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Posted by: Mia Watson on 5/14/2018

VHFA has been chosen by United Way of Northwest Vermont to receive the Affinity Award, which is given to the organization whose campaign results stand out most among their industry sector.  VHFA supports the work of United Way through frequent fundraising activities and by encouraging staff to volunteer in their communities.

The Affinity Award recognizes organizations with the highest percentage of participation in their industry sector. In 2017, VHFA achieved an 83.8% staff participation rate for its campaign activities and raised nearly $12,000. Proceeds from VHFA fundraising will go towards United Way’s many initiatives to support the communities of Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties.

“Companies and organizations with this accolade have earned it through leadership, passion for their community and a lot of hard work,” remarked Cari Kelly, 2017 Campaign Manager for Chittenden County. “This year’s award recipient’s United Way Committee is committed to helping employees understand the work of the United Way.  At their Kick-off this year, United Way staff were invited to discuss our community’s work to make homelessness rare and brief for the people of our community – a mission they [VHFA] also support through their incredible work of helping low- and moderate-income Vermonters achieve affordable, safe and decent housing opportunities.  In addition, they keep their staff engaged and educated all year long with monthly United Way workplace events.  Together, we are building a stronger, healthier community”

Awards were presented at the Living United celebration on Thursday evening at St. Albans City Hall. Among VHFA staff in attendance were Steve Gronlund, Administration & HR Manager (pictured) and Joe Erdelyi, Director of Development.

Photo courtesy of United Way

Posted by: Mia Watson on 5/4/2018

Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman Peter Welch joined representatives from the Vermont Legislature, housing advocates, and many other supporters in downtown Montpelier on Tuesday at a groundbreaking ceremony for the French Block affordable housing project. The project, which is a joint effort between Housing Vermont and Downstreet Housing & Community Development, will rehabilitate a historic building to create 14 affordable apartments for low-income Vermonters and four market-rate apartments.

“One of the reasons I work to increase the federal investments that help Vermont build new homes is because a stable and affordable place to live can make all the difference. They make a difference both to the person or family living in that home, but also to the entire community.  Our communities are more vibrant when we ensure that people have the opportunity to live and work in a downtown,” said Senator Leahy.  “Thanks to the hard work of Downstreet and Housing Vermont, that opportunity will be a reality for more of our friends and neighbors.”

Among the funding for the project were $340,000 in federal housing credits awarded by Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA), which were then sold to investors to raise over $3 million in equity. VHFA also awarded the project a $360,000 zero percent interest loan through New England Federal Credit Union (NEFCU). In total, the $6.1 million project received nearly half of its funding from VHFA. Other funding partners included the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Vermont Community Development Program, NeighborWorks, and the Montpelier Housing Trust Fund.

“French Block is exciting because it increases access to affordable, decent rental housing in a low-vacancy community while also achieving important goals of historic preservation and community development,” remarked VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter. “We were very pleased to provide support for this excellent project.”

The apartments will include 16 one-bedroom units and two efficiencies.  The project will have services for the homeless and households at risk of homelessness. The apartments will be highly energy efficient while retaining the historic character of the building.  The complex will include an elevator and laundry facilities. The downtown site location will give residents easy walking access to stores, services, and transportation. 

At the ceremony, Senator Leahy also announced that Vermont will receive over $16 million in funding for community development and affordable housing from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and NeighborWorks America.

This ground breaking was celebrated as part of National Housing Week of Action. Advocates from around the country are calling for greater investments in affordable housing at the federal, state, and community level.

Photo courtesy of Housing Vermont


Posted by: Mia Watson on 5/1/2018

Planning is underway for the 2018 Vermont Statewide Housing Conference, held every other year. This year we will shake things up and change the focus to highlight the intersections housing has with education, community development, economic development, and health care. There will be more focus on specific municipal policy tools and case studies of communities that used those tools and what they learned. The 2016 conference drew over 400 housing professionals, including legislators, town and regional planners, advocates, developers, and bankers. Attendee evaluations from previous conferences have been consistently positive about the many opportunities to network, learn, and be inspired.

The 2018 conference event will be held Wednesday, November 14th at the Hilton Burlington. Registration will open this summer.

VHFA is currently seeking conference sponsors. In addition to the value of supporting this important event, sponsors will receive benefits depending on their sponsorship level. Benefits include free conference registrations, exhibit tables to display materials, recognition in VHFA social media posts, and company logos displayed on the conference website and signage. This year there are new benefits to showcase your company’s support even more.

Sign up for sponsorship or to learn more about sponsorship benefits.

Posted by: Will White on 4/27/2018
view of vermont

Need an affordable apartment or know someone who does?  There are vacancies in 26 different apartment complexes across the state, according to the Vermont Directory of Affordable Rental Housing. Find out more about particular units by visiting the vacancy profiles online.


