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TIMES ARGUS – Counting our homeless: Vermont struggles to pinpoint needs

Posted July 30, 2013

By Eric Blaisdell. Reposted from the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus, July 28, 2013.

“It’s anyone’s guess how many people are actually homeless in Vermont.

They aren’t exactly lining up to be counted, and the ones who have been identified represent only a fraction of the total homeless population.

The lack of reliable data has undermined the efforts of advocates for the homeless while providing political cover for policy makers, experts in the field say.

Moreover, the incomplete count has made it more difficult to secure adequate funding to combat the problem, and direct aid to where it’s needed most.

However poor the data, the problem is undeniably severe.

Surveys of the homeless population show a sharp climb in recent years, coinciding with the onset of an economic recession that began taking its toll in 2008. Tropical Storm Irene dealt another blow in 2011, when residents of devastated communities lost access to shelter…”

PDF of Full Times Argus Article


Governor Shumlin Announces $2 Million in Downtown Tax Credits


For Immediate Release, July 22, 2013
Contact: Susan Allen, 802-279-8493

“MORRISVILLE – Gov. Peter Shumlin announced the allocation of nearly $2 million in tax credits to support about $18 million in building improvements and investment to help revitalize Vermont’s downtowns and community centers. Competitively awarded by the Downtown Development Board, this year’s tax credits went to 31 projects in 20 communities.

Among the projects, credits will support the reconstruction of the Landry Block in St. Johnsbury, which was severely damaged by fire in December 2012. Also on the list are new investments in the vacant and underutilized Shade Roller Mill in Vergennes, and the Catamount High School in Bennington, as well as the rehabilitation, façade improvement and code upgrades to six projects in Morrisville, including the former Arthurs Department Store on Lower Main Street.

Other project highlights include access and safety improvements at Barre’s National Historic Landmark – the Old Labor Hall; conversion of the former Masonic Building in Springfield into space for four commercial enterprises; rehabilitation of the vacant Bank Block in Richford’s center; rehabilitation of the former Post Office in White River Junction for the Center for Cartoon Studies and Schulz Library; and flood repairs and rehabilitation of the Vermont House in Wilmington…” 

PDF of Full Press Release


New research shows rent is lower in nonprofit mobile home parks

Posted July 26, 2013

Research by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) shows that median nonprofit and cooperative lot rent for Mobile Home Parks (MHP) is less than for-profit lot rent.

The median for-profit MHP lot rent is $320 and the median nonprofit and cooperative MHP lot rent is $278; $42 or 13% lower than the for profit median, and $26 or 9% below the State Median.

Link to 2012 Mobile Home Parks Detail Report 

Link to PDF of 2012 Mobile Home Park Summary




VCIL hosts celebration in honor of ADA anniversary – TONIGHT


The Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL) is hosting a celebration tonight to honor the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There will be a raffle and art show featuring artists from the Brandon Training School, and a performance by Tom Sullivan, a blind entertainer, author, and inspirational speaker. A VIP reception with Sullivan will be held following the performance. American Sign Language interpreters and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), a word-for-word speech-to-text interpreting service, will be available at the event.

When: Friday, July 26, 2013
WhereMain Street Landing Black Box Theater, Main Street, Burlington 

To reserve tickets, call VCIL at 229-0501 or 1-800-639-1522 or visit www.flynntix.orgTickets to see Tom Sullivan perform are $20, and tickets that include both the performance and the VIP reception are $50. Visit for more information.

Link to Full Burlington Free Press article for more information 



HUD announces new housing regulations

Posted July 24, 2013

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published the proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AAFF) rule last week. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) , the proposed rule would:

  • Replacing the current Analysis of Impediments (AI) (for which no format or standards exist), with a standardized Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH).
  • Provision of comprehensive, nationally uniform data by HUD.
  • Incorporating language in the Consolidated Plan and PHA Plan regulations that directly ties those plans’ priority setting, commitment of resources, and specific activities into the AFH.
  • Requiring the AFH to be submitted to HUD for review and approval (AIs are not submitted to or reviewed by HUD) well in advance of preparing a Consolidated Plan or PHA Plan so that the AFH informs the priorities, strategies, and future activities covered by those plans.

