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VHCB Commits $3.953 Million to Create and Rehabilitate 220 Homes in 8 Towns

Posted February 29, 2016

On Thursday, February 4, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board committed $3,953,500 to develop, rehabilitate and preserve 218 affordable homes in settings ranging from shared elderly housing in Rochester, to new construction in White River Junction, redevelopment of deteriorated public housing in Rutland, energy retrofit and rehabilitation of apartments in Bennington, Bradford, and Wilder, and mobile home parks in Hardwick and Ludlow. The VHCB commitments of state funding will leverage $32.6 million in other public and private funds.

VHCB Executive Director Gus Seelig said, “These investments will create 57 new, energy efficient homes in tight rental markets and rehabilitate and increase the energy efficiency of 163 apartments, renewing valuable housing resources for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. In addition to improving quality of life for renters and homeowners, these developments employ construction workers, excavators, plumbers, electricians, architects, engineers, and landscapers in communities around the state.”

White River Junction – Highly energy efficient apartments will be constructed at the intersection of Bridge and Main Streets in a downtown lot that has been vacant since 2005 following a fire. Railroad Row LLC, a private development corporation, will receive $500,000 in federal HOME funds awarded by VHCB to subsidize seventeen apartments. Project-based rental assistance provided by the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program through the Vermont State Housing Authority will make the apartments affordable to very low-income residents. The pedestrian-friendly site is in close proximity to public transportation options, shopping, services, and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. There is a high demand for housing in the White River Junction area, where the vacancy rate hovers at 1%.

Bennington – Housing Vermont and Shires Housing will complete rehabilitation and energy conservation work and refinance Applegate Apartments using $1,549,631 in VHCB and federal HOME funds in the $9.6 million redevelopment. Planned improvements will increase energy efficiency, affordability and accessibility and reduce operating expenses. A biomass heating system will be installed to serve the 104-unit apartment complex. Buildings will receive new windows, doors, siding, roofs and exterior insulation. Additionally, there will be repairs to sewer lines, upgrades to water lines, electrical upgrades, accessibility and code upgrades, improvements to roadways, sidewalks and parking areas.

Rutland – In the final phase in the redevelopment of Hickory Street (a former public housing project that was known as Forest Park), Housing Vermont and the Rutland Housing Authority will demolish 27 dilapidated apartments and construct 22 new apartments heated by a wood pellet system. The developers will use $265,000 in VHCB funding for the last phase of this 78-unit development. Installation of sewer and water, storm water and electric service for three single-family homes to be built by Rutland Habitat for Humanity on the east end of the development is included in the budget. In the course of redeveloping Forest Park, severe health threats have been addressed, the neighborhood has been revitalized, the number of homes has increased and the income mix has been altered to integrate households of various income levels, consistent with state housing policy.

Bradford – In a $2.45 million redevelopment using $350,000 in VHCB funds from the State of Vermont and $410,000 in federal HOME funding, Downstreet Housing & Community Development will rehabilitate four buildings at Colonial Village, a 21-apartment development with project-based rental assistance. Rehab will include new sidewalks and paving, new windows and energy efficiency upgrades including a wood pellet heating system. Accessibility improvements, new flooring, kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, new appliances, smoke detectors and water saving plumbing fixtures will be added, along with a new sprinkler system. Located within walking distance of the town center, Colonial Village provides housing for seniors, families, and individuals with disabilities.

Hardwick – In a pilot project, the Lamoille Housing Partnership (LHP) will use $578,000 in VHCB funds and a $1.3 million loan from USDA Rural Development to place 13 energy efficient modular homes at Evergreen Manor Mobile Home Park. LHP will rent the homes, which are built by VerMod in Wilder, Vermont, to eligible households. Solar photovoltaic panels will produce electricity and air source heat pumps will heat and cool the units, resulting in net-zero energy use.

Wilder – Twin Pines Housing Trust and Housing Vermont will rehabilitate the Briars, a 24-unit complex, using $345,000 in VHCB funding and a HOME award of $365,000. Constructed in 1988, the buildings require new roofs, furnaces and weatherization. Paving of parking areas, site drainage and grading, installation of water-saving showerheads and faucets, new handicap railings and attic venting are included in the scope of work. Addressing the capital needs of the buildings and reducing the energy usage will serve the buildings for many years to come. The number of affordable units will be increased as well. In a partnership with the Upper Valley Haven, Twin Pines leases two units to formerly homeless households.

