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SAVE THE DATE: Vermont Climate Economy Summit, February 18th

Posted December 29, 2014

The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) is kicking off its new Climate Change Economy Initiative with the Summit on Creating Prosperity and Opportunity Confronting Climate Change on February 18 at Vermont Technical College in Randolph. The Summit will serve as a founding point for the Vermont Climate Change Economy Council (VCCEC). This group is charged with a one year mission to develop a structured plan with practical actions that will reduce carbon emissions and stimulate green economic development in Vermont.

The Summit will bring together scientists, innovative business, non-profit, and community leaders, elected officials, public policy advocates, students, and interested residents. As a joint body, they will consider the impacts of climate change on Vermont and propose ways to advance the prosperity of the state while addressing them. The Summit will focus on how the emerging opportunities will allow us to build a national reputation, create jobs, and attract young people to our rural communities.

Over 400 are expected to participate in the day which features a climate science “fishbowl” looking at how climate change will affect Vermont’s future, a panel asking current businesses how they are responding to climate change, and 13 working group discussions including:

  • Promoting a Vision for Transportation
  • Supporting Smart Growth, Reuse, Preservation, & Downtown Redevelopment
  • Developing Ubiquitous Distributed Energy
  • Innovating for Renewal, Recycling and Resource Limits
  • Strengthening Farm & Forest Carbon Sequestration and Profitability
  • Seeding a Vermont Climate Investment Strategy
  • Adapting Outdoor Recreation & Tourism

Registration information and the most up-to-date Summit agenda, list of speakers, and topics can be found through VCRD’s home page at vtrural.org/programs/climate-economy.

 



Job Opportunity: CVOEO Mobile Home Program Still Seeking Applicants for Resident Organizer Position

Posted December 26, 2014

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.

cvoeologo

 



SAVE THE DATE – Jan 8, Homelessness Awarenesss Day & Memorial Vigil at the VT State House

Posted December 19, 2014

Every year in January concerned citizens and homeless service providers from across Vermont gather at the State House in Montpelier for a day to engage with their elected representatives and to renew their commitment to end homelessness in our state.

On Thursday, January 8 the Annual Homelessness Awareness Day and Memorial Vigil will kick off early at 8:00am in the Card Room. Folks will be present there all day to share information, connect with policy makers, see the work being done around the state, and to be a part of the conversation on which strategies are working in reducing homelessness and which ones still need work.

At 9:30am, please assemble in the House Gallery to hear the reading of a Resolution calling for an end to child homelessness in Vermont and to be recognized for the work being done by homeless shelters and housing and service providers to help alleviate homelessness in Vermont.

At Noon community members, elected officials, administration representatives, and advocates will take to the State House steps for a Vigil to emphasize the urgency of the problems facing Vermonters who are homeless, to remember our friends and neighbors who have died without homes, and to bring awareness of the struggles of those still searching for safe and secure housing.

Please see the flyer below for more information. For a link to a downloadable version to print and distribute click here.

Additional information will soon be released. VAHC is proud to be a co-sponsor of the day’s activities, along with the primary sponsor, the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness.

For more information, please contact Linda Ryan by email or phone at 802.373.6505.

I hope you can join us on the 8th.

Meanwhile, here’s wishing you all the best for a joyous Holiday Season and a healthy and successful New Year!

HomelessVigilPoster

 



NLIHC Call to Action: Urge Congress to Replace Sequestration with a Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction

Posted

Sign on today to a letter urging lawmakers to act quickly to stop sequestration from taking effect in the upcoming fiscal year. Sequestration in FY16 would impose additional deep cuts to important nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs, including HUD and Rural Housing Service housing programs. Join advocates from around the country in calling on Congress to stop these cuts from going forward. Sign your organization on by COB on Monday, January 5.

BACKGROUND

In 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act, which resulted in 6% across-the-board cuts to housing and most other discretionary programs in 2013. Those cuts resulted in 100,000 fewer housing choice vouchers being in use in 2014, as well as cuts to every other HUD and Rural Housing Service program. The 2013 sequester had significant negative consequences on the availability and affordability of housing and it should not be repeated.

