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HUD Announces Drop in Veteran Homelessness – How Vermont Veteran Services Helps

Posted August 29, 2014

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) announced this week that the annual Point-in-Time Count conducted in January 2014 shows a decline of homeless veterans by 33 percent since 2010. This includes a nearly 40 percent drop in the number of veterans sleeping on the street.  From the press release

HUD, VA, USICH, and local partners have used evidenced-based practices like Housing First and federal resources like HUD-VASH (the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program) to get veterans off the street and into stable housing as quickly as possible. Since 2008, the HUD-VASH program has served a total of 74,019 veterans.

“We have an obligation to ensure that every veteran has a place to call home,” said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. “In just a few years, we have made incredible progress reducing homelessness among veterans, but we have more work to do. HUD will continue collaborating with our federal and local partners to ensure that all of the men and women who have served our country have a stable home and an opportunity to succeed.”

“The Department of Veterans Affairs and our federal and local partners should be proud of the gains made reducing Veterans’ homelessness,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald, “but so long as there remains a Veteran living on our streets, we have more work to do.”

“As a nation, we have proven that homelessness is a problem we can solve,” said U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director Laura Green Zeilinger. “Communities all across the country are meeting this costly tragedy with urgency and a focus on helping all veterans and their families achieve safe and stable housing.”

To read the full report click here.

One organization working to help very-low income veteran families in Vermont who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless is Vermont Veteran Services. VVS is operated by the University of Vermont and manages the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program through a grant from the VA. To be eligible, a household must have a combined total monthly income of less than half the area median income, have a head of household or spouse who is a veteran with active duty, with any discharge type other than dishonorable. Priorities are Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn veterans, rural families, and families with dependent children. Program services can include case management, financial assistance, transportation, and legal assistance. Peer services navigators screen potential clients for eligibility and help provide services to obtain or retain stable housing. VVS also manages the Veteran Jail Diversion/Trauma Recovery program on behalf of the Vermont Department of Mental Health and Agency of Human Services through a grant from SAMHSA. More detailed descriptions for each of these programs can be found here. If you or a veteran family you know in Vermont is homeless or in danger of losing their housing please contact VVS at (802) 656-3232.



VSHA Shelter+Care Available Soon (Chronic Homeless Only)


The Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA) will be accepting completed applications (about 10 total) between Monday, October 13th through Wednesday, November 12th for the HUD Shelter+Care Statewide homeless grant that covers all counties in Vermont, except Chittenden. At minimum, the head of household must meet the HUD definition of CHRONICALLY HOMELESS; additional priority will be given to households with the longest histories of homelessness and those being served by a housing first model.

See the VSHA S+C Program Guide (PDF file) for more information and/or contact your local VSHA S+C sponsor(s). Two identical “Basic Intro to VSHA Shelter+Care” awareness meetings will be provided via conference call on Tuesday, September 23rd from 9:30 AM – 10:00 AM OR Thursday, October 16th from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM; email to RSVP; all are welcome; no previous knowledge needed.



USICH and HUD Will Host the Second of Four Webinars on Family Homelessness September 10

Posted August 28, 2014

Join the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on September 10th, for a webinar titled “Family Connection: Tailored Interventions and Assistance.” This is the second informational webinar in a series on building systems to end family homelessness. The webinar will feature best practices and lessons learned from two community partners, as well as policy insights from HUD and USICH. This is a great chance for those who work with families to learn new information on using resources such as rapid re-housing, permanent supportive housing, affordable housing and transitional housing to better serve those in need. To learn more and register click here.

Watch the first webinar in this series, “Family Connection: Building Systems to End Family Homelessness,” here or below:


Two Local Mobile Home Co-op Success Stories Featured in St. Albans Messenger


The St. Albans Messenger recently published a great profile of two mobile home parks in Franklin County that went directly to a cooperative model from private or for-profit ownership.  The residents of both the ANDCO Mobile Home Cooperative in Highgate and Homestead Acres in Swanton have purchased the land that their properties sit on over the past three years, becoming two of the only cooperatively owned mobile home parks in the state of Vermont.  Now that the residents of these parks are directly responsible for management and upkeep of the land, they have also found a greater sense of community within.

Any mobile home park that is about to be sold has the potential to be cooperatively owned.  Residents who are interested in purchasing their property may seek help from the Mobile Home Program run by the Champlain Valley Office of Econmic Opportunity.  This program also provides a variety of other services for those who live in mobile homes or mobile home parks accross the state of Vermont.  More information can be found on the program’s website or by phone at (802) 660-3455 x204.

From the article HOUSING: Community Living – Resident-Owned Mobile Home Parks Foster Friendship:

In keeping with the American dream, home ownership is something most people want. Buying a home in a nice neighborhood that has community spirit – well, that’s pretty great, too.

Two mobile home parks in Franklin County are proving both are possible for people on a tighter budget.

ANDCO Mobile Home Cooperative, located off of Frontage Road in Highgate, and Homestead Acres, off of Bushey Road in Swanton, are cooperatively owned mobile home parks. In the past three years, the residents at each collectively bought the land their homes sit on, and now they are in charge of its management and upkeep.

While a majority of both parks’ residents owned their mobile homes prior to the land purchase, recent door-to-door interviews with the Messenger revealed that joint ownership has added something new to each park. Not only are residents directly involved in their park through homeowners association meetings, voting on financial decisions or doing tasks like shoveling or mowing lawns, but they also come closer together, forming a real community.

