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SAVE THE DATE: Vermont Housing & Conservation Coalition Legislative Day

Posted January 31, 2013

Please set aside February 20th as a day that you and your organization’s key supporters will spend in Montpelier talking and advocating in the Legislature on the importance of Vermont Housing and Conservation Board funding for your organization and the communities it serves. 

Governor Shumlin continues to support VHCB strongly.  He has proposed $14.3 million for VHCB – a modest increase over last year.  With a $70 million budget deficit, this is a very positive development. 

We need members to turn out in full force to support his request and show appreciation.  Voices have once again been raised in the Legislature saying that we don’t need to fund conservation when the state needs all available resources to help fund human services needs.  We need to reaffirm our core message that BOTH conservation and affordable housing are critical economic development investments that must remain a priority as the State meets the continued challenges of recovery from Irene and a sixth consecutive year of budget shortfalls. 

 View Legislative Day Tentative Schedule

For further information, contact:
Erhard Mahnke at 233-2902 or
John Shullenberger at 373-2590 or
Adam Necrason at 223-9988 or



VCH’s Plan to End Homelessness featured in NLIHC’s Memo to Members

Posted January 29, 2013

The National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) featured the Vermont Council on Homelessness’ Plan to End Homelessness in their January 25th Memo to Members. Special thanks to Maura Collins, Subcommittee Chair, primary author of the plan, and general herder of cats, and Angus Chaney, Chair of the Vermont Council on Homelessness.

“Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin’s efforts to address homelessness in his state continued the week of January 7 when he signed legislation authorizing the Vermont Plan to End Homelessness. The plan strengthens Vermont’s strategies to address affordable housing, under-employment, domestic violence, and mental health and substance abuse issues that have led to increased homelessness in recent years. During the first two years of his term, Governor Shumlin approved two new rental assistance programs, replenishing the federal Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing program with state funds, and increased funding for the state Housing and Conservation Trust Fund (see Memo, 6/8/12).

In January 2012, the Shumlin administration re-established the Vermont Council on Homelessness to develop and monitor the state’s 10-year plan to end homelessness. The council reports annually on progress made toward accomplishing the plan’s goals, and recommends resource, policy and regulatory changes needed to accomplish them. It is composed of state agency staff, entities engaged in preventing or addressing homelessness, persons experiencing homelessness and housing providers. Erhard Mahnke of the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition (VAHC), an NLIHC state coalition partner, worked intensively on the plan through a council subcommittee, which included VAHC members.

“Our focus on ending homelessness has been sharpened by a week of life-threatening sub-zero weather in northern New England,” Mr. Mahnke said. “Governor Shumlin, his administration and legislative leaders deserve a lot of credit for committing additional scarce state resources to help bend the curve on homelessness as the federal government backs further away from its responsibility to help house our lowest income and most vulnerable citizens…”

Read Full NLIHC Memo to Members Article

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Public Hearing – 2013 Action Plan for HUD Consolidated Plan


The State of Vermont’s Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development will conduct a public hearing in preparation of developing its 2013 Action Plan for the HUD Consolidated Plan for 2010-2015, to hear views about the State’s housing and community development needs, including priority non-housing community development needs and development of proposed activities, and review past performance related to its HUD Consolidated Plan. The plan constitutes the State’s application for, and outlines priorities for use of approximately $10 million in Federal funding provided annually to the State for the Community Development Block Grants (CBDG), Home Investment Partnerships (HOME), and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG).  The goals of the plan are to provide decent housing, assure a suitable living environment, and expand economic opportunities for Vermont’s citizens. The State’s Consolidated Plan is available on the Department’s website.

When: Tuesday, February 12, 2013, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Where: Calvin Coolidge Room, Davis Building, 1 National Life Drive, Montpelier – sixth floor. 

The hearing room is handicapped accessible.  Accommodations for persons with disabilities, and interpreters to meet the needs of non-english speaking persons will be made available upon request.  Requests should be directed to Arthur Hamlin at (802) 828-3211; TTY#1-800-253-0191, or in writing to Arthur Hamlin, Housing Program Coordinator, Vermont DEHCD, 1 National Life Drive, 6th Floor, Montpelier, VT  05620 by 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday February 5, 2013.