NLIHC continues to work with NDD United, a coalition representing a broad range of NDD programs, in addition to housing and community development, such as job training, public health, scientific research and national parks. It is important that this letter, organized by NDD United, include a large number of housing and community development organizations to express our sector’s serious concerns about another round of cuts in FY16.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 negotiated by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) provided partial, temporary relief from sequestration in FY14 and FY15. This relief expires at the end of FY15. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that if sequestration moves forward in FY16, NDD spending will drop to 3.3% of gross domestic product in 2015 and 3.1% in 2016.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT

NDD programs have already been cut disproportionately in recent years as lawmakers work to reduce the deficit, even though experts across the political spectrum agree these programs are not a driving factor behind our nation’s mid- and long-term fiscal challenges.

NDD programs cover a wide range of important services, including homelessness prevention, housing assistance, community development, education, job training, human services, public health, scientific and medical research, national parks, and more. As a result of sequestration and other austerity measures enacted since 2011, FY14 funding for NDD programs was about 15% below FY10 levels, adjusted for inflation. Unless Congress takes action to end sequestration, funding levels will decline even further and will be equal to their lowest level in at least 50 years.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

Congress needs to hear from you! Join advocates from many sectors around the country by signing a letter urging lawmakers to replace sequestration with a balanced approach to deficit reduction.

Sign your organization on to the letter.
Sign on at http://nlihc.org/takeaction/ndd2106
View the letter at http://bit.ly/1wXaLG4
Share the letter and encourage organizations in your network to sign.
Sign your organization on to the letter by COB on Monday, January 5.

Questions or comments, please email outreach@nlihc.org.

nlihccalltoaction

 



SASH Program Featured in LeadingAge

Posted December 18, 2014

LeadingAge recently featured Vermont’s SASH program in an article titled Affordable Senior Housing Plus Services Program Slows Growth in Medicare Costs. The article highlights early findings from a 3-year study conducted by the LeadingAge Center for Applied Research and RTI International, which can be found here. Below is an excerpt from the article citing findings from a first-year evaluation:

The SASH evaluation is funded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The first-year evaluation compared SASH participants living in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-assisted properties to 2 demographically similar groups:

  • Medicare beneficiaries in Vermont who live in HUD-assisted properties and are included in a MAPCP medical home, but are not SASH participants (non-SASH/MAPCP).
  • Medicare beneficiaries in upstate New York living in HUD-assisted properties who are not participating in a MAPCP demonstration program or the SASH program (non-SASH/non-MAPCP).

First-year results show that, between the baseline and intervention periods, total Medicare expenditures increased for all groups. However, the growth in these expenditures was lower for SASH participants, relative to either comparison group.

The evaluation also examined SASH participants who joined the program earlier and those who joined later.

The purpose was to gauge the impact of SASH on participants who had a longer exposure to more mature program operations. Those who joined the program earlier experienced a statistically significant lower rate of growth in:

  • Total Medicare expenditures and post-acute care payments, compared to the non-SASH/MAPCP group.
  • Total Medicare expenditures and acute care, post-acute care and hospital outpatient payments, compared to the non-SASH/non-MAPCP group.

This may indicate that the SASH program will see a continued, and, perhaps, stronger effect as it operates longer.

To read the entire article, which includes an overview on how SASH works, click here.

 



New England Resident Service Coordinators – Vermont Conference, Save the Date & Sponsorship Opportunities

Posted

VHFA and the State of Vermont would like to invite you to be a part of the premiere educational training for Resident Service Coordinators in New England. Occurring only once every six years in the state of Vermont, the New England Resident Service Coordinators, Inc. will host their 17th Annual Conference, Diversity: Celebrating Beauty and Strength, May 6-8, 2015 at Stowe Mountain Lodge.

Resident service coordinators in Vermont have taken on the important role of keeping residents of affordable housing, particularly seniors, safe at home; linking them to available care and support so they can remain healthy in their apartments and communities. Service coordinators work with residents to promote independence, ensure stable tenancy and help bring the highest quality of life. We have about 75 coordinators in Vermont serving almost 5,000 residents and community members.