Link to NLIHC’s Full AFFH Summary

Link to Full HUD AFFH Rule Proposal

HUD announces the final regulation for the HOME Investments Partnership Program, which is designed to create affordable housing for low-income households. According to the regulation, “this final rule amends the HOME regulations to address many of the operational challenges facing participating jurisdictions, particularly challenges related to recent housing market conditions and the alignment of federal housing programs.”

Link to Full HUD HOME Regulation 


DCF unveils new emergency housing proposal


Vermont housing advocates met with officials from the Department for Children and Families yesterday to discuss revising the agency’s proposal that would limit access to emergency motel vouchers.  The original plan required Vermonters who had not experienced a catastrophic event to meet 6 points on a scale of vulnerability in order to become eligible for a motel voucher.

At yesterday’s meeting, DCF unveiled their new proposal which would maintain the point system, but lower the eligibility threshold to 4 points. Additionally, the plan makes vouchers available to individuals who are 65 or older, have a child age 6 or younger, women in their third trimester of pregnancy, and individuals who have applied for or received SSI/SSDI.

Advocates at yesterday’s meeting generally felt the new proposal was more fair and inclusive, and appreciated the opportunity to collaborate and provide input. Linda Ryan, Director of the Samaritan House in St. Albans, stated, “I think we are way ahead of where we were to begin with. You’ve done a tremendous job of listening to us and adapting.”

Coverage of the story in local media:

Link to Article, 7/23/2013, 7/23/2013

Fox44/ABC22 News, 7/23/2013

Seven Days VT – Fair Game, 7/24/2013 

Seven Days VT – The Scoreboard, July 26, 2013

Rutland Herald – July 28, 2013



Vermont’s Greenest Awards Competition now open

Posted July 23, 2013

The Vermont Green Building Network (VGBN) announces the second annual Vermont’s Greenest Awards Competition. This statewide competition will recognize exemplary residential and commercial buildings that meet the highest standard of demonstrated building energy performance. Winners of the awards will be announced at VGBN’s Vermont’s Greenest Awards Gala this October, where projects will be showcased as inspirational, model green buildings in Vermont.

The awards have been designed to recognize buildings based on proven energy performance, helping to create a new standard for environmentally responsible building in Vermont. 

The awards competition opened on Monday, July 22 and submissions will be due on Wednesday, September 18, 2013. For more information and to learn more about the submission requirements, please email for a copy of the application. 


Burlington Free Press: Point system for the homeless would limit motel stays


Media coverage of the changes to the General Assistance Emergency Housing Rules continues this week in the Burlington Free Press. Yesterday’s article focuses on the proposed point system, which would require Vermonters to meet 6 points on a scale of vulnerability in order to be eligible for a motel voucher.

The new rules were scheduled to go into effect last Monday, July 15, but that date has been pushed back to Thursday, August 1 because of the work of housing advocates across the state. Advocates continue to meet with state officials this week in an attempt to revise the changes to better meet the needs of vulnerable Vermonters.

Link to Full Burlington Free Press Article
PDF of Full Burlington Free Press Article

Link to USA Today Article, July 23, 2013

Illustration by Abby Westcott


Changes to 2012 VT Access Rules open for public comment


The Vermont Access Board invites public comment on changes to the 2012 Vermont Access Rules. The rules effect how new housing is designed and built and focuses on accessibility and safety standards in new construction.  These rules are divided into 13 Chapters to coincide with the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards and the ADA Accessibility Guidelines.

Please send comments or questions to Councilmember Bob Patterson, Division of Public Safety at or Caitlin Corkins, Department of Housing and Community Development representative to the Access Board at 802-828-3047 or The comment period is open until September 27, 2013. 

View Annotated VT Access Rules



Rutland Herald: Vote on town rental registry set

Posted July 22, 2013

Reposted from the Rutland Herald, July 18, 2013.

“SPRINGFIELD — Officials in Springfield are considering an ordinance that would set up a rental registry for property owners looking to occupy town buildings.

Residents are scheduled to vote on the proposal Aug. 20, which would require property owners to get a certificate of occupancy from the local zoning office and a passing grade from the health officer for the buildings.

Opponents say it adds unnecessary paperwork to property owners looking to rent units. Advocates call the ordinance an upgrade in enforcement for authorities to categorize all properties up for lease in Springfield.

The Eagle-Times reported that a public hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 19 at the Springfield High School cafeteria.”

Link to Rutland Herald Article 


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