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Press Release: Champlain Housing Trust Recognizes Four Housing Leaders at Annual Meeting

Posted January 28, 2013

For Immediate Release – Contact, Chris Donnelly, 861-7305

“Burlington, Vermont – The Champlain Housing Trust presented four community leaders with awards at its annual meeting Saturday night with more than 150 attending. Attendees also elected members of the Board of Directors, and six staff were recognized for their ten years of work at the organization.

Brian Pine, the City of Burlington’s Housing Director in the Community and Economic Development Office, was presented with the Tim McKenzie Award for Outstanding Contributions to Perpetual Affordability, the Housing Trust’s oldest award which was named after the organization’s founding director.

“Brian has made it his life’s work to help low and moderate income people reach their aspirations and goals, and for that we’re all better,” said Brenda Torpy, CHT’s CEO…”

View PDF of Full CHT Press Release



CBPP Webinar, Tuesday, January 29: What does the next stage of the federal budget battle mean for low-income housing and community development?


Reposted from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

With the recent “fiscal cliff” budget deal and the agreement to “suspend” the debt ceiling until mid-May, the President and Congress are now moving to the next stage of the fight over federal budget priorities and deficit reduction: the deep, across-the-board cuts in federal programs (“sequestration”) that are now scheduled to occur on March 1 and the extension of fiscal year 2013 funding for low-income housing and other discretionary (i.e., annually funded) programs, which will otherwise expire on March 27.

To help advocates and other stakeholders to better understand the current state of play and what’s at stake for low-income housing and community development, CBPP will hold a free webinar.

When: 3:00 pm (EST), Tuesday, January 29.
To register for this webinar, click HERE


Out in the cold: Some Burlington homeless sleeping in tents

Posted January 24, 2013

As the region experiences freezing temperatures, homeless and precariously-housed Vermonters are struggling to find safe places to spend the night.

By Matt Ryan and Joel Banner Baird. Reposted from the Burlington Free Press, January 23, 2013.

“With the temperature dropping below zero Tuesday evening, Burlington social worker Stefanie Comstock made the rounds to check on people she thought would be spending the night outdoors.

“I gave out a lot of hand warmers, toe warmers, the little Sterno stoves,” Comstock said Wednesday morning. “You know, made sure they had a heating source.”

Comstock said at least 10 of the people she met at various campsites and the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf in Burlington spent the night in tents…”

Link to Burlington Free Press Article 

View PDF of Burlington Free Press Article



Homeless Resolution


On the second day of the this year’s legislative session, the Homeless Resolution was read, marking January 10th, 2013 as Homelessness Awareness Day. The Resolution cited the Point-in-Time Count and the ESG Annual Report as evidence of the struggle that homeless Vermonters face in finding safe, permanent, and affordable housing.

Read the Homeless Resolution

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General Assistance Housing program – Update


The 2012 legislature called for the Agency of Human Services to report back on the GA Housing program and provide a summary and recommendations for the future of the program. These are detailed in the Executive Summary. The General Assistance (GA) Housing program memo details the new focus for the Housing program redesign so that community partners and organizations working to address and end homelessness can strategize and plan. The program was adapted after reviewing stakeholder’s input which provided insight on what wasn’t working with the GA Housing Program and ways to strengthen it. Please see attached memorandum for the updated GA Housing program initiatives.

GA Housing Program Memo

Click HERE to view full report


OEO one-night shelter count 2012


The Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) has released their annual One-Night Shelter Count. The count reflects the number of people using shelters and demographics of the homeless population of Vermont. Emergency shelters, transitional living programs, and other prevention and programs provided the data for the count.

View the 2012 OEO Shelter Count Report 


Home Share Now presents 2012 Annual Report

Posted January 22, 2013

Home Share Now, an organization that supports home sharing opportunities across the state,  has released it’s 2012 Annual Report. The mission of Home Share Now is to help central Vermonters develop successful home shares in order to create housing options with positive community and environmental impacts.  Home Share Now currently serves Lamoille, Orange, and Washington counties and some adjacent towns through offices in Barre and Morrisville.

Check out the Annual Report to learn more about Home Share Now and their progress over the last year.

View Home Share Now’s 2012 Annual Report



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