This training will bring together more than 400 attendees working in the affordable housing field to participate in activities that include a keynote presentation by Commissioner Susan Wehry, a Flavor of Vermont event, and 54 educational workshops, many of which are led by educational leaders from Vermont.

New England Resident Service Coordinators (NERSC) is a 501c3 non-profit organization in need of support for their 17th Annual Conference. Relying heavily on sponsorships to keep attendee costs to a minimum, NERSC granted more than 59 full and partial scholarships in 2014 to RSCs who could not afford to attend.

Please consider sponsoring a workshop, scholarship or other available package. For details, please click: http://www.nerscinc.org/images/2015kit.pdf.

You also can contact Andrea Dobras Executive Director of the New England Resident Service Coordinators, (p) 508-863-0020, nerscinc@hotmail.com; or Sam Falzone at VHFA, (p) 802-652-3435, sfalzone@vhfa.org.

 



Job Opportunity: Assistant Director for Housing at CEDO

Posted December 17, 2014

Burlington’s Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) is looking to hire a new Assistant Director for Housing. This position manages the Housing Division of CEDO. Primary responsibility is to develop, coordinate, implement and administer a comprehensive program to address the City’s housing needs. This includes oversight of the City’s housing policies, programs and initiatives, and administration of various housing ordinances. Also involves advancing public policy focused on expanding housing opportunities across the economic spectrum. To read a full description of the job functions and requirements click here.

To apply, submit resume and a City of Burlington Application to: Human Resources Department, 179 So. Winooski Ave., Burlington, Vermont 05401. To obtain an application or for more information about the City of Burlington, please see their website: www.burlingtonvt.gov/HR. Deadline to apply is January 15, 2015.

CedoBanner

 



Land Trust Seeks Rentals in Barre and Montpelier for Displaced Tenants

Posted December 5, 2014

Central Vermont Community Land Trust is seeking help in relocating residents who are currently housed in units in Barre and Montpelier that will be undergoing construction in 2015. Details are included in the news release below. For further information contact Liz Genge, Director of Property Management, at
(802) 477-1333 or lgenge@cvclt.org.

The Central Vermont Community Land Trust (CVCLT) is seeking the help of local landlords to relocate residents who will be displaced during major construction projects in Barre and Montpelier.

The construction, scheduled to begin in early 2015, involves interior upgrades to CVCLT-owned buildings at 39 and 40 Barre Street, Montpelier, and a new four-story multi-family apartment building on Summer Street in Barre.

Assistance from community leaders and local landlords is needed to assure that the displaced CVCLT residents will have safe and convenient housing during the transition. Most of the residents need downtown units within easy walking distance of local amenities and a bus line.

In Barre, 16 CVCLT residents will be displaced from their apartments when demolition begins on three aging CVCLT-owned buildings on the Summer Street site. Those tenants will need apartments for about a year and then most will have the option of moving into the new building.

“This is a win-win situation,” said Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon. “It’s good for the City’s redevelopment, it guarantees rent for Barre landlords, and it helps CVCLT residents stay in housing they depend on. There’s no reason not to work together on this.”

In Montpelier, 14 CVCLT residents will be displaced for about six months while their apartment units on Barre Street are rehabbed with safety and energy upgrades. The fourteen residents will return to their former apartments when the project is finished.

“CVCLT is fulfilling its promise to keep their affordable housing in Montpelier safe and in good repair,” said Montpelier Mayor John Hollar. “I hope Montpelier landlords will do what they can to support this project.”

Private landlords who can offer apartments will be guaranteed rent, lease enforcement and the services of CVCLT’s skilled property managers. All of the tenants, who come with references and detailed rental history, have been CVCLT tenants for at least a year.

 



USDA Awards $250,000 to Four Vermont Organizations To Repair and Rehabilitate Rural Housing

Posted

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Friday that four Vermont organizations received a total of $250,000 in Rural Development Housing Preservation Grants to help rural families repair and rehabilitate their homes. Southwestern Vermont Community Action Program, the Vermont Center for Independent Living, Northeast Employment and Training Organization, and Rural Edge each received a grant.

