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By: Caroline Rubin on 6/5/2020

Mental health update– June 9

Presented by Thomas Burr, NAMI Connecticut, Inc.

This webinar will educate participants on mental health and mental illnesses, explore the role that trauma plays in mental health, as well as the stigma that mental health holds in society. The session will provide tips for maintaining good mental health, teach participants how to identify someone who may be struggling, and how to best support them and connect them to resources. The session will also explore the latest research and treatment options.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Eastern Time


Reducing the impact of trauma exposure for those who care for others – July 7

Presented by Alicia Davis & Stacie Watson, Transformative Leadership Strategies

In this highly interactive session, participants will learn to identify signs and symptoms of Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma and assess how they may be personally impacted by the nature of the care and support they provide. Participants will identify strategies for coping with and preventing the mental/emotional impact of working with people experiencing trauma, and practice strategies related to improving self-awareness, mindfulness practice, and resiliency.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Eastern Time


Using AASC online for the HUD SFS Report – July 14

Presented by Jill Chance, Pangea Foundation

In this webinar, participants will learn how Resident Service Coordinators can use the AASC Online software to compile data for their HUD Standards for Success report. The session will show how this is done at the resident level, and how items such as services and programs factor into the overall resident service counts for the report. The webinar will also show property wide tools to review and QA data before it is submitted. Finally, the session will show participants how to submit the report when it is due in October.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Eastern Time


Using family metrics for the HUD SFS Report – July 16

Presented by Jill Chance, Pangea Foundation

This session will educate participants on how Resident Service Coordinators can use the FamilyMetrics software to compile data for their HUD Standards for Success report—showing how this is done at the resident level, and how items such as services and programs feed into the overall resident service counts for the report. The session will also show property wide tools to review and QA data before it is submitted. Lastly, this webinar will demonstrate how to submit the report when it is due in October.

Thursday, July 16, 2020
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Eastern Time


By: Mia Watson on 6/3/2020

Earlier this week, the Local Support and Community Action Team released its interim report with recommendations on how Vermont can begin its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The team is a part of the Economic Mitigation and Recovery Task Force charged by Governor Scott with identifying recovery initiatives and best practices. VHFA Executive Director Maura Collins is a member of the Action Team.

The Local Support and Community Action Team reached out to business and community leaders and the general public for input. Among the concerns that emerged include the recognition that retail, hospitality, tourism and vulnerable populations will be hardest hit by the crisis, the importance of high speed broadband access, a critical need for support of local food systems, and the importance of adaptability and communication as we respond to the crisis.  

The report emphasized six preliminary recommendations, including ending family homelessness, activating local food systems to feed Vermonters, supporting childcare and youth programming, restarting the Vermont Small Business Loan and Grant Program, implementing a statewide buy local challenge, and expanding broadband infrastructure.

Ending family homelessness is of key concern for VHFA and its housing partners. The state was able to respond quickly to the needs of homeless Vermonters at the start of the COVID outbreak, moving individuals from congregate shelters to hotel rooms and campers to reduce the risk of exposure. As the state recovers, the Action Team recommends that the State start with a focus on ending family homelessness, investing in the housing supply, rental assistance, and social services to stabilize families and prevent future homelessness.

The Local Support and Community Action Team will continue to develop strategies for recovery, including establishing quantitative recovery measures and metrics to assess Vermont’s progress.

By: Maura Collins on 6/2/2020

The Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) is heeding the call Governor Phil Scott made ealier this week “to reflect on what role each of us can play to end hate, racism and bigotry.” As our nation grapples with complex discussions around institutional racism, the housing industry must be a focal vehicle for both analysis of past racism and how we can work toward eradicating institutional racism in the future. To do this we need to examine the role VHFA can play to address the reality that housing policy and finance has been used to perpetuate racial inequalities.

VHFA staunchly stands by our mission to finance and promote affordable, safe, and decent housing opportunities, and we know that housing can be the best way to end poverty, promote health, spark economic growth for families and neighborhoods, and create vibrant communities.

Yet we must acknowledge the clear evidence that housing has been used as a tool to divide communities, perpetuate unfair educational opportunities, and reduce wealth. For many, this has led to poor health, inadequate nutrition and health care, crumbling infrastructure, insufficient services, generational poverty, overcrowding, debt, strained families, and the racial divides we have today.

VHFA, and many of our partners, are proud to be equal opportunity employers and lenders. Together, we work to expand housing opportunities to all people, regardless of race. Unfortunately, inequities persist and, in some ways, have worsened. The homeownership rate of African Americans in Vermont in the 1970s (when VHFA was launched) was 31 percentage points less than white households. Today this gap has grown to 51 percentage points.

Additionally, despite intentionally working hard to actively diversify our recruitment and connections, only 5% of our staff are people of color, despite our home office being in a city with 17% people of color. So while VHFA has always worked hard to reflect our communities, we can do better.

Our organization is ready to take the next steps of action. We will be more deeply examining if access to our programs is limited by race. We also will disaggregate our programmatic data by race in more meaningful ways, engage more people of color in our work, and help support communities to become more welcoming and inclusive, as part of our upcoming three-year strategic plan. As a mission-driven housing lender in Vermont we will continue to pursue more opportunities to act well after this immediate crisis passes.

Please hold us accountable. As the Governor said yesterday, “in the greatest country in the world, no one should stand for this, no one should make excuses for this, and no one should ignore this. We must ALL make clear: enough is enough.”

VHFA remains committed to taking concrete steps to ensure Vermont affordable housing resources are tools for achieving equality and ending racism.

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


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.


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)