Learn more about the journey these mobile home parks took toward becoming successful cooperatives by reading the full article by St. Albans Messenger staff writer Elodie Reed here.


SAVE THE DATE: Housing Vermont Annual Meeting, September 11

Posted August 27, 2014

Join Housing Vermont for their annual meeting on Thursday, September 11th at Union Station in Burlington. The event will take place from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM and will begin with a hosted reception followed by the business meeting, which starts at 5:30 PM. The presentation of the Miles Jensen and Michael Richardson Awards will also take place this evening. This is a wonderful opportunity to socialize with the board, staff, other members, and guests who are involved in promoting affordable housing in Vermont.

If you would like to attend please RSVP by September 3rd to Dot at (802) 863-8424 or




Affordable Rental Housing Still Elusive For Extremely Low-Income Vermonters


A new report published in the National Low Income Housing Coalition‘s Housing Spotlight shows just how difficult it is for Vermont’s lowest income renters to find housing that is affordable to them in the current rental market. The report, Housing Spotlight: The Affordable Rental Housing Gap Persists, shows that there were just 39 rental homes affordable and available for every 100 extremely low income households in Vermont in 2012, the last year for which data was available. Extremely low income households have incomes at or below 30% of area median income (approximately $21,000 a year). Statewide, there is a need for 9,203 more rental homes to close the affordable rental housing gap for extremely low-income renters.

With such a limited supply of affordable rental homes available to Vermonters, 63% of extremely low-income renters end up spending more than half of their limited income on rent and utility costs.

For the first time, this edition of Housing Spotlight also highlights how it is nearly impossible for Vermonters with incomes at or below 15% of area median income to find housing that they can afford. These renters are considered deeply low-income and are most often elderly or disabled households living on fixed incomes, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). There were just 11 affordable and available apartments for every 100 Vermont renter households in this income group, and 82% of these renters spent more than half of their income on housing costs.  The graphic below shows how those with deeply low-income are affected in each state of the U.S., with no state having more than 34 homes that are affordable and available for these renters.


It has always been difficult for lower income households to find affordable homes, and today it is harder than ever because renting has become an increasingly common choice among higher income households since the housing crisis. Nationally, the number of renters with income greater than 120% of area median income increased by 1.2 million between 2009 and 2012, transforming the rental market by putting upward pressure on rents.

In a joint press release sent out this morning, VAHC coordinator Erhard Mahnke stated:

“Given the numbers in this report, it is no wonder we have a serious and growing problem with homelessness in Vermont. If we truly want to prevent, and even end homelessness, we need to get serious about addressing the huge gap between our need for affordable housing and what’s available and affordable to Vermont’s lowest income, most vulnerable households.”

This is a problem that can be solved through greater public investment in our stock of affordable housing at both the federal and state levels. By funding the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF), Vermont would receive at least $3 million a year, which would stimulate the production of new affordable homes for Vermont’s lowest income residents and create quality jobs in the construction industry. By fully funding the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB), the state would further increase its investments in much needed new housing and the Vermont economy, while helping to offset the federal cutbacks of the last several years.

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 on the National Low Income Housing Coalition, visit their website here.


SAVE THE DATE: 33rd Annual Vermont Housing Managers Association Conference, October 30-31

Posted August 25, 2014

The 33rd Annual Vermont Housing Managers Association Conference will take place on October 30th and 31st at Topnotch Resort in Stowe, VT.  To view a flyer with all currently available information, including guest speakers and topics click here (PDF format).  A full brochure will be available soon with details on registration and the informational sessions being offered.  There are also special room rates available for conference attendees at the resort until September, 29th, so be sure to book early if you would like to attend!



Champlain Housing Trust is Seeking Two Americorps Members for September


VAHC member Champlain Housing Trust is seeking two AmeriCorps members to help provide affordable homeownership and financial education in Northwestern Vermont.  Don’t miss this opportunity to work with one of the state’s premier housing organizations and gain valuable, real-world experience.  Make a difference in your community as a vital part of CHT’s team.  This would be a perfect opportunity for a recent graduate to get a foot in the door or for a retiree to share their knowledge and give back.  Positions start in September and include a stipend, help paying off student debt, extensive training, health benefits, and more.  For more information and details on how to apply click here.  If you have an questions please call or email Barbara Geries at 802-861-7333 or

CHTlogo ac_logo



SAVE THE DATE: Community of Vermont Elders Annual Meeting and Dinner, November 14th


On Friday, November 14th, VAHC member Community of Vermont Elders (COVE) will be holding their annual meeting at the Canadian Club in Barre.  The meeting will begin at 4:00PM.  A dinner and fundraiser to benefit COVE will take place shortly after the meeting closes.  For more information on the dinner and how to purchase tickets click here.  For a downloadable flyer click here (PDF format).




Grand Opening Celebration – Harrington Village and Wright House

Posted August 19, 2014

Join Cathedral Square, Champlain Housing Trust, Housing Vermont, and special guest Governor Peter Shumlin to celebrate the opening of new housing in Shelburne’s village.

When: Wednesday, Spetember 10th, 2014 at 10:00AM

Where: Harrington Avenue, Shelburne

Parking available at Trinity Episcopal Church, just off of Route 7 south of the development.

Please RSVP at:

Harrington Village Invite


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