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Tenant Talk’s final issue of 2011 is now available!

Posted December 29, 2011

Tenant Talk is NLIHC’s newsletter for residents of public housing, assisted tenants, and low income renters and their allies. Our fourth issue of the year is all about voterization! Find out how to register and why it is critical for residents to get out the vote. Plus, get info on NLIHC’s 2012 Housing Policy Conference and Lobby Day, and learn how to nominate a tenant association or resident council for our newly created Resident Organizing Award!

Click Here to Read it Now


Homeless man’s death triggers Burlington shelter talk


You will often hear politicians talk about making sure no one freezes to death in Vermont. Well, it appears someone has frozen to death in Vermont, or at least that appears to be a contributing factor.

The unnerving announcement from the Burlington Police Department:

“On December 17, 2011, at approximately 7:49 pm, the Burlington Police Department was notified by a passerby that they had seen a person sleeping on the ground in the area of South Union Street at College Street.  The caller was concerned for the well being of this person due to the frigid temperature.  According to weather reports, with the wind chill factor it was near 7 degrees at the time of the report.”…

Article Taken From the Burlington Free Press



PDF: Paul Otoole Death


State will supplement heating assistance for low-income Vermonters

Posted December 27, 2011

For Immediate Release

Dec. 27, 2011

Contact: Susan Allen


Gov. Shumlin: State will supplement heating assistance for low-income Vermonters

MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin and legislative leaders announced today that the state would add $6.1 million to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known as LIHEAP, to help ensure Vermonters can afford to heat their homes and stay warm this winter.

Despite the heavy lifting of Vermont’s Congressional delegation, the federal contribution to LIHEAP will be about $8 million less than last year. Vermont received $27.6 million in fuel assistance from the federal government for heating assistance last year, providing an average benefit of $866.  This year Vermont expects to receive $19.5 million, providing an average benefit amount of $750, the Governor said.

For more information, contact:

Tom Cheney, Office of the Speaker of the House


Ashley Grant, Office of the Senate President Pro-Tempore



For Full PDF Click Here


Gov. Shumlin announces reorganization in Agency of Human Services

Posted December 21, 2011

For Immediate Release

Dec. 20, 2011

Contact – Susan Allen, 802-828-6463 – Doug Racine, 802-871-3003

Gov. Shumlin announces reorganization in Agency of Human Services

MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin today announced that Mental Health Commissioner Christine Oliver and Deputy Secretary Patrick Flood will swap positions, with Oliver assuming the role of Deputy Secretary and Flood becoming Commissioner of Mental Health.

The job swap meets two imperatives. First, the announcement of the Governor’s long-term plan for mental health services in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene and the closing of the Vermont State Hospital has created a legislative and strategic challenge for which Patrick Flood is uniquely qualified to address. Irene gave Vermont an opportunity to build the best integrated mental health delivery system in the nation, where quality care and patient needs come first.

Meanwhile, the Agency of Human Services is facing a host of unanticipated management challenges due to both Irene and federal budget cuts.  Christine Oliver’s extensive management and legal experience match well with the Agency’s current needs.

While Oliver dealt with the immediate crisis after the emergency closure of the Vermont State Hospital following severe flooding from Tropical Storm Irene in late August, Flood focused on short-, medium- and long-term options for strengthening Vermont’s mental health system statewide.

“Christine and Patrick have both done an extraordinary job under difficult conditions over the past year,” Governor Shumlin said. “As I have worked closely with them in the wake of Irene, it has become clear to me that at this unique moment, Christine’s background and talents are better suited to managing the Agency’s overall work, while Patrick’s legislative and state government experience make him best suited to helping realize my vision for creating a comprehensive, post-Irene mental health system.”

Gov. Shumlin last week announced the following proposal for mental health delivery in Vermont:

Post Irene: Strengthening Mental Health Services for Vermonters

Pre-Irene: 54 state-operated beds (25-30 used for acute intensive care, the remainder were for patients awaiting discharge)

Cost: $22.5 million operating from General Fund budget annually.

New long term plan:

  • 15 bed state managed facility in central Vermont – can be expanded (Fletcher Allen will provide 7 to 10 intensive inpatient beds while this facility is being constructed and staffed)
  • 14 beds at Brattleboro Retreat
  • 6 at Rutland Regional Medical Center
  • Up to 5 beds secure residential on campus of Windsor Correctional Facility
  • Cost: $26.6 million in capital expenses (insurance policy/FEMA may cover some or all)

Additional community services:

  • Step down beds (transitional beds as people move off acute care)
  • Improved emergency services
  • Improved individualized services
  • Housing vouchers and peer services (people who have been patients who now are willing to run services for others – hotline, beds any number of supports)
  • Cost: $16 million gross; $7 million General Fund; the remainder is federal matching funds
  • Total number of beds under this Post Irene plan: 70

Susan Allen

Special Assistant to the Governor





Graduate Level Housing Policy Course


Mondays from 4 to 7pm* – 456 Waterman Hall, Burlington – January 23rd to May 7th

This is a unique time in history when so much public dialogue is focused on housing policy and finance. This spring semester’s Housing Policy course will study the history and debate the future of the following topics:

  • Federal housing finance system
  • Federal government’s role in housing policy
  • How the private market delivers the public good of housing
  • Devolution of funding to state and local players
  • How Vermont’s housing system was formed and evaluate its efforts
  • Housing’s intricate relationship with: energy usage, transportation costs, health care, and jobs
  • Goals of affordable housing programs and the evolution of programs and goals based on historical failures
  • Homeownership initiatives such as Vermont’s Community Land Trusts, mobile homes, and homeownership counseling
  • Role of rental housing policy in an ownership society
  • Housing safety and habitability, landlord/tenant rights in Vermont, and fair housing
  • Tools and incentives that support or limit housing creation, such as inclusionary zoning, smart growth, local and state permitting, and the impact of community opposition to development
  • Unique housing needs of elders, people with disabilities and people who are homeless

