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Public-Housing Agencies Crack Down on Lighting Up

Posted October 31, 2014

An article in this week’s issue of Seven Days titled “Public-Housing Agencies Crack Down on Lighting Up” talks about recent attempts to ban smoking in Vermont’s public-housing properties. While smoking bans in many places are nothing new, there have been few attempts to ban smoking in public-housing due to hesitation over preventing residents to engage in a legal activity within their own residence. Those who moved into the properties prior to recent bans with the the understanding that they could continue to smoke inside their homes are suddenly having that right taken away. From the article:

In 2010, the Burlington Housing Authority was the first public-housing agency in Vermont to ban smoking in its units. It was controversial at the time — one resident threatened to sue, though he eventually backed down — and, according to BHA executive director Paul Dettman, it still occasionally causes tension between administrators and residents.

Many housing authorities agree that even when a nonsmoking law is in effect, it isn’t easy to enforce. Agencies don’t conduct unscheduled apartment inspections, and there aren’t a lot of sanctions that housing authorities can impose; they can only issue warnings or kick people out.

“We have to catch people,” Dettman said. “I don’t doubt that some continue to smoke. The sad part is some of the folks in the worst condition physically will be the ones smoking up a storm.”

After three warnings for smoking violations, the BHA starts the eviction process. (The WHA plans to adopt a similar policy.) So far, the BHA has evicted one resident and was in proceedings to evict another, but she died during the process.

The BHA considered building a small outdoor smoking pavilion, but Dettman was concerned about handicap accessibility. The association also offered smoking-cessation programs to residents when it implemented the ban, Dettman recalled, but no one signed up.

The ban has triggered an unintended consequence: Forced to smoke outside of BHA’s properties, many residents light up in a bus shelter on St. Paul Street during the winter, despite the city’s ban on smoking in bus shelters.

“It’s having a negative impact on our community,” Dettman said. “People on the sidewalks or waiting for the bus have to go through a phalanx of smokers.”

To read the entire article click here.

 



Job Opportunity: Resident Organizer with CVOEO Mobile Home Program

Posted

The Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity / Mobile Home Program seeks an experienced, energetic, and committed individual with a high degree of initiative to join their team.

They are looking for a motivated, problem-solver to provide education and outreach to residents of Vermont’s mobile home parks. The ideal candidate will have good communication and facilitation skills and be able to keep a working knowledge of related statutes and regulations. Job responsibilities include: providing direct service to residents including individual advocacy, identifying resources and solutions to improve or maintain housing conditions, conducting emergency preparedness outreach, facilitating emergency exercises, provide trainings and technical support for resident associations and resident-owned cooperatives.

Successful applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree in appropriate discipline or a combination of education and experience that provides equivalent skills and abilities. Relevant experience in one or more of the following areas: housing counseling, low income advocacy, code enforcement, emergency planning, community organizing and education, or cooperative development is desired. A good driving record and access to a private vehicle is necessary.

This is a 40 hour / week position with excellent benefits. To learn more about this position, please visit www.cvoeo.org. To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to: mhpdirector@cvoeo.org Review of applications begins immediately and will continue until suitable candidates are found.

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Organizers of the 100,000 Homes Campaign in Burlington Come Together to Share Findings

Posted October 30, 2014

Last night the organizers of the 100,000 Homes Campaign in Greater Burlington came together to discuss what they discovered during the 3-day registry event that took place last week with the community. An article from today’s Burlington Free Press highlighted some of the statistics found, listed below:

The survey of 210 total respondents included the following results:

• 141 people have been homeless for more than one year;

• 31 percent have visited the emergency room more than once in the last six months; 40 percent have interacted with the police in the same time period.

• About 25 percent had previously received federally subsidized housing;

• 25 percent have kidney disease, a history of hypothermia, liver disease or HIV/AIDS;

• 62 percent have some other chronic health condition;

• 60 percent have a history of substance abuse; 78 percent have problems with mental health;

• 95 people, or 45 percent, have combined psychiatric, substance abuse and chronic medical conditions, called “tri-morbidity.”

The survey also asked some reflective questions: About 46 percent of respondents said they lack daily activities, other than surviving, that bring happiness and fulfillment. Volunteers also asked what the word “home” means, and among the most common answers were “safety,” “comfort” and “warmth.”

