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Urgent! Public Comments Needed

Posted March 28, 2016

Please join the VAHC in submitting comments to the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB).

The UVM Medical Center and Central Vermont Medical Center, recognizing the significant need that exists in our communities for mental health services, alleviating addiction, and more affordable housing, have proposed to use a portion of its excess revenue to invest in programs that improve the health and well-being of low-income Vermonters. They propose doing this by making strategic investments in community partners and coalition members such as Washington County Mental Health, Howard Center, and Champlain Housing Trust. Here’s a VTDigger article for more information: http://vtdigger.org/2016/03/24/uvm-hospitals-offer-15m-of-excess-revenue-for-public-benefit

The Green Mountain Care Board must approve this plan. The Coalition encourages its members to weigh-in to support these investments – while many are calling for the hospitals to simply pay back insurers and the State for the excess revenue, that would do nothing to improve health or reduce health care costs. The GMCB is accepting comments through 12pm this Wednesday, 3/30 at this site: http://gmcboard.vermont.gov/public_comment (under “Topic” select Hospital Budgets). Your comments will help secure a significant investment in housing and community health. Please comment today!

Many thanks for your help!

 



Request for Proposals: Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance Evaluation

Posted March 25, 2016

The City of Burlington’s Community & Economic Development Office (CEDO) seeks
the services of qualified consultants to conduct an assessment of the current
Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) Ordinance and to evaluate its impact on the provision of
housing opportunities for all Vermont’s citizens, particularly low-to moderateincome
households. This analysis should examine whether inclusionary zoning has
led to inclusion and the creation of economically integrated communities that allow
households of modest means access to a range of opportunities, the underlying
principles of the ordinance. Based on findings, if applicable, recommendations
should be made on how to render the ordinance a more effective tool.

To read more, click here for the full RFP. All questions pertaining to the RFP must be submitted to Gillian Nanton by email (gnanton@burlingtonvt.gov) by noon on Wednesday, March 30th, 2016. All answers to any questions received by the above date and time will be emailed to the qualified consultants who received the RFP by Friday, April 1st, 2016. Consultants shall prepare a proposal and budget and send it via email to Gillian Nanton by 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 20th, 2016. To read more about Burlington’s current Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, click here.

 



Housing: Fair, Safe, Affordable: Burlington’s Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance

Posted March 21, 2016

Ted Wimpey, Director of CVOEO’s Fair Housing Project is joined by East District City Councilor Selene Colburn who serves as Chair of the Burlington Council’s Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalizatoin (CDNR) Committee. Ted and Selene provide a history, overview and purpose for the ordinance, and speak to the current process leading to a pending consultant’s review of the ordinance as recommended by the Burlington Housing Action Plan. A Request for Proposal drafted by the City’s Community and Economic Development Office, and the Mayor’s Office, for solicitation of prospective consultant bids is under review by the CDNR committee.

To view the program, view the embedded video below, click here, or tune into Channel 17 at 3:00pm on Monday March 21st, 28th, or April 4th.

 



DCF Says New Program Cuts Down On Homeless Motel Vouchers

Posted March 17, 2016

This week, the Vermont Department for Children & Families released a Budget Adjustment Report on Housing and Shelter Assistance to the Vermont Legislature. To view the report, click here. Below is commentary from VPR on the report:

State efforts to reduce the number of people who use motels for emergency housing have been effective, according to a report released this week by the Department for Children and Families.

Last winter, the state saw a significant increase in the number of people who were forced to use the motel voucher program for emergency housing.

Since then, the state put resources into developing alternative housing options across the state, and alternative shelters were set up in Burlington, St. Johnsbury and Middlebury.

Those efforts, according to the report, led to sharp reductions in traffic and significant savings.

Data for all of this winter are not yet available, but if projections hold, the state will spend about $3.9 million this winter, compared to the $4.3 million it spent last year.

The unusually mild winter also might have contributed to the decrease, the report says.

The state is putting resources into alternative housing programs across the state, and it hopes to broaden the services even further next year.

For a full link to this article, click here.

 



Job Opportunities with Addison County Community Trust

Posted March 15, 2016

Office Manager (Vergennes, VT)
Immediate opening for Office Manager position in support of Addison County Community Trust‘s (ACCT’s) mission of providing affordable housing. In addition to administrative duties, the Office Manager is a critical team member providing executive support to the management team, including CFO, Director of Ownership Programs, and Executive Director. Desirable experience includes prior administrative experience, financial services, & customer service involving a diverse and challenging residential population. The successful candidate will have: a strong sense of teamwork with the ability to work both independently and as part of a team; ability to prioritize; flexibility and good judgment; ambition to develop new skills and be highly organized. Excellent benefits; salary based on experience. Respond with resume and cover letter by 3/28/16 to AddisonTrustJobs@gmail.com.

