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HOP 2017 Summary of Awards Released

Posted July 27, 2016

The summary of Housing Opportunity Program 2017 awards is now available on the Office of Economic Opportunity’s website:

The detailed summary includes a listing of all grantees & award amounts, a description of services provided, a chart showing how funds were allocated across the different strategies, and performance measurement standards. The Office of Economic Opportunity awarded over $5.9 million to 39 different agencies for State Fiscal Year 2017. This is an increase of more than $1.2 million over last year, due to investments of General Assistance (GA) funds from the Economic Services Division to create new community-based alternatives that decrease reliance on GA motels.

The Housing Opportunity Grant Program provides funding to operate emergency overnight and day shelter; provide essential services to shelter guests; provide transitional housing where appropriate; rapidly re-house homeless individuals and families; prevent individuals and families experiencing a housing crisis from becoming homeless; implement coordinated entry to streamline client access to resources; and administer the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).  The Housing Opportunity Grant Program operates within the Opening Doors, Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness and the Vermont Plan to End Homelessness.  The primary goals of the Housing Opportunity Grant Program are to

  • Decrease the number of individuals and families experiencing homelessness;
  • Shorten the length of time people experience homelessness;
  • Reduce the number of individuals and families returning to homelessness; and
  • Prevent people from becoming homeless.

Congratulations to each of these organizations on the amazing work they do each day to prevent and end homelessness!


Advanced Tax Credit Compliance & Income and Assets Training – August 24th & 25th in West Lebanon, NH

Posted July 26, 2016

Vermont Housing Managers Association (VHMA) and Granite State Managers Association (GSMA) are pleased to offer the following trainings with A. J. Johnson.

Advanced Tax Credit Compliance (view agenda)
When: Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Where: Fireside Inn & Suites, 25 Airport Road, West Lebanon, NH
Time: 8:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
(Registration will begin at 8:00 a.m.)

Income and Assets (view agenda)
When: Thursday, August 25, 2016
Where: Fireside Inn & Suites, 25 Airport Road, West Lebanon, NH
Time: 8:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
(Registration will begin at 8:00 a.m.)

The Advanced Tax Credit Compliance training will meet the annual 6 hour training requirement!

Registration Costs:
Both Trainings = $275 per person for VHMA / GSMA members
$375 per person for non-members
Advanced Credit Compliance only = $200 per person for VHMA/ GSMA members
$300 per person for non-members
Income and Assets only = $150 per person for VHMA/GSMA members
$250 per person for non-members
Lunch is included in the registration fees.

Registration Deadline: August 10, 2016. Click here for more details and the registration form.

Please note that no refunds will be granted after August 10, 2016.

If you wish to stay at the Fireside Inn, please call them directly, 1-877-258-5900, and advise them that you are attending training at the hotel and they will give you a reduced room rate.

If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact Heidi Setien at


Asset Management Training Opportunity – September 22nd in Randolph, VT


A training for non-profit housing developers sponsored by VHCB Presented by Robert M. Santucci, Senior Consultant, Urban Renovation Consultants, Inc. Thursday, September 22, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Langevin House, Vermont Technical College, 599 Furnace Rd., Randolph

As many as 50% of nonprofit housing portfolios have serious asset management indicator shortfalls. Come to this training to learn how to assess your situation, make future projections, evaluate alternatives, and make strategic mid- and long-term plans for your real estate portfolio.

Session Objectives:
• Introduce the Asset Management Toolkit
• Recommend asset management plans
• Encourage rapid risk ranking
• Identify benchmarks and trends
• Offer one simple and one professional CNA planning

Audience: Owners, property managers, asset managers and funders of residential portfolios

Topics Learned: Asset management policy options; asset versus property management, benchmarking and risk analysis, CNAs

Toolkit: Extensive Excel spreadsheet to capture and project capital needs reserves, benchmarking templates; risk ranking templates; asset management plan format; asset management examples. Tools will be provided on a flashdrive along with a copy of Bob Santucci’s book, Asset Management Handbook for Real Estate Portfolios.

Register by Thursday, September 2: To register, please compete the attached form and send along with your payment to: Laurie Graves, VHCB, 58 E. State Street, Montpelier, VT 05602. Lunch is included. Questions? Require accessibility or dietary accommodations? email


Fourth Annual White River Junction VA Medical Center Community Mental Health Summit – September 14th

Posted July 21, 2016

Date: September 14, 2016
Time: 9am-1pm
Location: White River Junction VA Medical Center – Bldg. 44, Room 103

This year’s Summit will include two plenary sessions; 1) access to mental health care for Veterans and their family members and 2) Suicide Prevention. Sign-in and networking will take place from 9-9:30am, with opening speakers beginning at 9:30am.

Please email this form to to register. Please note that lunch will not be provided, but you are welcome to bring a bag lunch.