WCAX also provided coverage, including a great video feature that you can view here or embedded below:

WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Those involved with the project hope that the information obtained can be used to help in creating more specific resources to house those who are most vulnerable, with the goal of eventually eliminating chronic homelessness in the community.

To view the complete article from the Burlington Free Press click here. To view the complete coverage from WCAX click here.

 



Capstone Community Action Brings the Grantsmanship Training Program to Vermont

Posted

To help nonprofits win more grants, Capstone Community Action (Capstone) is bringing the Grantsmanship Training Program to Barre, Vermont the week of December 8–12. “This is the best training program in the field,” said Hal Cohen, Capstone’s Executive Director. “It’s how a lot of top-level grant professionals get their start or refresh their learning.”

The training will be held at Capstone’s new campus at Gable Place in Barre. Registration is limited to 20 participants because of the program’s intense, hands-on approach.

Tuition for the 5-day Grantsmanship Training Program is $895, with a $50 discount for registering before November 1, 2014. Tuition includes 12 months of support: a proposal review, access to the Center’s funder databases, and more. Enrollment is limited to 20 participants.

To register, visit GrantsmanshipCenter.com or call The Grantsmanship Center at (800) 421-9512 or (213) 482-9860. For more information about the training, contact Kevin Wiberg at Capstone Community Action at (802)477-5154 or kwiberg@capstonevt.org.

For a full informational flyer with further details click here (PDF format).

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Housing Co-Op Approved in Old North End

Posted October 29, 2014

Champlain Housing Trust recently received approval by the Burlington Development Review Board to begin work on development of the new Bright Street Cooperative housing in the Old North End. From an article in today’s Burlington Free Press:

Champlain Housing Trust is on track to demolish three buildings and construct 42 new housing units in Burlington’s Old North End.

The Burlington Development Review Board voted unanimously last week to give the project final zoning approval.

The project represents significant redevelopment of the area between Bright Street and Archibald Street by adding a three-story apartment building, two duplexes, a building with three units and a total of 44 parking spaces.

“I think it’ll just really improve the aesthetics of the neighborhood, and it’ll bring just some really critically needed affordable housing to Burlington,” said Amy Demetrowitz, director of real estate development for Champlain Housing Trust.

The project will be organized as a co-op with one- to four-bedroom units. Demetrowitz said the co-op model gives residents a sense of ownership.

Of the 42 new units, six will be market-rate homes, and the remainder will be priced to be affordable for households earning less than 50 to 60 percent of the area median income.

Construction is expected to begin in May of 2015 with a goal of being ready for occupation by May or June of 2016. To read the entire article click here. For previous coverage of the Bright Street development, also from the Burlington Free Press, click here.

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Federal Government Extends Support for SASH Program

Posted

A recently published article from VTDigger discusses the government’s decision to extend the funding of the SASH (Supportive And Services at Home) program. SASH helps Vermont’s most vulnerable citizens, seniors and individuals with special needs, access the care and support they need to stay healthy while living comfortably and safely at home. SASH is available in many communities throughout Vermont and serves primarily persons 65 and older and persons with disabilities. Participation is voluntary and free of charge. To learn more visit the SASH website here.

From the article:

The federal government recently extended funding for a pilot program that supports Vermont’s Blueprint for Health, a primary care management initiative.

That is welcome news for seniors at Town Meadow Senior Housing in Essex, who benefit from Blueprint’s Support and Services at Home, or SASH, program.

SASH is essentially an extension of Blueprint’s multidisciplinary community health teams, which bring social workers, nurses and therapists into a place like Town Meadow to help seniors live healthier and stay independent.

Town Meadow serves its own residents, but also acts as a hub for seniors living in their own homes who need similar support.

“What’s really great about this program is that it gives us a lot of flexibility,” said Nancy Eldridge, CEO of the nonprofit affordable senior housing company. SASH allows rehab and physical therapy programs to be tailored to seniors needs, with options like tai chi and counseling, she said.

SASH is supported by $700 per person per year payments from Blueprint, which is in turn funded through per member per month payments from commercial insurers, Medicaid and Medicare.

The federal extension of what is known as Multi-Payer Advanced Primary Care Practice ensures that Medicare will continue to make payments to Blueprint.

To read the entire article from VTDigger click here.

 



Lamoille Housing Partnership Buys VerMod Energy Efficient Home

Posted

The Lamoille Housing Partnership in Morrisville announced this week that a second energy efficient home was installed last week at Evergreen Manor Mobile Home Park in Hardwick, having been purchased directly by the partnership.

