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Study: Vermont Housing and Health Care Model Shown to Improve Senior Health and Cut Growth in Medicare Spending

Posted April 29, 2016

South Burlington, VT—RTI International and LeadingAge Center for Applied Research recently released the results of their Second Annual SASH (Support And Services at Home) Evaluation. The SASH model; created in South Burlington, VT, by Cathedral Square, residents of Heineberg Senior Housing and partner community agencies; connects low-income Vermont seniors and adults with disabilities with community-based services and promotes coordination of health care. The evaluations of SASH gauge the model’s efficacy in facilitating healthy and economically viable “aging in place”. The federally commissioned study lays the groundwork for national expansion of the model.

The report concludes SASH participants demonstrated statistically significant lower growth in expenditure across categories including total Medicare expenditures, emergency room visits, hospital outpatient department visits, and primary care/specialist physician visits. Against a comparison group, SASH participants in the most experienced panels show growth in Medicare expenses was lower by an estimated $1,536 per beneficiary per year.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a long-time SASH supporter, released the following statement: “I believe that all seniors deserve to age with respect, dignity and have access to the social and medical supports to stay healthy and at home. SASH is a leading model to help seniors achieve that goal.”

“We’re pleased by the Evaluation results. It’s rewarding to see our beliefs confirmed by hard data,” said Kim Fitzgerald, Cathedral Square CEO. “But the real measure of what we do is feedback (SASH participants) give us. They make it clear we’re making a difference in their lives through better health and the freedom of independent living.”

Amy Kandilov, lead investigator for RTI International added, “The aging baby boom generation presents social, economic, and health challenges. We’re encouraged by these findings that SASH offers a cost-effective way to address the impact of an aging population.”

RTI International and its subcontractor, LeadingAge, were engaged by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Administration for Community Living to evaluate the SASH model through a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods. In this second year of evaluation RTI conducted site visits in four geographic area of Vermont, interviewing staff from core partner organizations including: area agencies on aging, visiting nurse associations, mental health agencies, and the Blueprint for Health’s Community Health Teams. The evaluation team also conducted quarterly calls with SASH staff to collect ongoing feedback on implementation of the program.

View the report here:


VHFA Awards Millions In Tax Credits For Affordable Housing:

Posted April 22, 2016

On Monday, April 18, the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) Board of Commissioners committed federal low-income housing tax credits and state affordable housing tax credits that will provide almost $25 million in upfront equity to construct and renovate housing for low-income Vermonters and will increase permanent supportive housing for people who were formerly homeless. The $2.578 million in 10 year federal credits and $400,000 in five year state credits support 356 rental homes in 11 communities across the state.

“This year VHFA recognized the urgent need among our most vulnerable neighbors – the homeless – and we revised the state’s qualified allocation plan (QAP) which governs the allocation of these tax credits to give priority to applications that create permanent supportive housing,” explained Sarah Carpenter, Executive Director of VHFA. “One quarter of the federal housing credits will fund 31 units dedicated to people who were formerly homeless. It is clear that this policy change has been successful in helping to create permanent homes for Vermonters who are homeless,” she continued. “Unfortunately we were not able to fund four projects that could have provided an additional 157 affordable housing units.”

The investments made by VHFA today will add new homes to the market in Burlington, White River Junction, and Montpelier. They will also totally renovate and secure the long-term affordability of existing housing in Rutland, Marshfield, Bennington, Shaftsbury and Arlington. All of the units utilize green building and design standards, and will be highly energy efficient.

In Rutland, the third and final phase of redeveloping the former Forest Park federal public housing complex, now called Hickory Street, will redevelop 22 apartments for low income Vermonters spread over three newly constructed buildings. The project will be developed by the Rutland Housing Authority and Housing Vermont.

On Burlington’s North Avenue, Phase 1 of a large scale project will create 31 apartments for low income Vermonters and five additional market rate units. Champlain Housing Trust, Housing Vermont, and Farrell Real Estate will partner in this effort.

In downtown White River Junction, a building with 16 units for low income Vermonters will be constructed. The mixed-use project called Bridge and Main will also create one market rate rental apartment and ground level commercial rental space. The development was proposed by Bill Bittinger and Associates.

The historic French Block building in downtown Montpelier will be redeveloped to include 14 apartments for low income Vermont renters and 4 market rate apartments. The development is sponsored by a partnership between Downstreet Housing and Community Development and Housing Vermont.

The Hollister Hill project is a complete redevelopment of 16 existing apartments on 6.6 acres near the center of Plainfield although it’s technically in Marshfield. All the units have rental assistance and will be affordable to extremely low income Vermonters according to the owner, Housing Foundation Inc.

Finally, 22 units were funded to redevelop and preserve the affordability of two existing projects in Bennington county. The new project, called Battenkill North, is a scattered site project with units in Bennington, Shaftsbury and Arlington. The project will be developed as a partnership between Shires Housing and Housing Vermont.

