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VHFA News

By: Mia Watson on 11/25/2019

Do you need an affordable apartment or know someone who does?  

There are vacancies in 31 different apartment complexes across the state, according to the Vermont Directory of Affordable Rental Housing. Learn more about particular units by clicking on the development name below, or by visiting the vacancy profiles on the website.

Pictured:  Taylor Street Apartments in Montpelier. Photo courtesy of Housing Vermont

Property Namesort descending Street Address City/Town

Vacant Apartments

Apts restricted to elderly and/or tenants with disabilities
14 Birge Street 14 Birge Street Brattleboro 1 0
34 Canal Street 34 Canal Street Brattleboro 1 0
Abbott Neighborhood Housing 10 & 18 Canal Street; 172 Elliot Street and 12 & 16 Horton Place Brattleboro 1 0
Arlington Village Center Apartments 3658 - 3662 VT Route 7A Arlington 1 1
Barre Street Apartments 39-40 Barre Street Montpelier 4 0
Ben South 120-126 Benmont Avenue and 501-507 South Street Bennington 1 0
Bennington Historic 50 & 100 Carrigan Lane, 316-318 Safford Street, 233 School Street and 119-121 Pleasant Street Bennington 2 0
Brookview Apartments 650 Bugbee Street Hartford 2 0
Caledonia Housing 279 Spring; 380 Portland Street; 139 Pearl Street; 72 High Street; 767 Railroad Street; 211 Winter Street; 78 Hastings Hill; 77 Barker Avenue St. Johnsbury 6 0
Canal Street Veterans Housing 120 West Canal Street Winooski 4 0
Cathedral Square Senior Living 3 Cathedral Square Burlington 11 11
Conant Square Inn Apartments 30 Conant Square Brandon 1 1
Cora B. Whitney 814 Gage Street Bennington 1 1
Country Park 635 Hinesburg Road South Burlington 1 1
Cummings Street Apartments 21-25 Cummings Street Montpelier 2 0
Downtown Crossing 302 & 304 South Street and 343 - 349 School Street Bennington 1 0
Highgate Apartments Highgate Drive Barre City 9 0
HUNT FARM HLP 2066 - 2070 Hunt Farm Road Bristol 3 0
Jeffersonville Bond - Senior 115 Mann's Meadow Cambridge 1 0
Mad River Meadows 144 Butcher House Drive Waitsfield 1 2
Monument View Apartments Hilltop Drive Bennington 11 0
Newport Senior Housing 107 & 119 Main Street Newport City 1 0
North Branch Apartments 87 & 89 Elm Street; 6 & 8 Monsignor Crosby Ave and 47 Barre Street Montpelier 3 0
Norwich Senior Housing 4 Dorrance Drive Norwich 1 1
Park House 16 Park Row Box 4 Rochester 4 0
Roaring Branch 132-134, 136-138 & 140-142 Benmont Avenue and 100-111 & 113-115 Roaring Branch Lane Bennington 1 0
Taylor Street Apartments 1 Taylor St Montpelier 30 0
Thayer BTS 29-35 Conant Square, 149 Mulcahy Drive Brandon 1 0
Tontine 500 Coolidge Hwy Guilford 1 0
Vermont Arts Apartments - Shaftsbury 10-12 & 14-16 Greenwich Street Shaftsbury 2 0
Wentworth Community Housing LP 117 Wentworth Way Hartford 2 0

 

By: Mia Watson on 11/21/2019

In 2019, the Vermont Legislature passed Act 48, which included asking the State Treasurer to evaluate and report on options for funding and financing affordable housing in the state.  This report is due on January 15, 2020.

Act 48 instructs the Treasurer to coordinate with Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA), Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB), Agency of Commerce and Community Development (DHCD) and the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition (VAHC). The Treasurer has met with each of these stakeholders, as well as other groups, and has attended public hearings hosted around the state by the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

Prior to submitting the final report, Treasurer Beth Pearce will be holding a meeting of all stakeholders and other interested parties in the Treasurer’s Office to help develop the scope of the recommendations. This meeting will be held on Monday, December 16th, 2019 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. in Montpelier in the Nobel Lounge at theVermont College of Fine Arts Campus in Montpelier. 

Please contact Ashlynn Doyon (Ashlynn.Doyon@vermont.gov) with questions and to RSVP in advance of the meeting.

By: Maura Collins on 11/13/2019

This commentary by VHFA Executive Director Maura Collins appeared recently in VTDigger

New estimates show fewer young Vermonters are buying homes. Vermont currently has the sixth highest homeownership rate in the nation, with 71 percent of households owning their home, but a downturn among young buyers could have lasting negative effects on Vermont’s economy.

According to 2017 Census Bureau estimates, Vermont’s homeownership rate among 25 to 34 year olds has fallen to 41 percent when it was 49 percent just a decade ago. The inability to find affordable housing during this stage of life can considerably delay purchasing a home, which delays these young Vermonters from committing to the state long term. A recent report from the Urban Institute found that young adults who lived with their parents between the ages of 25 and 34 were significantly less likely to be homeowners even 10 years later.

