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Job Posting – Chief Operating Officer, Vermont Housing Finance Agency

Posted June 23, 2017

VHFA has an immediate opening for a Chief Operating Officer who will be responsible for the direction, management, and oversight of VHFA’s production departments: Homeownership, Multifamily Asset Management and Development. The COO reports to the Executive Director and will work with Senior Management in developing and implementing successful business plans for each program area. Key activities include maximizing capital resources for VHFA programs and developing new business opportunities.

Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree in business/public administration, finance, economics, or equivalent experience (Masters Level preferred) and ten years’ experience in senior level management, finance, commercial banking, residential real estate investing and/or real estate development. The ideal candidate would have experience with public finance, Government Sponsored Enterprises, affordable housing programs, and/or mortgage lending.

Learn more about this position including the full position description and summary of benefits.

 



Sanders Announces $3 Million in National Housing Trust Funds for Vermont

Posted June 21, 2017

Last week, Senator Bernie Sanders announced $3 million in new funds awarded to Vermont through the National Housing Trust Fund to be used for the creation, preservation, and rehabilitation of affordable housing. These funds provided a much needed. The National Housing Trust Fund was created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis in order to support the creation of affordable housing nationwide, specifically targeting low income households with incomes below the national poverty line.

“Increasing the availability of affordable housing in Vermont has consistently been one of my top priorities,” Sanders said in a statement. “After more than 15 years of fighting for the National Housing Trust Fund, I am very pleased to see all 50 states receive funds to provide housing for people who are most in need.”

According to Gus Seelig, Executive Director of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the funds will support 22 Vermont families thorugh the construction of more that 140 unites in Burlington, Brattleboro, Randolph, Rutland, Poultney, and Marshfield.

Read more here from VTDigger.com.

 

 



Job Posting – Membership Specialist, Champlain Housing Trust

Posted

MEMBERSHIP SPECIALIST

Do you have a desire to step into fund raising and a passion for social justice? Champlain Housing Trust has an exciting new opportunity available that will allow you to put your excellent communication, organization, and people skills to work supporting our membership and fundraising team. Fundraising experience helpful, but not necessary. Must be committed to a membership-based model of community controlled and permanently affordable housing.

CHT is a socially responsible employer offering a competitive salary commensurate with experience and a comprehensive benefit package. Submit a cover letter and resume by June 30th to Human Resources, Champlain Housing Trust, 88 King Street, Burlington, VT 05401 or email hr@champlainhousingtrust.orgNo phone calls, please.

 



Housing Revenue Bond Initiative

Posted

Colleagues,

We anticipate a significant achievement from this legislative session: approval of a $35 million revenue bond to invest in affordable and workforce housing. The bond was proposed by Gov. Scott in January and was enthusiastically received by both the House and the Senate. (A summary of the proposed uses of the bond can be found here.) While there remains uncertainty about the state’s budget, we have been assured by the Governor’s office and legislative leadership that the bond remains a high priority for both and it would be appropriate to begin planned outreach.

The revenue bond will be issued by VHFA and administered by VHCB. As we outline the investment of bond proceeds in housing development projects, we want to begin by reaching out to communities around the state for help in identifying highest priority needs and projects. I would like to invite you to a meeting to learn more about the revenue bond and to hear your ideas:

June 23, 1:30 – 3:00 pm
Hartford Municipal Building
Room 12, First Floor

In the interim, feel free to contact Martin Hahn, our Housing Director (mhahn@vhcb.org, 828-3259), if you have questions or feedback and feel share this event within your network.

 



Job Posting – VHCB Housing Analyst

Posted June 16, 2017

The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board seeks a highly capable, self-motivated individual to join our housing staff. Responsibilities include financial underwriting and analysis of applications for affordable housing development funds, organizational grant underwriting, and project and organizational monitoring.

We seek a person with attention to detail, the ability to work as part of a team, strong communication skills and an interest in the non-profit housing delivery system.

Prior experience preferred in housing development, finance or underwriting and working with non-profit organizations, municipalities, and state agencies. Background in any or all of the following is desirable: architecture, construction, service supported housing, technical assistance, working with federal funds. The position requires some in-state travel.

