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By: Caroline Rubin on 5/14/2020

Haven’t gotten around to completing the 2020 Census yet? If you did not receive materials in the mail with instructions to complete the 2020 Census, you can follow the link below, which provides comprehensive instructions to complete the process:

Start questionnaire

On March 12th, the United States Census Bureau began issuing questionnaires in the mail to homes across the United States for residents to complete the 2020 Census. The very next day, Governor Phil Scott declared a state of emergency in Vermont due to the coronavirus pandemic and as of May 12th, only 49.7% of Vermont households have responded to the questionnaire, compared to a nationwide rate of 58.6%.

View real-time updates of the U.S. Census response rates.

The circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused the already-complicated process of gathering data for the Decennial Census to become much more complex and multi-faceted. 

Normally, Census workers are deployed to go door-to-door in their communities to help ensure that populations such as nursing homes residents are able to be counted, in addition to other populations who do not have access to completing the Census questionnaire online. With stay-at-home orders in place, Census workers are not able to provide this crucial in-person service to community members who cannot complete this process independently. 

Vermonters lives are stressful and uncertain in many ways right now, and it is understandable that present circumstances make it difficult for residents to prioritize filling out the Census. That being said, gathering accurate Census data is vital to ensuring that our state receives the federal funding needed to support Vermonters and the state’s economy following this period of decline. In addition, counts of households resulting from the 2020 Census will be used to make impactful decisions for the next 10 years.

By: Mia Watson on 5/13/2020

The Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) Board of Commissioners announced on Monday the award of federal and state housing tax credits and loans to support the development, rehabilitation or preservation of 104 permanently affordable apartments in six communities across the state.

VHFA previously awarded federal allocated or Ceiling tax credits in March. The latest funding round includes additional federal Bond credits, Vermont Affordable Housing Tax Credits and permanent and construction loans issued by VHFA.

“Increasing access to safe and affordable housing has never been more important as Vermont begins to recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic,” remarked VHFA Executive Director Maura Collins. “VHFA is pleased that we were able to leverage these diverse funding sources to both preserve existing homes and develop new apartments to meet the overwhelming unmet need.”

Projects receiving funding include Bennington Family Housing, a collaboration between Shires Housing and the Bennington County Coalition for the Homeless. Shires Housing will acquire and rehabilitate an existing historic building on Pleasant Street to serve as the new site of the Thatcher House Family Shelter. The renovated building will offer nine apartments for households transitioning out of homelessness, paired with on-site supportive services. The project received federal and state tax credits and a construction loan.

In the Clark Canal Phelps project, Windham & Windsor Housing Trust will rehabilitate 26 apartments in four different historic buildings in downtown Brattleboro and three in downtown Windsor. The existing affordable multifamily buildings will receive new heating systems, energy efficiency upgrades and accessibility improvements. The project received federal and state tax credits and a construction loan.

Prospect Place is a 132 mixed income new development in South Burlington, with 26 apartments affordable for low and moderate income households. All of the affordable apartments will receive federal vouchers to ensure that residents pay no more than 30% of income towards their housing expenses. The new building will join recently-built affordable apartments at Allard Square and Garden Street, as well as a new city hall and public library, forming the new City Center neighborhood. The project, developed by Snyder Braverman Development Company, received state tax credits.

Downstreet Housing and Community Development and Housing Vermont will redevelop five buildings of existing affordable housing in Wells River Village in Newbury. The historic buildings offer 29 total apartments and first floor commercial spaces. The project received state tax credits.

At West Burke Housing, Housing Vermont and RuralEdge will rehabilitate existing affordable housing, purchasing the property from a private landlord to ensure its permanent affordability. The project will involve 15 existing apartments, nine of which are reserved for seniors, as well as adding eight new units. Fifteen units will receive federal vouchers to ensure rental affordability. In addition, RuralEdge will add three apartments to its portfolio reserved for formerly homeless households. The project will include upgrades to well and wastewater systems, energy efficiency improvements and accessibility updates. The project received federal and state tax credits.

In addition to the housing credits and loans awarded by VHFA, other funding sources for these developments include grants and loans from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the federal HOME program, USDA Rural Development (RD), the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program, the National Housing Trust Fund, NeighborWorks and the Vermont Community Development Program.

At the meeting, the Board also approved a permanent loan to the Bellows Falls Garage project and a construction loan to Parc Terrace (formerly 223 East Allen Street), which previously received federal tax credits in March.

Despite the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the project developers expressed their optimism that most of the planned construction work would proceed on schedule, with modifications made as needed to ensure socially distanced conditions.

Pictured: The future site of Bennington Family Housing. Courtesy of Shires Housing

By: Leslie Black-Plumeau on 5/7/2020

The Local Support and Community Action Team of the State of Vermont Economic Mitigation and Recovery Task Force needs your help prioritizing high impact ideas and actions identified by diverse stakeholders for COVID-19 recovery.  The task force was established by Governor Scott to help mitigate the short-term economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and develop strategies for long-term business and community recovery. 

