professional development.

From Weymouth, Massachusetts, Anderson is pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Prior to starting her graduate work, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Legal Studies.

The goal of the Vermont Housing Fellow program is to cultivate interest among graduate students nationwide in Vermont-based affordable housing careers with a specific goal of growing the diversity of experiences and perspectives used when thinking about the housing needs in Vermont.

VHFA’s Housing Fellow program provides students in Vermont and beyond its borders with the opportunity to relate knowledge gained in the classroom to practical, real-world settings.  The Agency plans to appoint a new student to the fellowship each semester.

VHFA is currently accepting applications for the fellowship for the fall semester of 2020. Please contact VHFA’s Human Resources Director Steve Gronlund (sgronlund@vhfa.org) for more information. Candidates must be graduate students enrolled at an accredited program. Internship course credits may be available through his or her university or through the University of Vermont’s Public Administration program. For information about University of Vermont credits, please contact Julie Starr at jstarr2@uvm.edu.  

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By: Mia Watson on 5/19/2020

The Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity in the Department for Children and Families is now accepting proposals for the Phase IV Expansion of the Family Supportive Housing program for FY21. Family Supportive Housing places families experiencing homelessness into housing and provides long-term, intensive service coordination and case management to help families keep housing.

 Through agreements between non-profit services providers and housing providers such as land trusts, private landlords or housing authorities, local FSH partnerships will provide customized, intensive case management, service coordination and affordable housing to families with children who have experienced homelessness. Supportive services stay with participant families from homelessness through at least their first 24 months of housing and are adjusted or extended as necessary to promote housing stability and positive participant engagement.

More information on the RFP and the application materials are available online.  In addition, OEO will hold a webinar with more information on May 20, 2020 at 2:30 – 3:30PM. Register online for access. The webinar will be recorded and posted online.

The deadline to submit proposals is 4:00 PM on Friday, June 5, 2020.

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