This is a full-time position with comprehensive benefits. Position remains open until filled. EOE. To apply, email a letter of interest, résumé and references to Laurie Graves, laurie@vhcb.org. Read the job description.

 



Vermont’s Annual Count of Homelessness Shows Mixed Results

Posted June 13, 2017

For Immediate ReleaseJune 13, 2017

Contact: MaryEllen Mendl, 802.861.0146 ext. 205 maryellen@unitedwaysvt.org

Erin Ahern, 802.860.4310 ext. 8481, eahearn@chcb.org

Margaret Bozik, 802. 861.7370,  Margaret.Bozik@champlainhousingtrust.org

MONTPELIER, VT – 1,225 Vermonters were found to be literally homeless on a single night in January. The 2017 Point-in-Time Count Report, released today by the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness and the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance, showed an overall increase in homelessness by 11% compared to the 2016 Point-in-Time Count. While there was an overall statewide increase, there were striking regional differences, including decreases in Chittenden (-12%) and Franklin (-17%) counties. Included in the total were 306 children, representing 25% of the entire homeless population counted.

“The work of local communities, with the help of local, state and federal investments, is needed now more than ever,” said MaryEllen Mendl, Co-Chair of the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness. “The Trump budget would cut off affordable housing assistance to an estimated 750 Vermont families, putting them at risk of eviction and homelessness.  It also eliminates numerous key programs that fund the creation of new affordable homes, like Community Development Block Grants, HOME and the National Housing Trust Fund.”

The report comes from data collected for the Annual Point-in-Time Count, an unduplicated count of persons experiencing literal homelessness on the night of January 24, 2017.  The Count was organized by Vermont’s two federally-recognized Continua of Care (CoC), the Chittenden County CoC and the 11 local coalitions that make up the Balance of State CoC. These networks are comprised of homeless and human service organizations, housing agencies, government agencies, health care providers, private funders, and other partners that strive to eliminate homelessness in Vermont.

Margaret Bozik, Co-Chair of the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance, stated, “We are pleased to see a continuing decrease in homelessness in Chittenden County. We are now seeing family homelessness decline as well as reductions in the number of people who have experienced homelessness for long periods of time in Chittenden County.  It’s very encouraging to see the state looking to make new investments in affordable housing, though the proposed federal cuts are troubling.”

Additional Point-in-Time Count Findings:

  • 134 people were unsheltered, a 14% decrease from last year.
  • Just under half of the people (47%) were homeless for the first time.
  • 267 persons (22%) reported as survivors of domestic violence, a 40-person increase from 2016.
  • Due to coordinated statewide efforts, the population of homeless veterans has steadily declined since the 2013 Count. 2017 saw a continuation of this downward trend with 94 veterans counted, a 15% decrease compared to last year.
  • 340 people (28%) reported having a severe mental illness. 228 people (19%) reported having a substance abuse disorder.

The Point-In-Time Count findings come on the heels of the release of the Out of Reach Report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition. Vermont’s average Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,139. In order to afford this — without paying more than 30% on rent and utilities — a household must earn $45,545 annually, translating to a $21.90 hourly wage. This is unaffordable for a large percentage of Vermonters. The report found that Vermont has the 5th largest affordability gap for renters of any state in the nation. High rents, coupled with vacancy rates as low as 1%, continue to be barriers to finding and retaining housing.

People who experience homelessness in Vermont face complex challenges, which include and go beyond the unaffordability of housing. The Point-in-Time Count allows local communities and state policy makers to understand the current problems of homelessness, target limited funding to appropriate housing and services, and track progress towards ending and preventing homelessness.

For more information and for the full report, visit: http://helpingtohousevt.org/.

 



North Avenue Co-op Gets 1st Modular Home

Posted June 12, 2017

Last week, the North Avenue Co-op, a resident owned and operated mobile home park, received a delivery of the first VERMOD to enter the park. VERMODs are energy efficient modular homes that produce as much energy as they use. They are targeted towards replacing mobile homes, which generally are energy inefficient and tend to cost their primarily low-income residents a disproportionate amount of their income to heat.