“Lower-income rural families often have difficulty just meeting their daily living expenses, and they don’t have enough income for housing upkeep and maintenance,” said USDA Rural Development New Hampshire and Vermont State Director Ted Brady. “This USDA program provides funding to qualified organizations that help these families make essential repairs, often to remove safety and health hazards, so the families can stay there. The program can also help lower their future housing costs through energy efficiency and weatherization improvements.”

Southwestern Vermont Community Action Program and the Vermont Center for Independent Living each received a $25,000 Housing Preservation Grant to assist 20 Vermont families make essential improvements to their homes.

Northeast Employment and Training Organization and Gilman Housing Trust/ Rural Edge Inc. each received a $100,000 Housing Preservation Grant to help a total of 45 families living in Orleans, Essex and Caledonia counties make essential repairs and energy efficient improvements to their homes. The two Northeast Kingdom organizations were able to access these funds thanks to a provision of the 2014 Farm Bill authored by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy and supported by Vermont’s Congressional Delegation extending the Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zone. The designation provides five regions of the country, including the three Northeastern-most counties of Vermont – Caledonia, Essex and Orleans — additional grant resources through USDA Rural Development.

In a joint statement, Leahy, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch said: “These are lifeline investments to improve housing and assist low-income Vermonters across the state. The Northeast Kingdom’s REAP Zone helped to make two of these grants possible and continues to show this is a program that works to build our economy and provide assistance in the NEK.”

USDA Rural Development’s Housing Preservation Grant Program provides assistance to very-low and low-income homeowners to repair and rehabilitate their homes. Assistance is also available to rental property owners to repair and rehabilitate their units providing they agree to make such units available to very-low and low-income families.

President Obama’s historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities.

USDA, through its RD mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $206.2 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas. For more information on Rural Development visit the Vermont/New Hampshire Rural Development website (www.rurdev.usda.gov/nh-vtHome.html) or contact USDA RD at (802) 828-6000.

For more information contact Jacqueline Susmann at (603) 953-4987 or Jacqueline.susmann@vt.usda.gov.

 



VT Consolidated Plan Citizen Participation Survey & Meetings

Posted December 4, 2014

The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is preparing a new five-year Consolidated Plan for 2015-2020 as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Vermont’s Consolidated Plan guides the investment of more than $10 million that is received annually for three grant programs:

Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME)
Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG)

This money typically leverages at least another $10 million in other public and private funds. In recent years, the priority for Vermont’s plan has been to direct resources toward economic development and housing activities.

They are inviting the public and interested parties to participate in a series of regional meetings and to complete an electronic survey. Your participation will help them learn about the needs and interests in the areas of economic, housing and community development.

Citizen Participation Meetings will be held on:

Wednesday, December 17th
West Rutland, VT
West Rutland Town Hall, 35 Marble Street
4:00pm – 6:00pm

Thursday, December 18th
St. Albans, VT
City Council Chambers, 100 North Main Street
4:00pm – 6:00pm

Monday, January 5th
Bristol, VT
Holley Hall, 1 South Street
5:30pm – 7:30pm

Wednesday, January 7th
St. Johnsbury, VT
Black Box Theater St. Johnsbury Academy, 1000 Main Street
Noon-2pm

Tuesday, January 13th
Bennington, VT
Bennington Fire Station – Third Floor Meeting Room, 130 River Street
4:00pm – 6:00pm

Thursday, January 15th
Bellows Falls, VT
The Lower Theater – Bellows Falls Opera House, 7 The Square
3:00pm – 5:00pm

Friday, January 16th
Randolph, VT
Chandler Music Hall – Upper Gallery, 71-73 Main Street
Noon – 2:00pm

All meeting locations are wheelchair accessible. If you need special accommodations or have any questions about the meetings, please contact Arthur Hamlin at 828-3749 or Shaun Gilpin at 828-1346.

To complete the survey click here.

 



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