The prefabricated, 2-bedroom home features ultra thick walls and special windows, and promotes energy savings of over 65%, when compared to other homes. It is made by “VerMod”, a specialty manufacturer of homes of this type.

Designed and made in Vermont, the Wilder-based, private construction company emphasizes homes that use ‘net zero’ energy. VerMod President Steve Davis said this is achieved through unique heating systems, roof-top solar panels, and super efficient appliances.

The Lamoille Housing Partnership, in collaboration with Alliance Property Management, will be renting out the new home to a family, individual or couple in need of cost-sensitive, secure housing.

The main goal of LHP is to increase the supply of quality, affordable housing in Vermont. The Morrisville office, headed by Executive Director Jim Lovinsky, services all of Lamoille County, and the town of Hardwick.

For more information, please visit the website at: www.lamoillehousing.org.

 



The Atlantic: Should Obamacare Help Pay for Housing?

Posted October 28, 2014

A recently published article by The Atlantic explores using funds that are part of the Medicaid expansion to house the homeless. Highlighted are many of the advantages to using the Housing First model that makes housing homeless individuals and families the main focus, especially for those with a history of chronic homelessness and health problems. By viewing housing as a valuable health service we can not only save money, but help those who are homeless and living with serious health conditions gain the stability needed to turn their lives around.

Below is an excerpt from the article:

The federal government will spend $931 billion on the Medicaid expansion between now and 2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Some of that money will be spent taking care of homeless people like Barnes, who can be particularly expensive to treat. Homelessness exacerbates all kinds of diseases, including diabetes. Those without homes are three to six times more likely to get ill than housed people. Homelessness also makes it more difficult for people with mental health and substance abuse issues to get treatment.

One of the best ways to keep homeless people healthy, studies have found, is to give them somewhere to live—the so-called “housing first” model, which gets the homeless off the streets and saves hospitals money in caring for them.

That’s led many advocates for the homeless to wonder—if we’re spending so much money through Obamacare to expand health coverage for poor people, why not spend it to house some of them, too?

“All I’m saying is, if I can take care of someone at a lower cost by providing them with housing, why wouldn’t the federal government let me?” said Dr. Mitch Katz, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.

To read the entire article click here.

 



Vermont State Housing Authority Announces Section 8 Project-Based Voucher Awards

Posted October 27, 2014

In a recent press release the Vermont State Housing Authority announced twelve developments have been selected to receive approximately $255,000 (annually) in Section 8 Project-Based Voucher (PBV) rental assistance funds.

These awards are for existing housing units and will immediately provide 40 very-low income families affordable housing.

The request for Section 8 PBV assistance was highly competitive, with 25 proposals received, requesting a total of 95 PBV’s.

Awards were made in communities that have a high level of need for federal housing programs with the highest percentage of renters paying more than 30 percent of household income toward rent.

Following is a list of projects receiving funding:

Applicant / Project / Location / PBV Award
Housing Vermont/ Waits River Housing / Bradford / 5
Memphremagog Rentals / Memphremagog Rentals / Newport/SJ 2
Rural Edge / Newport / Newport / 1
The Housing Foundation, Inc. / Dogwood Glen I / Northfield / 4
Cathedral Square Corp. / Thayer House / Burlington / 10
Rural Edge / 101 Main Street / Lyndonville / 2
Rural Edge / 86 Raymond St / Lyndonville / 1
Rural Edge / 559 Main St. / Lyndonville / 1
Housing Vermont / Grand Isle Housing / Grand Isle / 5
Housing Trust of Rutland County, Inc. / Stanislaus Apartments / W. Rutland / 4
Stewart Property Management / Salisbury Square / Randolph / 3
Middlebury Housing Associates / Middlebury Commons / Middlebury / 2

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Job Opportunity: CVOEO Seeking PT Americorps Member for Mobile Home Program Team

Posted

The Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity is seeking a part time Americorps Member to join the Mobile Home Program team who will help to educate mobile home residents about their rights and responsibilities under Vermont mobile home and landlord/tenant law. The member will help residents connect with other community resources when they identify health and safety violations, home repair, rehabilitation purchase and financing needs. The member will also maintain and build new relationships with social service organizations to increase the web of support for residents. Ideal applicant will have a commitment to social justice, desire to build community and improve quality of housing for mobile home residents.

For a complete job description including information on how to apply click here (DOC file).

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