Director of Maintenance (Vergennes, VT)
Immediate opening for management team position in support of Addison County Community Trust‘s (ACCT’s) mission of providing affordable housing, specifically maintenance operations for a portfolio including 200+ multifamily apartments and 9 mobile home parks with 340 lots. Desirable experience includes maintenance and facilities management experience, as well as customer service involving a diverse and challenging residential population. Licensed Water Systems Operator a plus. Some personnel supervision preferable. Excellent benefits; salary based on experience. Respond with resume and cover letter by 3/28/16 to AddisonTrustJobs@gmail.com.

 



Governor Shumlin Announces $2.9 Million in Community Development Grants

Posted March 10, 2016

Brownfield clean-up and re-development in Richmond and Montpelier, and energy efficient affordable housing in Bennington and Hardwick, are among the eight projects receiving more than $2.9 million in grants from the Vermont Community Development Program announced today.

“From Waitsfield to Wheelock, communities across Vermont will use these grants to build affordable housing, clean-up contaminated sites for re-development, expand services to their residents, restore historic buildings, and make their communities more resilient”, said Gov. Peter Shumlin.

“We are excited to support this array of community projects, and thank all the people and organizations working hard every day to improve the lives of Vermonters and the communities we call home’, commented Patricia Moulton, Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

“While targeted to the needs of lower income Vermonters, Community Development Block Grants address the needs of communities and represent a true partnership between the federal, state and local government,” said Department of Housing and Community Development, Deputy Commissioner Josh Hanford. The projects include expanding childcare, parenting classes and family support services in Rutland, creating and improving affordable housing in Bennington and Hardwick, and assisting with flood recovery in Hancock, Montpelier and Waitsfield.

Vermont’s congressional delegation has been steadfast in supporting the funding that makes the program possible. In a joint statement, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said: “At its core, this program is about transforming communities by creating opportunities for Vermonters. These projects mean new homes for our neighbors, more childcare for children and working families, and reinvigorated downtowns. They will play diverse and critical roles in our communities, from improving flood mitigation to ensuring town offices are ADA accessible. These federal investments will empower Vermonters to offer a much-needed helping hand to community members who need it most, and we congratulate each of the recipients.”

The state awards approximately $7 million annually in competitive grants through the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development. The grants are funded through the federal Community Development Block Grant Program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
For information about the Vermont Community Development Program, please see the Agency of Commerce and Community Development website at: http://accd.vermont.gov/strong_communities/opportunities/funding/vcdp

$350,000 Town of Bennington – Deferred loan to Applegate Housing Limited Partnership to rehabilitate a 104-unit mixed-income property. 93 units will be available to households at or below 80% of Area Median Income. Proposed improvements to the property include repairs to water and sewer lines, accessibility and code upgrades, new roofs, siding, windows, and insulation, as well as converting the existing heating oil system to a bio-mass heating system.

$358,250 Town of Hancock – Grant to assist in replacing an undersized culvert, on Churchville Road, causing damage and road closures during high-water, with a larger bridge structure capable of passing a 100-year storm event.

$300,000 Town of Hardwick – Subgrant to the Lamoille Housing Partnership to purchase and install 13 new, energy efficient modular-built homes on vacant lots at the Evergreen Manor Mobile Home Park in Hardwick. All homes will be affordable to families earning less than 80% of Area Median Income.

$850,000 City of Montpelier – Grant to repair and rebuild the historic granite block retaining wall, at 1 Taylor Street, damaged by flooding in 2011. The project will also remove and dispose of contaminated soils, allowing the long planned multimodal transportation center and bike/pedestrian path project to proceed.

$500,000 Town of Richmond – Subgrant to Buttermilk, LLC to demolish four derelict buildings and remediate the former Richmond Creamery property. The brownfield site requires extensive cleanup due to the following sources of contamination: asbestos, lead paint, mold, ammonia, PCB’s, PAH’s, and metals. The redevelopment plan involves a net zero mixed-use development with office space, housing, public services, and retail space.

