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Affordable housing didn't cause the financial crisis

Journalist and noted curmudgeon H.L. Menken once observed, "For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Such is the case with claims we're seeing recently that investment in affordable homeownership triggered the current global fiscal crisis.

The economy and VHFA

Seems like talk about the economy has bossed the news over the last few weeks.

You can read VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter's views on the current economic situtation's effect on VHFA in an article that appeared in the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus over the weekend.

Requests for housing help increase in 2008

Officials at Vermont 2-1-1, the free referral service operated by the United Ways of Vermont, report more calls this year have been regarding housing assistance than in 2007.

An article in this morning's Burlington Free Press provides some numbers: Through last month, calls in 2008 regarding housing totaled 1,916, compared to a total of housing-related calls in 2007 of 2,089.

In Chittenden County, housing-related calls through last month totalled 590, compared with a total of 669 for last year.

Vt Bankers Association: "Deposits are safe"

In an opinion piece published in this morning's Burlington Free Press, Vermont Bankers Association President Chris D'Elia assures readers that, despite news of bank failures in other parts of the country, "Vermont banks are responsible, trustworthy institutions," and "your deposits are quite safe."

He blames the recent failure of the IndyMac bank on "aggressive mortgage loans made in California, a state experiencing some of the highest levels of foreclosure in the country.

President signs housing stimulus bill

Today President Bush signed into law the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HR 3221). The measure provides housing organizations with a number of new tools to help slow home foreclosures and finance affordable houses and apartments.

The new legislation is a major step forward for Vermonters and the nation, according to our Executive Director Sarah Carpenter, but the work isn't finished yet.

U.S. Senate passes Housing and Economic Recovery Act

Saturday morning, on a vote of 72-to-13, the U.S. Senate passed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 3221).

The Senate chose not to amend the House-passed bill. It now goes to President Bush, who is expected to sign it.

Harvard study: Housing downturn worst in decades

state of the nation's housing report coverA recent study released by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University finds the current housing downturn could be the worst in a generation.

The report shows the number of homeowners paying more than half their income on housing increased from 6.5 million in 2001 to 8.8 million in 2006.

Crisis? Or no crisis?

Is Vermont in the midst of a "housing crisis?" At last check, about two out of three people responding to a poll on The Burlington Free Press Web site say, "Yes."

What's your opinion? Take the poll.


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