At the same meeting VHFA’s Board of Commissioners also awarded the annual amount of Vermont State Housing Tax Credits available for multifamily rental developments. One of those projects, Hickory Street phase three in Rutland, also received federal housing credits described above. The other projects receiving state housing credits were all acquisition/rehabilitation efforts:

· The Briars, 24 units in Wilder by Twin Pines Housing Trust;

· Colonial Village, 21 units in Bradford by Downstreet Housing;

· Applegate, 104 units in Bennington by Housing Vermont;

· South Meadow, 64 units in Burlington by Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont; and

· Sugarwood, 12 units in Middlebury by Green Mountain Development Corp.

In addition to the equity created by the allocation of these housing credits, other funding sources needed for these projects include the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the federal HOME program, Affordable Housing Program, local Housing Trust Funds, NeighborWorks, the Vermont Community Development Program, Efficiency Vermont and Downtown Rehabilitation Tax Credits.

The Vermont Legislature created VHFA in 1974 to finance and promote affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since its inception, the Agency has helped approximately 28,000 Vermont households with affordable mortgages and financed the development of approximately 8,600 affordable, safe and decent rental units.

For a link to this press release, click here.


Gov. Shumlin Highlights Success in Reducing Homelessness and Re-confirms Commitment to End Family Homelessness By 2020

Posted April 21, 2016

Yesterday, Governor Shumlin signed an Executive Order related to Publicly Funded Housing for the Homeless. Below is an excerpt from the official press release that discusses the Order and progress being made to end homelessness in Vermont:

A year after establishing a commitment to end family homelessness in Vermont by 2020, Governor Peter Shumlin today announced a 28 percent decline in homelessness in the last year and issued a new Executive Order to increase access to affordable housing. The Order calls for owners of housing that receive state funds to make available at least 15 percent of their portfolio of housing units to Vermonters experiencing homelessness. By aligning supportive services, rental subsidies, and state investments in affordable housing, the State and private partners are working to ensure a continued focus on assisting vulnerable Vermonters.

“Vermont is a special place, a place where we take care of each other and with this Executive Order we are solidifying, formalizing and building upon the good work that has been done,” said Gov. Shumlin. “This Executive Order is taking a smarter, more cost effective approach to ending Homelessness in Vermont.”

The announcement comes as evidence is growing that the state’s focus to end homelessness is paying off. The recently released Annual Point in Time Count (PIT) Report shows for a second year in a row that the number of homeless Vermonters has declined. The 2016 Report showed an impressive 28% decline in the total number of Vermonters experiencing homelessness compared to the 2015 count.

To continue reading the full press release, click here.

The Executive Order can be found here.


SAVE THE DATE – Vermont Collective Impact Conference – November 2-3, 2016


2016 Vermont Collective Impact Conference
Two-day conference: November 2-3, 2016
Stoweflake Resort & Conference Center, Stowe, Vermont

We are pleased to share the good news that the 2016 Vermont Collective Impact Conference will be held on November 2-3, 2016. This statewide, two-day conference will build on the momentum of the 2015 Collective Impact Conference and will provide opportunities for teams of stakeholders to learn and work together in furthering emerging or existing Collective Impact efforts. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend with existing partners; teams may include community leaders, business leaders, nonprofits, policy makers, government at all levels, funders, advocates and other stakeholders working together to achieve common priorities through Collective Impact.

Rooms will be available for conference participants at the Stoweflake Resort & Conference Center. Stay tuned for more details and registration information – and feel free to forward this news to anyone you know who may be interested in attending. Visit for more information over the coming months.

Conference sponsorship opportunities are available; for more information contact Amy Carmola


Job Opportunity: Director of Housing Programs @ VHCB


Innovative statewide funding agency for affordable housing and land conservation is seeking an experienced team leader to direct our housing programs. This senior level position is responsible for developing policy and programs, evaluating housing applications, supervising housing staff and working closely with Vermont’s network of non-profit housing organizations.

Qualifications: Significant prior experience and training in housing development, financial analysis of housing projects, program management, staff supervision, and a comprehensive understanding of affordable housing issues. Commitment to VHCB’s mission and to the health of the non-profit housing delivery system. Experience in non-profit organizational development important. Strong communication skills; experience in policy development and working with a broad range of agencies and organizations.

This is a full-time job with a comprehensive benefits package. EOE. Please send résumé and letter of interest or by mail to: Laurie Graves, VHCB, 58 East State Street, Montpelier, Vermont 05602. Position open until filled. See the job description at



Vermont State Wood Energy Team Services Announcement

Posted April 18, 2016

The Vermont State Wood Energy Team is a public-private partnership of experts providing outreach and technical assessment services to public schools and affordable housing providers to evaluate installing modern wood heating systems.

