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Rental Registry ordinance proposed in Springfield

Posted March 27, 2013

By Susan Smallheer. Reposted from The Barre Montpelier Times Argus, March 27, 2013.

SPRINGFIELD — Apartment owners will have to register with the town, if a new ordinance, which had its first review Monday night, goes through.

The proposed “rental registry ordinance” is designed to give Springfield fire officials a better idea of how many people live at a specific address, Town Manager Robert Forguites said during Monday’s first reading.

The ordinance, which was first discussed last year in the wake of a violent shooting in downtown Springfield, would require people to register their apartments, or face fines. The registration would then trigger an inspection by local and state fire safety officials and require a ‘certificate of fitness…'”

Link to Full Times Argus Article 

View PDF of Full Times Argus Article


Area homelesness: Sharing stories behind the statistics


By Domenic Poli. Reposted from the Brattleboro Reformer, March 26, 2013.

“BRATTLEBORO — The lack of a permanent residence doesn’t always come from poor decisions.

Many people start out with lives similar to the average American until one unfortunate incident turns their world upside-down and leaves them with nothing. And two area nonprofits want to help locals recognize and appreciate the very human stories behind the faces of homelessness they see every day.

The Brattleboro Area Drop-In Center and Morningside Shelter aim to raise money to aid them in their common goal of ending homelessness and hunger in the greater Brattleboro area. Entitled “Camp for a Common Cause,” the event has been scheduled for Friday, May 3, in the Brattleboro Common with the goal of generating $20,000 for the cause.

Lucie Fortier, executive director of the drop-in center, said the event is meant to draw attention to what homeless individuals do to find safe, warm places to sleep at night…”

Lucie Fortier, executive director of the Brattleboro Drop-In Center, speaks about the Camp for a Common Cause to raise money for the Drop-In Center and the Morningside Shelter. (Zachary P. Stephens/Brattleboro Reformer)

Link to Full Brattleboro Reformer Article & Videos

View PDF of Full Brattleboro Reformer Article


Emergency housing requests rise amidst news of continued high Vermont rents

Posted March 25, 2013

By Leslie Black-Plumeau. Reposted from Housing Matters, March 18th, 2013.

“Calls fielded by Vermont 2-1-1 operators for emergency housing increased dramatically during January and February 2013.  Calls for housing and shelter assistance exceeded all other types of calls in February.

Meanwhile, Vermont found itself ranked among the 2013 most expensive jurisdictions in the country by the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual “Out of Reach” report.  Vermont was among the nation’s top 10 states with the highest non-metro area rents.

Read more on the Vermont 2-1-1 and the National Low Income Housing Coalition‘s websites.”

Link to Housing Matters blog 


Domestic Violence Counts 2012 released


The National Network to End Domestic Violence recently released it’s Domestic Violence Counts 2012 National Summary. The report provides a 24-hour summary of domestic violence shelters and services nationwide that took place on September 12, 2012.

View Domestic Violence Counts 2012 National Summary


House Human Services Committee supports five-year cap on welfare benefits

Posted March 24, 2013

By Alicia Freese. Reposted from, March 22, 2013. 

The House Human Services Committee voted Friday to support a 60-month cap on the state’s family welfare program.

The committee’s endorsement came with a number of caveats and changes, but it keeps in tact the main precept of the Shumlin administration’s proposal — that the state should limit welfare benefits.

The proposal enacts a firm five-year cap on Reach Up benefits. It pushes back the onset of the cap, giving all but 20 families who are currently under sanctions, seven more months to prepare for it. The proposal also offers a handful of exemptions that would extend the cap for some families, and it carves out a one-time appropriation to provide additional services to families approaching the 60-month limit…A handful of members, including the Human Services Committee chair, Rep. Ann Pugh, D-South Burlington, remain adamantly opposed to the recommendations sent to Appropriations…”

Link to Full Article 

Read Full PDF of VTDigger Article


Paying rent: the ends don’t meet


By Lisa McCormack. Reposted from the Stowe Reporter, March 21, 2013.

“A variety of economic struggles faced by many low-income Vermonters have exacerbated the housing crisis, said Alison Joyal, housing counselor and Lamoille service coordinator for the Central Vermont Community Action Council.