The homes are equipped with solar panels on the roofs and are made with high-quality materials that decrease heating and electricity costs. The homes are eligible for up to $50,000 in incentives from the Burlington Electric Department, Champlain Housing Trust, and others, though for many residents living in mobile homes, the price tag may still be too steep. The modular home will serve as a show room for residents to tour and is currently for sale.

Read more from Vermontbiz.com.

 



Cathedral Square Celebrates Elm Place Opening in Milton

Posted

Last Week, Governor Scott joined residents and Cathedral Square staff to cut the ribbon at Elm Place, located at 60 Bombardier Rd. in Milton. Elm Place houses 30 units designated for affordable senior housing, This represents Cathedral Square’s first project in Milton, and you can tell how important it is through the resident response.

“When I found out they were building a place down here, I said, ‘Oh boy, I’m going home,’” said resident Marge Forant. “And here I am. I’m home.”

The building features the innovative Support and Services at Home (SASH) program, which provides residents with support in their homes, trimming health care expenditures. Its architectural focus on energy efficiency and makes it the first multi-family facility in Vermont to claim status as a “passive house.” The entire building requires the same amount of energy for heat as does a single-family home.

28 of the building’s units require residents to fall at or below a $35,280 income threshold for a single person, or $40,320 for a couple.

Read more from the Milton Independent.

 



2017 Out of Reach Report Released Today

Posted June 8, 2017

Today, the National Low Income Housing Coalition released its annual “Out of Reach” report. This report details the wage that individuals would have to earn per hour to afford a modest two bedroom apartment in each county in the nation.  The Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition is jointly releasing the report’s findings for our state. Here in Vermont, we saw universal increases across the state in the amount Vermonters need to earn for their homes to be affordable. It’s essential that we spread this message and promote awareness about the importance of creating safe, permanently affordable homes for those who are low income. Please see our press release below with a summary of the Vermont findings.  Additional information and graphics on Vermont’s standing in the nation are available here.

We are extremely grateful to all three members of our congressional delegation for providing quotes that highlight the importance of this report and the need for safe, affordable housing for all Vermonters.

We would appreciate any efforts to reach out to your local media and spread this information far and wide. I have included here a link to the NLIHC media toolkit, where you can find sample tweets and posts for social media, as well as links to additional graphics that you can use to help the media and the public easily understand the crisis of affordability that we find ourselves in. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Erhard or Luke Dodge. Thanks very much for your ongoing support and dedication to promoting affordable housing for all Vermonters.

_______________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 8, 2017
CONTACT: Erhard Mahnke, 802.233.2902, erhardm@vtaffordablehousing.org
Luke Dodge, 802.660.9484, luke.vahc@gmail.com

Affordable Housing Is Out of Reach for Low-Wage Vermonters
The Average Vermont Renter Can’t Afford a Modest 2-Bedroom Apartment

BURLINGTON, VT – In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent in Vermont, renters need to earn $21.90 an hour, or $45,545 a year. This is Vermont’s 2017 Housing Wage, revealed in the annual Out of Reach report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization, and the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition. At Vermont’s current minimum wage, individuals would need to work 88 hours per week, or 2.2 full-time jobs, to afford a two-bedroom rental home.

The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a family must earn, working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, to be able to afford the rent and utilities for a safe and modest home in the private housing market (affordable means paying no more than 30% of income).  Every year, Out of Reach reports on the Housing Wage for all states, counties, and metropolitan areas in the country.

The report highlights the gap between what renters earn and what it costs to afford rent at fair market value.  With an estimated mean renter wage of $12.51 an hour, average Vermont renters are left $9.39 an hour short of what they need to earn to afford a decent place to live.  They can afford just $650 a month for their housing costs while the average statewide Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,139.  Vermont has the 5th largest affordability gap for renters of any state in the nation. Vermont has nearly 75,000 renter households.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said: “With 27 percent of Vermonters living in liquid asset poverty, I often hear from Vermonters who are struggling just to make ends meet.  I am proud that Vermont’s affordable housing leaders are some of the best in the nation.  For years they have built a system to help ensure that families do not fall through the cracks.  While Vermont continues to make strides since the Great Recession, resources like the NLIHC Out of Reach Report remain key tools to ensure that policymakers, service providers and community partners have the information they need to help every family succeed.”