Course taught by Maura Collins, Policy and Planning Manager at Vermont Housing Finance Agency. No text book is required and course work will draw from national and local case studies utilizing several Vermont-based experts representing diverse perspectives on housing finance and development, including:

  • A local planner from a rural Vermont community
  • A private developer of affordable and market rate housing
  • A low income housing advocate
  • And several more…

To Register for the Course:

  • Non-UVM students:
  • Enrolled UVM students:
  • The course is: PA395, CRN 14044

Email Maura at with questions

Housing Policy Course Flyer


Manchester affordable housing moves forward


Manchester, Vermont – December 18, 2011

Manchester, Vermont has always been a hot spot for vacationers and second home owners but a new initiative aims to make living in Manchester more attainable for first time homeowners.

Nail by nail, members of the Manchester community are volunteering their time and creating new opportunity for a local family.

“The concept of housing being affordable has been a huge issue in this community for many years,” said Lee Krohn, Manchester’s Town Planner.

In Manchester, where the average home price is over 400-thousand dollars, many who work in the town can’t afford to live there

“Our goal is to live, work, send your kids to school — all in Manchester,” said John O’Keefe, Manchester’s Town Manager. “We don’t feel that the jobs that we attract should allow you to work in Manchester but have to live somewhere else.”

And thanks to Habitat for Humanity, 22 new homes will be constructed completley by volunteers in a neighborhood that will meet state requirements for planned affordable housing developments. The one being built now is the first home of what will be the largest Habitat community in New England …

Link to Full Story

PDF of Article


Concrete slabs and memories

Posted December 14, 2011

Non-profit group removes trailers damaged by Irene for free

Friday December 9, 2011

BRATTLEBORO — Three months ago the tropical storm that hit southern Vermont damaged homes and businesses, some beyond repair, and changed the lives of thousands of people.

For a group of seven former homeowners at Glen Park in West Brattleboro, all they have left is the few items they were able to salvage from the historic flood and a slab of cement where their trailer homes used to be.

With their homes condemned, each was also left with an estimated $4,000 bill, the cost to have the hazardous buildings removed. It was an expense and an added stress that nearly cost one of the residents her life, said Mary Durland, who helped raise awareness of their plight.

But because of the efforts of the Champlain Valley Office for Economic Opportunity and the Community Development and Applied Economics Department at the University of Vermont, all of the trailers were demolished, scrapped and removed free of charge.

Link to Full Article

PDF of Full Article


Northeast states cut heating aid to poor

Posted December 13, 2011

Northeast states cut heating aid to poor

Burlington Free Press – December 11, 2011

WASHINGTON — Mary Power is 92 and worried about surviving another frigid New England winter because deep cuts in federal home heating assistance benefits mean she probably can’t afford enough heating oil to stay warm.

She lives in a drafty trailer in Boston’s West Roxbury neighborhood and gets by on $11,148 a year in pension and Social Security benefits. Her heating aid help this year will drop from $1,035 to $685. With rising heating oil prices, it probably will cost her more than $3,000 for enough oil to keep warm unless she turns her thermostat down to 60 degrees, as she plans.

“I will just have to crawl into bed with the covers over me and stay there,” said Power, a widow who worked as a cashier and waitress until she was 80. “I will do what I have to do.” ..

Link to full article

Full PDF of Article: Northeast states cut heating aid to poor



VRSC Workshop: Bridges Out of Poverty on March 21, 2012

Posted December 12, 2011

The Vermont Resident Service Coordinators are offering a workshop, Bridges Out of Poverty, on March 21, 2012.  Attached please find the VRSC announcement for this event.   Bridges Out of Poverty is a renown workshop and Prudence is an excellent trainer.

There is no fee to attend this half day event for VHMA members as a result of our recent VRSC/VHMA partnership.  There is a $10 fee for materials and the workbook, which is payable the day of the event.

If you have any questions, please contact or call 860-995-9897.

Workshop Flyer



Fourteen new affordable apartments in Randolph


There was standing room only at the Salisbury Square Apartments’ ribbon cutting in Randolph yesterday. Julie Iffland, Executive Director of Randolph Area Community Development Corporation (RACDC), thanked supporters and provided tours of the fourteen new, energy efficient, affordable apartments.  Ten apartments are located in two new buildings on School Street, and four apartments are in a new addition to a historic building that was once part of the Ethan Allen Furniture Company.

Adjacent to Randolph’s downtown, the apartments are within walking distance of services and stores. RACDC spent years cleaning up the site which had been environmentally contaminated. The site includes open space and permits are in place to build for-sale homes as the real estate market improves.

RACDC’s board and staff devoted considerable planning time and care to ensure that this new neighborhood meets the needs of the Randolph community. Sixty applications have already been submitted for the 14 new apartments.

This project was funded with a combination of sources including: pre-development loans and Housing Credits and Tax Credit Assistance Program funding from VHFA; HUD’s Economic Development Initiative; Vermont Housing & Conservation Board; Vermont Community Development Program; Vermont Community Loan Fund; Vermont Brownfields Revitalization Fund; Vermont Community Foundation; and Housing Credit Investors Mascoma Bank and Housing Vermont’s Green Mountain Equity Fund.

Link to Original Posting



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