Rochester – Park House is a shared housing residence for 14 seniors located in the center of the village that will use $250,000 in VHCB funds to address health and safety code requirements including installing a sprinkler system and upgrading fire alarm and elevator. Park House was developed in 1990 and has housed 140 frail elders since that time. Future work will address energy efficiency needs.

Ludlow – Using $85,000 in VHCB funding, the Housing Trust of Rutland County will subsidize two new homes to be located on vacant lots in the Tuckerville Mobile Home Park. One home will be a conventional, Energy Star-rated home and one will be an energy efficient modular home built by VerMod.

Other commitments made at the meeting were $225,500 to the Upper Valley Land Trust to conserve 60 acres of farmland in Norwich, support for the Support and Services at Home (SASH) program that coordinates health care services for elders at housing sites ($35,000), and feasibility funding for projects in the early stages of development ($45,000).

For a link to the full press release, click here.

 



Job Opportunity: Program Manager at Home Share Now

Posted

Home Share Now is currently searching for someone to fill the position of Program Manager:

The Program Manager will have primary responsibility for all aspects of facilitating home share matches, working directly with participants and their families.

This position plays a key role in the success of Home Share Now and thus holds significant responsibility; performance will be measured against grant outcome goals. We’re looking for a compassionate, mature candidate that can achieve results and is comfortable with quantifiable and qualitative performance measurement.

The Program Manager must be a team player, a self-initiator, motivated to seek out information, and interested in learning about partner organizations and agencies. Flexible thinking, a forward-looking philosophy, and a strong spirit suits this position best. As a team-oriented organization, the position is responsible for some administration and special projects.

For a full description of this position and requirements, click here. To apply for this position, submit a cover letter and resume to Christina Goodwin,
Executive Director, at cgoodwin@homesharenow.org.

 



A Home For All

Posted February 17, 2016

Check out “A Home For All,’ a great short video on the importance of affordable housing in the Upper Valley made by our friends at the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission​!

‘A Home for All’ is the first of many videos that TRORC hopes to publish for the community to help reach a wider audience on TRORC’s work. With increased housing costs, and a limited housing stock, the workforce population has found it progressively more difficult to buy homes. The need for affordable housing also reaches to seniors and young adults just out of school. All of these various groups make up the vibrant communities we live in, and without affordable housing we run the risk of losing not just those groups, but also the prospect of new residents in our community.

The video focuses on why affordable housing is essential to maintaining our communities and culture in the Upper Valley. It features speakers from town officials, representatives from advocacy groups and affordable housing developers as well as staff from TRORC. Our hope is that the video can help break down the barriers of assumptions held by community members about the people in need of affordable housing. Through the AmeriCorps VISTA program, TRORC has dedicated staff whose focus is on projects relating to alleviating poverty in the region. Former VISTA member Pollaidh Major started the project in 2014 and the current VISTA member, Chris Damiani, wrapped up the video with editing and additional film footage. In the future TRORC plans to publish other informational pieces as well as trainings on a variety of topics.

You can access ‘A Home for All’ as well as other videos at www.youtube.com/trorcvt. For more information about this project, contact Chris Damiani at cdamiani@trorc.org

 



Putney Considers Affordable Housing on Newman Hall Lot

Posted February 16, 2016

The Brattleboro Reformer reports on the proposal of new affordable housing in Putney developed by Windham & Windsor Housing Trust:

The Affordable Housing Committee met Feb. 1 to discuss a proposed affordable housing project for the Newman Hall lot.

The housing project is located between Depot Street and Putney Landing Road, south of Curtis’ All American Barbecue. The project would include a mix of family and smaller apartments for a total of 18 units with a combination of townhouses and accessible flats. The site plan was first presented at the Dec. 15 meeting, which showed three structures in a U-shaped arrangement around a south-facing courtyard. The Feb. 1 meeting was attended by Connie Snow, Executive Director of Windham & Windsor Housing Trust and Bob Stevens of Stevens and Associates, who is the project civil engineer.