Homeownership is an important vehicle for households to build long-term wealth.  Home equity is the largest component of household wealth, especially for Vermonters in the lower half of the wealth scale.  In this way, homeownership is critical for retirement planning. Buying one’s first home later in life can make it challenging to pay off a mortgage before retirement when income typically falls. Deferred home purchases could have long-term economic consequences for Vermont if growing numbers of low and middle income elderly retirees lack the financial security provided by home ownership.

Homeownership builds long-term wealth in several ways. Homeownership still financially outperforms stocks and bonds. Despite recent tax law changes, homeowners also continue to receive significant tax benefits that renters do not have access to, allowing families to pass wealth to the next generation. People who become homeowners also tend to report higher levels of health, community involvement and sense of satisfaction with their lives than those who don’t.

Why are young households struggling to become homeowners? Vermonters generally have higher student and auto loan debt than most states, which can make it difficult to save enough to afford a down payment, and we know that Vermont has the 5th highest closing costs in the country. Vermont home prices have increased dramatically over the last two decades, while real wage growth for most households has been essentially stagnant. Inventories of affordable, decent quality homes are also low in many areas of the state, making buyers compete for scarce properties. 

With Vermont 25 to 34 year old households growing at a rate of just 0.1 percent per year, many policy makers have expressed concern over the prospect of young people leaving the state for other opportunities. Having adequate housing options can both help employers attract and retain workers. Owning a home makes households far less likely to move, helping to keep them closely tied to their communities and in the state long-term.

Housing impacts almost every part of our lives. A lack of affordable homeownership opportunities is already reshaping Vermont’s economy. Vermont’s future will depend on how we respond.

 

By: Leslie Black-Plumeau on 11/4/2019

Although Vermont communities face hard work in turning the tide of rising housing affordability, consensus is growing about the most effective ways to do this.  At a recent gathering convened by Fannie Mae and the Urban Institute, business, government and non-profit leaders agreed that many of the root causes and solutions to the nation’s housing affordability crisis are tied to local action. 

The most powerful strategies available to communities seeking more balance in the affordability of their housing stock are:

  1. Work to include the views of the most affected residents.
  2. Identify and address lingering structural inequalities.  
  3. Focus on developing housing near jobs and other critical services. 

Vermont communities can learn from successes in Minneapolis about ways to broaden civic engagement to include potential beneficiaries of more affordably priced housing. An extensive study by Boston University found that people who participate in planning and zoning meetings often do not match the demographics of their communities as a whole.

Disparities in the white and black homeownership rate are a glaring symptom of long-standing structural housing market inequality.  With a black homeownership rate of only 22 percent, compared to 71 percent among white residents, learning from other states is tantamount for Vermont.  Nationally, 43 percent of black households are homeowners.

Vermont communities who join forces to develop housing near jobs and services are likely to see benefits quickly in terms of improved overall affordability, lessened commuting and invested residents. Initiatives such as the Keys to the Valley currently underway in the eastern part of the state are looking strategically about how to create and support the most needed types of homes. Similarly, the Zoning for Great Neighborhoods program will use six case study Vermont communities to demonstrate how local requirements can promote housing and walkability in downtown areas. 

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By: Mia Watson on 11/1/2019

VHFA joined Lamoille Housing Partnership (LHP) and Housing Vermont last week for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Jeudevine Housing. The project involved the extensive rehabilitation of three buildings in downtown Hardwick, preserving 18 affordable apartments and a commercial business space. Jeudevine received nearly half of its funding from federal tax credits awarded by VHFA. 

Jeudevine takes its name from prominent philanthropist and politician Alden Jeudevine, who lived in Hardwick in the mid-1880s. The development includes two historic buildings and a mixed use building with commercial space on Main Street. The Main Street building was originally constructed by LHP and Housing Vermont in 1993 after a large fire destroyed part of Hardwick’s historic downtown. All three buildings received extensive structural and energy efficiency upgrades.

The buildings offer one to four-bedroom apartments, serving residents earning 50%-60% of the area median income. In addition, two of the apartments will be reserved for formerly homeless or at-risk Vermonters, and enriched with supportive services to help them succeed.

The $4.4 million project received federal housing tax credits awarded by VHFA. The tax credits were purchased by Union Bank, raising an estimated $2.2 million in equity for construction. Other funders included Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) and Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP).

VHFA also attended ribbon-cuttings last week at Taylor Street Apartments in Montpelier and Snow Block in Brattleboro. Taylor Street, built by Downstreet Housing & Community Development and Housing Vermont, created 30 apartments, including 19 affordable units, as well as a new city transit center on the ground floor. The project received federal tax credits and a permanent loan from VHFA. Snow Block is a Passive House building with 18 affordable apartments in a 23-unit mixed-income building. That project received federal tax credits awarded by VHFA.

Photo courtesy of Lamoille Housing Partnership

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