$257,000 City of Rutland – Subgrant to Rutland County Parent Child Center (RCPCC) to complete Phase III of a five-year strategic plan to rehabilitate a building that has been unoccupied for 20 years. The project will serve an estimated 1,610 persons, all with income less than 50% of Area Median Income. The building will be used to expand RCPCC’s programs, including parenting classes for the community and a larger space for their Learning Together program, focused on pregnant and parenting youth who are working toward their high school diploma. The rehabilitation will involve roof work, improvements to the HVAC system, new windows, doors, floors, and painting.

$264,182 Waitsfield Village Meeting House – Grant to assist the Waitsfield Village Meeting House flood proof the building and construct life safety and ADA/accessibility improvements. The project will include stabilizing and flood proofing the basement and moving all mechanical and electrical system components out of the basement to locations more than 2 feet above a 100-year flood.

$30,000 Town of Wheelock – Grant to hire professional consultants to complete the planning and construction documents for the redesign and renovation of the Town Hall/offices to be ADA compliant.

For a link to this press release, click here.

 



Vogel: Housing Legislation

Posted March 3, 2016

Yesterday, VPR featured commentary from John Vogel on housing legislation:

In 2014, the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development hired Bowen National Research to conduct a statewide housing needs assessment. The study concluded that Vermont has a significant housing shortage, especially for families and seniors who make less than $20,000 per year.

By my calculation, at the current rate at which we’re building affordable housing, we’ll need at least 125 years to overcome this shortage. And that assumes that the number of low income seniors and families doesn’t increase.

Vermonters may disagree about how much of our tax dollars should go into housing and how much should go into other worthy programs. But I think that all Vermonters would agree that we shouldn’t waste precious housing resources and good development opportunities.

That’s why I was pleased when some of our State Representatives including Jim Masland, Allison Clarkson and William Bostow introduced bills to streamline the process for developing affordable housing. All three bills are modeled after legislation that works successfully in other states, and in the case of H123, works successfully in 49 other states. Best of all, none of these pieces of legislation requires any additional money.

Perhaps I’m naïve, but after what happened in Woodstock, where a 28 unit project was delayed for nine years costing Vermont Taxpayers well over a million dollars in extra legal fees, interest payments and the like, I’d hoped that the legislature would step up and fix the problem. Representatives Masland, Clarkson and Bostow looked at what other states do and came up with some important improvements.

What surprises me is that none of these proposals seems to be gaining much traction. As Representative Masland explained, it takes time to build a coalition.And it’s hard to pass new legislation during an election year.

But I wish our legislators would visit the beautiful, affordable homes in Woodstock and ask the residents how they spent the last nine years while they were waiting for these homes to get built.

I also wish our legislators would talk to families and seniors living in motels or in their cars, ask them how they’re enjoying the winter and then explain that they will get decent housing if they can just hold on for another 125 years.

For a link to the original article, including audio, click here.

 



Leahy, Sanders, Welch Announce $1.4M In Affordable Housing Grants

Posted

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) Thursday announced more than $1.4 million in NeighborWorks America grants to revitalize communities and support access to affordable housing across Vermont.

NeighborWorks America is a public nonprofit established by Congress to invest in revitalizing communities and preserving affordable housing across the country. In Vermont, five NeighborWorks affiliate organizations receive these annual funds to support homeownership counseling, the creation of much-needed new affordable housing, home repair and energy efficiency assistance grants. Since its creation, NeighborWorks has been recognized for its partnership between community, public and private stakeholders that successfully leverage an average of $50 in other investments for every $1 appropriated.

In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch said: “Every Vermonter should have the peace of mind that comes with a safe and affordable home. This year’s allocation is a step toward achieving that goal and a common sense investment in our communities. Vermont’s NeighborWorks partners are nationally recognized for the innovative housing and community development practices seen throughout this state and are a critical part of our communities as they tackle some of our toughest challenges. We are fortunate to have the leadership of these organizations, and remain glad to support these grants.”

As the most senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Leahy has led the request for increased annual funding for NeighborWorks America. Last year, Leahy also led a bipartisan letter with Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) urging the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies to continue strong support for NeighborWorks.

NeighborWorks America awarded five grants to Vermont’s affiliates totaling $1,467,000.

Champlain Housing Trust – $390,000

Downstreet Housing and Community Development – $205,000

NeighborWorks of Western Vermont – $330,000

RuralEdge – $247,000

Windham & Windsor Housing Trust – $295,000

For a link to this press release, click here.