“We’re really excited about what seems to be an opportunity to meet the needs of affordable housing in Putney” said Snow during a January interview.

The project is nearing the end of the preliminary design phase, and is considered “feasible,” and a project information sheet was provided at the Feb. 1 meeting. Snow referenced a market study for the project by Doug Kennedy Advisors, which is focused on providing research, analyses and strategies to their clients’ real estate issues.

The study indicates that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment with utilities in Putney is $940 per month. The rent with utilities for the proposed project is $525 to $600 per month for subsidized housing. A market rate unit would also be included with a rent and utilities at $697 per month. The proposed project rent for a two bedroom apartment would be $875 and for a three bedroom, $900. According to the study, the current average Putney rent for a two bedroom is $1,020 and $1,570 for a three bedroom.

WWHT develops affordable apartments throughout Windham and Windsor counties, and provides property management services and supportive services that seek to ensure long-term resident stability. WWHT recently completed the $2.4 million renovation of the Planz House, 27 Depot Road, into affordable apartments.

To continue reading the article, click here.

 



Housing Vermont Scholarship Fund

Posted February 11, 2016

Residents of housing affiliated with Housing Vermont are eligible for an annual scholarship of up to $2,500. Scholarships are available for both degreed and non‐degreed programs as well as for those interested in taking classes which lead to certifications.

The funds can be used for tuition, materials & books, childcare, transportation, or other expenses related to enrolling in a program.
Scholarships for the 2016‐2017 school year will be announced in late spring 2016.

For a list of eligible housing sites, please visit the Housing Vermont web site at http://www.hvt.org/about-us/scholarships/.

For more information on the application process, please visit the VSAC (Vermont Student Assistance Corporation) web site at www.vsac.org.

To view and download an informational flyer, click here.

 



Job Opportunity: Commercial Property Manager at Champlain Housing Trust

Posted

Join Champlain Housing Trust’s Property Management team in Burlington, serve the affordable housing needs of a diverse group of people, and manage CHT’s Commercial Property Portfolio. You will be responsible for leasing, marketing, tenant relations, rent collections, rent increase implementation, lease enforcement and compliance with Federal, State and local programs. Qualified applicants must have excellent customer service skills, be organized with attention to detail, able to work independently while enjoying a team environment, communicate effectively, exercise sound judgment, and committed to a membership-based model of community controlled and permanently affordable housing. Experience in commercial/residential property management.

CHT is a socially responsible employer offering a competitive salary commensurate based on experience. Our benefit package includes training, health insurance, vacation, holiday, sick leave, 403(b), disability and life insurance. Submit a cover letter and resume by February 26th to Human Resources, Champlain Housing Trust, 88 King Street, Burlington, VT 05401 or email HR@champlainhousingtrust.org. No phone calls, please.

Equal Opportunity Employer – CHT is committed to a diverse workplace and highly encourages women, persons with disabilities, Section 3 residents, and people from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds to apply.

 



SAVE THE DATE – Feb 24 – Housing & Conservation Day at the State House

Posted February 9, 2016

PLEASE SET ASIDE FEBRUARY 24th as a day that you and your organization’s key supporters will spend in Montpelier, talking and advocating in the Legislature on the importance of Vermont Housing and Conservation Board funding for your organization and the communities it serves.

Vermont law statutorily dedicates 50% of the annual Property Transfer Tax (PTT) receipts to VHCB for investment in affordable housing and conservation. In the upcoming year, this would be about $19M. The Governor’s recommended budget, which is the starting place for the Legislature’s work, proposes $14M for VHCB, and reallocates the remaining $5M of VHCB’s statutory share of the PTT to General Fund deficit reduction.

We need members to TURN OUT IN FORCE to ask lawmakers to allocate the full legally required $19M to VHCB investments in the State budget. This is the balanced and sustainable level set by the PTT law.

Remind your reps. and senators that VHCB investments are a proven, efficient and effective way to produce great community results. For nearly 30 years, lawmaker’s balanced and sustainable approach to VHCB investments has been a key to success.