Affordable rental housing vacancies in Vermont

Posted by: Mia Watson on 4/20/2018

On Monday, April 16 the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) Board of Commissioners committed federal Housing Tax Credits and Vermont Affordable Housing Credits to construct and renovate apartments for low-income Vermonters over the next several years. The $3.5 million in ten-year federal capped credits, $319,000 in ten-year federal uncapped “bond” credits and $173,000 in five-year state credits will support the development of 251 apartments in eight communities across the state. VHFA permanent and construction financing totaling $19 million was also approved for five of the projects.

Housing tax credits are the single largest source of funding for the development of affordable rental housing. The equity raised when investors buy the tax credits awarded to projects is used to pay construction and renovation costs for apartments rented to low-income Vermonters. This system allows affordable housing developers to raise far more start-up capital than the face value of the tax credits. This year’s credit awards are expected to create $37 million in upfront equity to pay for the costs of developing the apartments. Together with VHFA loans, this is likely to cover 69 percent of all development costs for the eight upcoming projects. Many of these projects will be developed through partnerships between regional housing organizations and Housing Vermont, a statewide, non-profit developer and tax credit syndicator.

“This year’s project applicants saw the benefits of a 12.5 percent increase in the Housing Credit allocation approved by Congress in March” remarked Sarah Carpenter, Executive Director of VHFA. “However, VHFA still received twice as many applications for tax credits as we were able to approve. Limits on the amount of federal and state credits available each year continue to prevent Vermont from more fully addressing the severe, long-standing shortage of affordable housing throughout the state.”

The investments made by VHFA this week will fund the construction of new, high-quality apartments, most of which will be reserved for Vermont households earning below 60 percent of the area median. Median income in Vermont in 2016 was $57,677, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Several projects will offer much deeper subsidies for the lowest-income households and for those at risk of homelessness. As a condition of funding, these new projects must keep rents affordable for at least 30 years, though most of the projects have committed to remaining affordable in perpetuity. 

The projects include City Center, which will create 42 affordable apartments on Market Street in South Burlington. The site is within walking distance of many amenities including grocery stores, a mall, schools, library, and medical offices. The project is sponsored by Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont.

East Allen Apartments will include 27 affordable units half a mile from downtown Winooski with convenient access to public transportation. The building will contain an exercise room, common areas, and underground parking. Seven of the homes will have access to on-site supportive services provided by COTS to support formerly homeless households. Green Mountain Development Group is the project sponsor.

Oliva Place in Lyndon will have 16 affordable apartments in a mixed income building. Two units will offer SASH supportive housing services, which coordinates the resources of social-service agencies and health providers to help seniors and those with disabilities to live more independently. In addition, four homes at the property will serve homeless and at risk households. Rural Edge & Housing Vermont are co-sponsors.

In Brattleboro, Snow Block will create 18 affordable apartments on a vacant site on Flat Street, within walking distances of stores, the library, and transportation. The proposed building will be constructed to achieve Passive House certification, which means it will use much less energy for heating and cooling than comparable buildings. The project is sponsored by Windham & Windsor Housing Trust.

Sykes Mountain Ave in Hartford will include 21 affordable apartments less than one mile from downtown White River Junction. It will have underground parking, a community room, a playground, community gardens and access to walking trails. The project, sponsored by Twin Pines Housing Trust and Housing Vermont, also received funding from the Sustainability Bonds sale managed by VHFA earlier this year.

Taylor Street in Montpelier will offer affordable apartments to 19 households. The building is part of a mixed-use development that will incorporate a new city transit center on the bottom floor. The site is located next to the Montpelier recreation path and is close to downtown stores and services. Downstreet Housing and Housing Vermont are sponsors.

VHFA also awarded federal bond credits and Vermont State Tax Credits to two projects that will significantly rehabilitate older buildings, helping retain Vermont’s limited supply of affordable rental housing. Housing Vermont will renovate nine affordable apartments at Bristol Family Housing, providing much-needed improvements to reduce maintenance costs and save energy. Appletree Apartments in Fair Haven has 40 affordable apartments, about half of which are set aside for senior residents. Renovations will bring the building up to current codes and significantly improve accessibility and energy efficiency. That project is sponsored by Housing Trust of Rutland County.

In addition to the housing credits, other funding sources for these developments include permanent financing provided by VHFA as well as grants and loans from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the federal HOME program, the National Housing Trust Fund, the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program, local housing trust funds, NeighborWorks, the Vermont Community Development Program and USDA Rural Development.


About Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA):

VHFA is a non-profit agency created in 1974 by the Vermont Legislature to finance and promote affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since its inception, the Agency has helped approximately 29,000 Vermont households with affordable mortgages and financed the development of approximately 8,600 affordable rental units. www.vhfa.org


Vermont Housing Finance Agency


CONTACT: Mia Watson

April 20, 2018

(802) 652-3453


Photo: One Taylor Street, Montpelier Vermont. Courtesy gbA Architecture and Planning