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Posted by: Leslie Black-Plumeau on June 30, 2017 - 8:54am

Based on feedback from property managers and apartment seekers, VHFA launched this week a redesigned, user-friendly Vermont Directory of Affordable Rental Housing at www.housingdata.org. We improved search tools and expanded the site to include more information people looking for an apartment need, such as rent and income limits, property photos, proximity to public transportation, accessibility features and pet policies.  

Development of the new website was supported in part by TD Charitable Foundation, AARP Vermont and the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity’s HUD Inclusive and Vibrant Communities Vermont Grant.

The site's on-line directory, updated in real-time by property managers, provides information about every Vermont apartment building that serves lower income tenants and received public subsidies during its development to help rents be affordable. "We are delighted to offer expanded information about vacancies and the status of the wait-list for occupancy in Vermont's affordable, rental housing stock," remarked VHFA Executive Directory Sarah Carpenter.  "Since vacancies are snapped up quickly in many parts of the state, we wanted to optimize the site's ability to connect lower income apartment seekers to the information they need to find an affordable place to live." Carpenter continued. 

Housing managers and owners with questions or comments about the website are encouraged to contact us.   

Posted by: Leslie Black-Plumeau on June 27, 2017 - 2:44pm

With the passing of the State budget and enactment of a bond that could produce $35 million, Vermont is making its largest single commitment ever of state dollars for affordable housing. VHFA will issue the revenue bond and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) will administer the funds statewide to expand Vermont’s stock of permanently affordable housing. 

The Governor will sign the budget bill containing the bond on Wednesday, June 28th at 11:00 a.m. in the Ceremonial Office at the Vermont State House in Montpelier.

Revenue from the Vermont Property Transfer Tax, already a source of revenue for VHCB, will be used to pay back the 20 year bond which is expected to be issued later this year. The funds will help pay for the development or rehabilitation of up to 650 homes for Vermonters struggling to afford to live in their communities.

Recent data showed Vermont is the 13th most expensive state in the nation to live for people that rent and the 7th most expensive state for renters in living in rural areas. It is planned that at least 25% of the housing supported through the bond will be affordable to households who earn 50% or less of the median income and at least 25% will be affordable to those earning between 80% and 120% of median.

Related stories: Vermont Business Magazine

Posted by: Leslie Black-Plumeau on June 14, 2017 - 2:17pm

Governor Phil Scott signed S. 135 last week, a bill to encourage economic growth and affordable housing. Although the law was signed on June 8, 2017,  portions of the bill are effective on date of enactment of the FY 2018-2019 budget. Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce (pictured), also on VHFA's Board of Commissioners, was one of the bill signing speakers. 

Among other things, the bill makes development in state-designated centers faster and more affordable by increasing the downtown tax credits by $200,000, exempting housing projects from Act 250 review and enabling six new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts.  

VHFA also supported the bill's clarification of the definition of "affordable housing" as it relates to Vermont's Act 250 and Chapter 117.  To help communities and decision makers assess impacts and move forward with these changes, the bill requires VHFA to maintain a table of rents and home prices affordable at various income thresholds on its Vermont Housing Data website. 

Read more in the conference report summary of S. 135 and Governor's press release.  


Posted by: Leslie Black-Plumeau on June 14, 2017 - 1:35pm

The Vermont Council on Homelessness has a new website providing information about the state's initiatives to help end homelessness.  The responsibilities of the Council include development, monitoring and periodic revision of Vermont’s Plan to End Homelessness. The Council also makes annual recommendations to the Governor and Administration regarding resource, policy, and regulatory changes necessary to reduce and end homelessness in Vermont.

In related news, the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness recently expanded its website to include the results of the 2017 Point In Time Count.  During this count in January 2017, 1225 Vermonters were found to be literally homeless, an overall increase in homelessness by 11% compared to the 2016 Point-in-Time Count. Included in the total were 306 children, representing 25% of the total population counted. 

Posted by: Victoria Johnson on June 9, 2017 - 12:42pm

Governor Phil Scott joined by Executive Director Sarah Carpenter and others on June 5, cut the ribbon on the newly-constructed, 28,000 square foot Elm Place, an affordable residence for seniors, located in Milton.

Elm Place is considered a “passive house” due to its impressive energy savings. Some of these savings come from its cold climate air source heat pumps, a rooftop solar array and LED lighting. A few of Elm Place amenities include an elevator, exercise room, on-site storage, kitchen, lounge, laundry facilities, covered parking and an outdoor courtyard, including garden beds for resident use.

Demand for the units is high. All 30 units were leased within three weeks of opening. The project will offer support for residents through the Support and Services at Home program (SASH).

Cathedral Square, developer and manager led the $8.4 million construction of Elm Place. As a result of VHFA allocated housing tax credits, Peoples United Bank provided over $6.3 million for development costs. Other funding sources include Vermont Community Development Program, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, HOME Investment Partnership, The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Efficiency Vermont, TD Charitable Foundation, Commons Energy, Enterprise, Housing Assistance Council, VHCB Feasibility, VCDP Planning and Vermont Gas.