Even though Vermont’s minimum wage has increased annually for the last several years, it is not enough to pay for decent housing:  2.2 full-time jobs at minimum wage – or 88 work hours a week – are needed to afford the average two-bedroom apartment.  A full-time minimum wage worker in Vermont can only afford $520 a month for rent and utilities, leaving a gap of $619.  While some might consider this is an unfair comparison because they think most minimum wage workers are high school students, this is not the reality.  According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of a minimum wage worker is 35 years old, and 88% are at least 20 years old.  Half are older than 30, and about a third are at least 40.

“It is no secret that – because of an economy that is rigged for the benefit of the very rich – wages for most working families have been stagnant for several decades,” said Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee. “Millions of Americans are struggling to get by, working longer hours at lower wages, while the cost of housing keeps going up.  Here in Vermont, far too many households pay more than 50 percent of their limited incomes to keep a roof over their heads, leaving little for other necessities like food, clothing, heat and medicine.  As a country, we must reorder our national priorities, and that includes investing more in decent and permanently affordable housing for working families.”

Unfortunately, federal funding levels for housing, rental assistance and supportive services are far below what they were five or six years ago.  Key federal programs like HOME, Section 8 Vouchers, and Community Development Block Grants have been underfunded for years, and are now under serious threat in the Trump Administration’s recent budget proposal.

“Today’s report shows how far we still have to go to put affordable housing in reach for all of Vermont’s families,” said Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT). “The numbers make it very clear that the President’s budget proposal to drastically slash funding for affordable housing programs and services is a step in the wrong direction. This is an area that is in need of significantly more resources for the most vulnerable Vermonters, not less.”

The state of Vermont suffers from chronic budget shortfalls and has been unable to make the necessary increases to such key housing safety net programs as the Vermont Rental Subsidy Program, which helps close the affordability gap for low-income Vermonters. The $35 million housing bond included in the FY 18 State budget to help fund the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board is certainly an essential step in the right direction towards providing more affordable housing for Vermonters. The Coalition hopes that the current impasse between the Governor and lawmakers can be resolved soon so that critical new housing can be built.

Additional findings from Out of Reach:

  • The national Housing Wage is $21.21 in 2017.
  • Vermont is the seventh most expensive state for rural (non-metro) areas.
  • Vermont is the 13th most expensive state in the nation for renters.
  • The Housing Wage in the greater metropolitan area of Burlington is $26.83, almost $5.00 an hour higher than the state average.
  • Someone with a disability living on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can only afford $236 a month, leaving them $903 short for a two-bedroom, and $665 short for a one-bedroom apartment.

For additional Vermont information, visit: http://bit.ly/2r68TOP.
For additional national information, visit: http://www.nlihc.org/oor/.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.
For more information, visit www.nlihc.org.

 

 



College of St. Joseph in Rutland to Force Seniors From Homes

Posted June 1, 2017

The College of St. Joseph in Rutland recently acquire Highland Meadows, a 32-unit building in the downtown area that has been home to many of its residents for nearly 30 years. A number of its residents are senior citizens, with one resident who may be forced to move age 100. The college plans to clear the building of all non-student residents by summer 2019, and plans not to renew some leases while providing extensions to a small number of residents through July.

Residents voiced real concerns with the forced relocations, citing issues from the costs of moving to not being able to find another place to live to losing one’s home of over 25 years.

“That leaves us in a terrible position,” Herman Danielowich, 84, told the college President. “That’s like cutting off your right arm.”

“I don’t want to go to another town,” Janice Aprea said. “I work in Rutland. I don’t want to be driving 30 minutes in the snow. I’m 10 minutes from work. I don’t want to go any further than 10 minutes, but there’s no place that’s 10 minutes from my work that’s even come close to where we are currently.”

Due to requirements set by funding the college received from the federal Rural Development Loan Program, non-students can comprise a maximum of 25 percent of the building’s residents. When asked why the college chose to purchase Highland Meadows rather than construct a new dormitory, President Jensen cited the “drastically lower costs.”

Read more from the Rutland Herald here.

 



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