Tentative Schedule:

7:30- 9:00 – Breakfast meetings with individual legislators (breakfast sponsored by VHCC)

9:00- 10:00 – Welcome & meeting with Governor Shumlin, Lt. Governor Scott, Senate Pro Tem John Campbell, Speaker Smith, and other legislative leaders (most confirmed)

10:00- 11:00 – Joint meeting of Senate Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs and House General, Housing & Military Affairs Committees

11:00-12:00 – Joint meeting with Senate & House Agriculture Committees

12:00-1:30 – Lunch, and throughout the day – Meetings with individual legislators

2:00 – 3:00 – Ice cream social

Additional committee testimony is scheduled throughout the morning and early afternoon in Senate Health & Welfare, Natural Resources, and Institutions Committees, and House Commerce, Fish & Wildlife, Institutions, Natural Resources, Human Services, and Health Care Committees.

A final agenda and detailed invitation with talking points will follow.

For further information, contact:

Erhard Mahnke at 233-2902 or erhardm@burlingtontelecom.net

John Shullenberger at 373-2590 or jdsdiann@together.net

Adam Necrason at 223-9988 or adam@necrasongroup.com

Rebecca Ramos at 917-1008 or rebecca@necrasongroup.com

VHCC logo

 



Welch Initiative to Assist Low-Income Mobile Homeowners Passes House

Posted

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment introduced by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) that would expand the federal housing assistance program to cover previously ineligible expenses of low income mobile home owners.  The bipartisan initiative was approved as an amendment to the Housing Opportunities Through Modernization Act (H.R. 3700), which passed the House and will now go to the Senate for further consideration.

“Low-income Vermonters are struggling to make ends meet and stay in their homes,” Rep. Welch said. “This legislation will provide a much-needed boost in federal assistance to low-income mobile home owners in Vermont and across the country.”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 8 housing choice voucher program provides financial assistance to help low-income families afford reliable housing across the country. Currently, this critical housing program disadvantages mobile home owners who are only permitted to utilize the housing voucher for the cost of the land leased underneath their home. However, the land leased is only a small portion of the cost that many mobile home owners pay for their housing.

Welch’s amendment expands the scope of the housing choice voucher program to better reflect the true costs of housing for low-income mobile homeowners. It would allow the property taxes paid on the mobile home, as well as insurances, utilities, and financing, to be included as housing costs eligible for the Section 8 payment. The amendment will also provide parity between the housing vouchers received by low-income mobile home owners and those received by low-income individuals living in rental units.

In 2010, there were an estimated 22,436 mobile homes in Vermont, according to the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

“We are extremely grateful to Congressman Welch for his leadership on this important amendment, which provides low-income mobile home owners who lease the land under their homes with comparable assistance to that of their neighbors who rent,” said Erhard Mahnke, Coordinator for the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition. “We’ve been hoping for a fix to this unfair policy for many years and are thrilled that it has passed the House as part of a bill that makes many other crucial and long awaited reforms to the Section 8 program. This will be of great and long lasting benefit to low-income and vulnerable Vermonter mobile home owners who struggle to pay for their housing costs,” said Coordinator for Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition Erhard Mahnke.

The legislation backed by Welch is supported by the National Manufactured Home Owners Association, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and the New England Housing Network.

For a link to this press release, click here. For more on this amendment, click here.

 



Job Opportunity: Mobile Home Program Resident Organizer at CVOEO

Posted February 5, 2016

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 our team.

We are looking for a motivated, problem-solver to provide education and outreach to residents of Vermont’s mobile home parks. Our 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, data entry, provide trainings and technical support for resident associations and resident-owned cooperatives and assisting the program director with managing multiple projects as needed.

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: resident2016@cvoeo.org. Review of applications begins immediately and will continue until suitable candidates are found.

 



VAHC TV: Pathways Vermont – Housing First Program

Posted February 4, 2016

Host Erhard Mahnke provides a brief legislative update, then speaks with Lindsay Casale, Housing First Program Manager with Pathways Vermont, on how they help Vermonters who have experienced chronic homelessness and have mental health disabilities find and maintain housing. For more information on Pathways Vermont, click here. To watch the program, view the embedded link below or click here. You can also view the program on-air tonight, Thursday, February 4th at 7:00pm or on Monday, February 8, 15, and 22 at 4:30pm on Channel 17/Town Meeting TV.

 



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