Please share your views in this quick survey on or before Tuesday, May 12th.

We also encourage you to forward this survey to your peers and network.  Coordination, connection and collective action to prioritize and implement Vermont’s best ideas are the keys to a swift recovery, achieved together.

Local Support and Community Action Team members:

  • Paul Costello, Team Chair & Executive Director, Vermont Council on Rural Development
  • Xusana Davis, Executive Director of Racial Equity, State of Vermont
  • Oliver Olsen, Former Legislator & Director, Workday, Londonderry
  • Maura Collins, Executive Director, Vermont Housing Finance Agency
  • Rich McSheffrey, Co-owner, Cornerstone Restaurant Group, Montpelier
  • Ed Vilandrie, Founder, Altman Vilandrie & Company, co-owner Kingdom Taproom, Peacham
  • Sarah Waring, Vice President for Grants and Community Investments, Vermont Community Foundation
  • Catherine Dimitruk, Executive Director, Northwest Regional Planning Commission
  • Nick Richardson, President, Vermont Land Trust



By: Caroline Rubin on 5/6/2020

Are you or is someone you know in need of an affordable apartment? According to the Vermont Directory of Affordable Rental Housing, there are current vacancies in 47 affordable housing complexes throughout the state. Learn more about specific units by clicking on the development name below, or by visiting the vacancy profiles on the website. 

Property Namesort descending Street Address City/Town Vacant Units 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 2 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
Bianchi Apartments 208 Barre Street Montpelier 1 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
Colonial Village 59 & 63 S Pleasant St and 94 & 128 S Main St Bradford 1 2
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
Downstreet Apartments 22 Keith Avenue Barre City 1 0
Downtown Crossing 302 & 304 South Street and 343 - 349 School Street Bennington 1 0
French Block Apartments 34 Main St Montpelier 2 0
Green Mountain Seminary 201 Hollow Rd Waterbury 3 0
Highgate Apartments Highgate Drive Barre City 9 0
Hillside SRO 17 & 21 Northfield Street Montpelier 3 0
HUNT FARM HLP 2066 - 2070 Hunt Farm Road Bristol 3 0
Island Pond 19 Walnut Street, 190 Derby Street, 74 Mountain Street, 84 Elm Street Brighton 1 0
Jeffersonville Bond - Senior 115 Mann's Meadow Cambridge 1 0
Johns River Apartments 22 Caswell Avenue, 22 & 29 West Street Derby 1 0
Joslyn House 16 Maple Street Randolph 4 0
Keen's Crossing 65 - 85 Winooski Falls Way; 15 Cascade Way and 16 Abenaki Way Winooski 3 0
Mad River Meadows 144 Butcher House Drive Waitsfield 2 2
Manchester Commons Housing 119, 120, 135 & 150 Torrey Knoll Manchester 3 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 5 0
Norwich Senior Housing 4 Dorrance Drive Norwich 1 1
Park House 16 Park Row Box 4 Rochester 4 0
Passumpsic South 16, 40, 66, 84, 118, 182 & 200 Main Street St. Johnsbury 1 0
River Station Apartments 191 Barre Street Montpelier 3 0
Riverview Apartments 73 Westminster Street Rockingham 1 0
Roaring Branch 132-134, 136-138 & 140-142 Benmont Avenue and 100-111 & 113-115 Roaring Branch Lane Bennington 1 0
South Main Apartments 36 State Dr. Waterbury 2 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
Waits River Apartments 64, 68, 108, 234, 245 South Main Street; 33 South Pleasant Street and 25 Cobblestone Street Bradford 1 0
Wentworth Community Housing LP 117 Wentworth Way Hartford 2 0
Wheeler Brook Apartments 19, 31 & 71 Wheeler Brook Drive Warren 1 0
Winooski River Apartments 11 Bailey Avenue; 15 Baldwin Avenue and 37 Barre Street Montpelier 3 0
By: Leslie Black-Plumeau on 5/1/2020

Statewide reports of rising unemployment and residents in nursing homes especially vulnerable to COVID-19 can cause more questions than answers for Vermont’s communities. How many of our residents are unemployed?  How many live in “group quarters” and are especially at risk of contagious disease like COVID-19? How many of our neighbors experience homelessness or have such high housing costs relative to their incomes that their housing stability is at risk if their income falls?   

This week VHFA released a new dashboard of pandemic impact indicators to help local and state decision makers get answers to questions on community, county and state level effects of COVID-19.

Indicators related to economic distress caused by the pandemic, such as weekly unemployment claims and monthly unemployment rates, already show disparate regional impacts. For example, despite its much smaller population, the Rutland area has nearly the same number of unemployed residents as the Burlington area.  

New unemployment information from the Vermont Department of Labor is added to the dashboard each week. Other sources of town, county and state level information pulled by the dashboard include the latest Census Bureau estimates about at-risk living situations, broadband access from the Vermont Department of Public Service, and direct links to Vermont Department of Health’s latest information on COVID-19 cases.