‘We have a perfect storm of incredibly high gas prices, high rents, fewer benefits and less employment,’ Joyal said. ‘People are choosing between paying for heating fuel and gasoline and paying rent, especially if they don’t live close to work…'”

Link to Full Stowe Reporter Article

View PDF of Full Stowe Reporter Article


Community Housing Grants – Funding Opportunity

Posted March 19, 2013

The Department for Children & Families, Economic Services Division announces the availability of funding for community partners to work jointly to develop and implement coordinated community responses to prevent and address homelessness of individuals and families in their region.  One Community Housing Grant will be awarded in each of the Agency of Human Services (AHS) twelve districts throughout the state.

There will be a conference call on Wednesday, March 27 at 10:00am to provide more information. The call-in information is:

Call in#: 1-866-579-8110
PIN#: 808325 

View Community Housing Grant RFP

Applications are due no later than 4:00pm on Friday, April 26, 2013.

All questions regarding this Funding Opportunity Announcement should be submitted to Christine Dalley, Economic Services Division, (802) 793-3101 or 


Housing benefits slashed for hundreds of Vermonters

Posted March 15, 2013

By Jennifer Reading. Reposted from, March 14, 2013. 

Link to WCAX broadcast

“‘I checked a few places out there, but it’s the same old story,’ he said. ‘It all amounts to money.’

Something Killary doesn’t have much of. He lives paycheck to paycheck. And with no money in the bank, finding a decent apartment in Chittenden County was tough. And the Burlington Housing Authority says it’s about to get worse for Killary and other low-income Vermonters.

‘The fair market rents for 2013, they dropped drastically,’ said Claudia Donovan, the director of rental assistance at the Burlington Housing Authority.

Donovan says fair market rent is the amount the federal government says housing costs in the area.

In 2012, the feds said $896 would cover rent and utilities for a one-bedroom apartment in the greater Burlington area. This year that number dropped to $788. For families needing a three-bedroom, in 2012 the feds put the cost of rent and utilities at $1,439, but lowered that to $1,289 for 2013.

Donovan says these cuts impact how much the housing authority can offer Section 8 recipients. Typically rental assistance requires a client to contribute 30 percent of their income and the housing authority pays the rest. But the lower federal share is leaving a bigger bill for renters in the program.

‘If they can’t afford it they can be evicted,’ Donovan said. ‘They could become homeless. They may have to move in with relatives. So, it is a serious concern.’

The changes won’t go into effect for current Section 8 renters until Oct. 1. New participants and people moving will be affected immediately. Housing officials say negotiate with landlords, don’t move if you don’t have to and be willing to compromise.

‘I would have been in a tent, literally in a tent,’ Killary said.

Killary found an efficiency. It’s small and expensive, but it’s a roof overhead. Others who need help will not be as lucky. Sequestration is expected to take an additional toll on Section 8. The housing authority is preparing for a 6 percent funding cut, which means 100-150 people will lose their benefits.

‘It’s a heck of a way to run a business,’ Donovan said. ‘You don’t know how many people you can keep on the program, you don’t know where your funding is coming from, when it’s coming, if it’s coming and how much you’re going to receive. It’s a pretty dire thing.’

Housing authority officials say people caught abusing their benefits will be dropped first. In the past they’ve been able to give people second chances. There is currently a 5-7 year waiting list for Section 8 housing assistance, and until the sequester situation is resolved, the housing authority will not be giving out any new rental vouchers.”


Why Foreclosures in Vermont Are Up

Posted March 14, 2013

By Kevin J. Kelley. Reposted from Seven Days, March 13, 2013.

“Even as the national foreclosure crisis appears to be easing, Vermont is experiencing a spike in legal filings by mortgage lenders seeking to take title to homes whose owners have fallen behind in their payments.

Vermont’s foreclosure rate has ranked as one of the lowest in the country in the years since the 2008 financial meltdown put millions of Americans in jeopardy of losing their homes. Today, the state is an outlier once again — for the opposite reason. Nationally, foreclosure filings fell by 28 percent last year; in Vermont, they increased 33 percent…”

Link to full Seven Days article
PDF of full Seven Days article


Affordable housing is out of reach in Vermont


The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) released it’s report, Out of Reach 2013, earlier this week. The national study highlights the growing gap between minimum wage and the cost of a basic apartment. Specifically, the report focuses on barriers to finding and maintaining an affordable home nationwide. Since it’s release, affordable housing has been spotlighted in local media:

Barre Montpelier Times Argus
Renting in Vermont: Gap remains between income and affordability
View PDF of Times Argus article

Vermont Public Radio News
Reports Paint Different Pictures Of Affordable Housing
View PDF of VPR News article 


Link to Out of Reach 2013 report



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