  • Offering no-charge initial assessments – Just send us 3 years of heating fuel records and we will provide a “first look” assessment of the savings opportunity.
  • Providing 80% of costs for in-depth “prefeasibility” studies – We will conduct a site visit and a prepare more in depth report detailing the costs, savings, and specific design considerations.

To request these assessment services, please contact Adam Sherman with the Biomass Energy Resource Center at: or (802) 540-7863. For more information, click here.


VCDA 2016 Spring Workshop – May 17th in Waterbury, VT


Save the Date!
Vermont Community Development Association
2016 Spring Conference

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 – 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
New State Office Complex, Waterbury, VT



  • How conditions for organic growth and evolution are created
  • What drives the demand
  • Is the need being met?

Come hear how flexible workplaces are supporting Vermont’s startup economy.

Complete registration packets will follow soon. This will be a limited ticket event so don’t delay in registering. Contact Theresa Bachand at VLCT for more information at (802) 229-9111,


Champlain Housing Trust’s Shared Equity Homeownership Program Featured in Burlington Free Press

Posted April 14, 2016

Champlain Housing Trust‘s shared equity homeownership program is featured in today’s issue of the Burlington Free Press. The program has helped over 1000 families achieve the dream of homeownership since its creation. To read the full article, click here. Below is an excerpt:

Lal Gurung, born in Bhutan, spent 18 years in a refugee camp in Nepal before emigrating to Vermont in January 2011. A little more than three years later, after spending a significant portion of his life living in a plastic tent, he became a homeowner in Burlington’s South End, thanks to an innovative shared equity program from Champlain Housing Trust.

The program, which provides a generous down payment that stays with the house if it is sold, has made homeowners out of more than 1,000 families since it was launched in 1984 by then-mayor of Burlington, Bernie Sanders.

“This was something the Sanders Administration came up with as a way to halt gentrification in the Old North End, and give people a stake in ownership,” said Chris Donnelly, director of community relations for the Champlain Housing Trust. “Burlington became the first city in the country to put public money into creating a community land trust.”

Today, the nonprofit Champlain Housing Trust has an annual operating budget of $10 million, with 80 percent of its income from fees and rents that people pay to live in its housing, or from developing new housing. The other 20 percent of the budget comes from grants and donations.

“Most of it is people paying rent,” Donnelly said. “In our portfolio we have about 2,200 rentals of all shapes and sizes.”

The Trust’s rental housing is kept affordable, with rent and utilities that add up to about 30 percent of the renters’ incomes.

“If you look at all the property we manage, we commit to keeping it affordable forever,” Donnelly said. “We have about $300 million worth of assets.”

Earlier this year, Champlain Housing Trust was one of six organizations honored by the Allstate/Atlantic Media Renewal Awards for “innovative local approaches to pressing issues affecting communities across the country.

To continue reading, click here.


VLIAC Annual Legislative Day – Friday, April 15th at the Vermont State House


VLIAC Annual Legislative Day
Friday, April 15th ~ Vermont State House
Co – Sponsored by the Vermont Conference United Church of Christ

9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Come to the VT Statehouse – Visit Legislative Committees, Listen to Debates in the House and Senate,
Meet with your Legislators,
State Officials, and other Advocates

Coffee and Pastries 9-11 in Back of Cafeteria

House Floor at 9:30 AM for Devotions and Introduction

“ Bag” Lunch in Room 10 at 12:00 PM

Lunch generously provided by the Vermont Conference UCC Department of Mission.

Program During Lunch:

Legislative Updates: FY 2017 Budget

Disabilities & Poverty
Maintaining the Safety-Net
Investing in the Future

Please RSVP Karen if you will be attending AM Coffee and/or LUNCH :


Signing Ceremony – Executive Order on Publicly Funded Housing for the Homeless, April 20th


Governor Shumlin, Secretary Cohen of the Agency of Human Services and Commissioner MacKay of the Department of Housing and Community Development invited you to join them and other colleagues and friends for a signing ceremony of an Executive Order related to Publicly Funded Housing for the Homeless. This EO will implement one of recommendations from the Governor’s Council on Pathways from Poverty by providing another tool to meet the State’s goal of ending family homelessness by 2020 and all other homeless thereafter.

Date: Wednesday, April 20th
Time: 2-2:30pm
Place: Beacon Apartments, 1200 Shelburne Road

The Order will help ensure a continued focus on assisting our most vulnerable Vermonters by encouraging strong partnerships between State Agencies, service providers and housing owners.

Please join us for this opportunity to celebrate the progress that has been made in Vermont towards the goal of ending homelessness and underscore the continued commitment to ensuring that every Vermonter has a safe, stable place to call home.

Please RSVP to and if you have any questions, please contact Commissioner MacKay at 828.5216.


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