By: Leslie Black-Plumeau

September 22, 2021

VHFA and the Vermont League of Cities and Towns recently published a checklist of options for using local recovery funds provided through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to promote recovery from the pandemic through investments in housing and neighborhoods. By providing more safe, affordable housing, communities can address inequities, promote health and spur broader economic benefits. The checklist joins the many resources available to communities in the Vermont Housing-Ready toolbox.

The importance of housing to the U.S recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in historic levels of funding for new and existing housing programs, including emergency renter and homeowner assistance funds, through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  In addition to program-specific investments, ARPA is providing Vermont with more than $1.25 billion of Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funding. A sizeable portion of ARPA funds go directly to communities. This is the first time in decades that direct, unrestricted federal financial assistance has flowed to local government.

Taylor Street Apartments in Montpelier

Vermont’s cities, towns, and villages will receive about $200 million in direct ARPA funding, giving city councils and selectboards discretion over how to spend their allocations. Flexibility allows community leaders to tailor the use of these funds to best meet the local needs that are impeding their town’s recovery from the pandemic. Some Vermont towns are already thinking about how to ensure funds are invested in a way that make lasting improvements.

The Vermont League of Cities and Towns provides information critical to supporting local governments in accessing and using their ARPA funds. Vermont’s non-entitlement unit (NEU) communities will receive a total of $167,851,168 via their direct allocations and their portion of the Vermont’s county allocations. As Vermont’s metropolitan cities, Burlington and South Burlington will receive the largest awards in the state ($27,176,144 and $5,654,533 respectively) via their direct allocations and share of Chittenden County’s allocation.

Pictured: Taylor Street Apartments in Montpelier. The City of Montpelier has modeled effective local approaches for helping housing, including funding some costs of developing these apartments, providing down payment assistance to home buyers and grants for creating accessory dwelling units.