Help make sure housing is part of recovery plan

The Federal government is currently working on an economic recovery plan that could amount to $1 trillion.

It's important for the future of affordable housing and the fight to end homelessness that housing is included in that plan.

Our friends at the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) suggest you contact your U.S. Representatives and Senators and encourage them to support a plan that includes several housing-related elements:

Grants help prevent foreclosure

The Rutland Herald reports today that the Rockingham Area Community Land Trust and NeighborWorks of Western Vermont received grants to expand their foreclosure prevention counseling programs.

The money comes from the Federal Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

The article quotes Bruce Whitney, Director of the NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center of Southeastern Vermont; and Tom Candon, Deputy Commissioner of the state's Banking Division and a VHFA Commissioner.

Economy down? Blame the poor

The Burlington Free Press published an opinion piece from Charles Lief of Milton, Vt., a few days ago.

Read the full article here.

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.


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