Brattleboro Housing Authority Receives Federal Funding to Help People Be More Independent


The Brattleboro Reformer reports that the Brattleboro Housing Authority was one of three Vermont housing authorities to receive grants through the HUD Family Self-Sufficiency Program. These grants allow residents to receive assistance in achieving goals that lead to self-sufficiency. Below is an excerpt from the article:

A federal program is aiming to make a difference by propelling people towards a better future.

The Brattleboro Housing Authority was one of three housing authorities in Vermont to receive grants through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program. Residents in public housing and Section 8 programming are eligible to receive assistance in finding jobs or returning to school in order to reach certain goals.

“It’s really oriented around work and getting the tools necessary to get work in the field that they’re interested in,” said BHA Executive Director Christine Hart. “One of the most important parts of the program is that in public housing and Section 8, when your income goes up, your rents goes up. So there’s an unfortunate built-in disincentive to work because your rent goes up.”

Through the program, that increase in rent instead goes into an escrow account until the participant reaches their goals. Then they have access to the money.

According to Hart, the BHA has a minimum of 75 participants in the program at any given time. So far, three families have left the program and purchased homes with the money they had saved.

“Right now, we have residents that have escrow balances from a low of $9 — so somebody who just started — to $10,000,” said Hart. “And we have five current participants with balances over $1,000.”

So it’s no wonder why Hart says her organization is “very pleased to be refunded” for the fifth year in a row. The grants are awarded on an annual basis.

“I think that speaks well of our program and that should be an incentive for people to apply,” said Hart. “It can be a huge help to a family or anybody.”

To continue reading the article, click here.


Affordable Housing Complex In Lyndonville Gets a Makeover

Posted July 18, 2016

WCAX reports on the redevelopment of Darling Inn in Lyndonville, VT:

Lyndonville’s Darling Inn officially reopened Saturday after a year long project aimed to improve the historic building.

Willie Mitchem lives at the Darling Inn in Lyndonville, an affordable apartment complex that he says stands out from places he’s lived before.

“The staff loves me. I go over there, pay my rent, and they say, ‘thank you Mr. Mitchem.’ I say, ‘You’re welcome ladies!’ I’m a flirt,” said resident Willie Mitchem.

But he says the building needed a few upgrades. On Saturday, officials and residents celebrated the reopening of the Darling Inn after a year long redevelopment project.

“It’s beautiful. My bedroom’s big. My living room’s medium. My kitchen: I love it. The cupboards are down where I can reach them. Excellent,” Mitchem said.

The Inn was originally built in the 1920s as a hotel, but it now consists of 28 affordable housing units for elderly and disabled citizens. Officials say they hoped to both improve and restore the historic building.

The total project cost more than $5 million and was funded with help from 1.3 million dollar loan from USDA Rural Development. The changes included making the building more energy efficient, and making apartments more accessible.

“Roll in showers and grab bars. Improving the kitchens, making sure that they’re very accessible, and then in terms of the heating system, we upgraded the old oil system to a wood pellet furnace,” said Trisha Ingalls, RuralEdge CEO.

To continue reading the article, click here.


Senate Passes, Obama To Sign Key Housing Reforms Backed By Leahy


WASHINGTON (FRIDAY, July 15, 2016) – Before leaving for the summer recess, the U.S. Senate Thursday night approved legislation championed by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy (D) to make needed and long overdue reforms to several federal housing programs. The Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

The Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act was approved unanimously by the House of Representatives in February, and the bill cleared the Senate Thursday night without opposition. Leahy is a cosponsor of the Senate version of the bill. In May he wrote to the leaders of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, urging them to lead the committee’s consideration of this legislation and to advance it to the full Senate for a vote.

Leahy, a longtime champion of affordable housing, said: “It is not often that such significant legislation receives such overwhelming support in Congress. After having heard from affordable housing advocates from throughout Vermont and New England, I was proud to cosponsor the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act.”

Leahy continued, “There is no doubt of the impact that federal rental assistance programs have in rural states like ours, and these are commonsense reforms to key housing programs that Congress has not reassessed in nearly two decades. Increasing opportunities for extremely low-income families and families experiencing hardship should be a priority in every community, and at every level of government. I am encouraged to see this level of support for affordable housing initiatives and hardworking advocates throughout our country, and I am pleased this legislation will be signed into law.”

The new law will make several reforms to Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs, and particularly to the Housing Choice Voucher program, also known as Section 8. The legislation addresses many priorities of the nation’s affordable housing community, including a more streamlined system for administering federally assisted housing programs. These steps will cut costs and allow providers to meet the needs of a more low-income families seeking assistance. The law will also allow housing agencies to use project-based vouchers for individuals and families who may be homeless, encouraging greater income growth and economic mobility among assisted families. The law also will support communities that seek to make needed repairs to aging public housing stock to improve the quality of life for current and future residents.

Erhard Mahnke, coordinator of the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that the Senate has overcome partisan differences to pass this common sense bill.” He added: “These reforms provide Vermont new tools to reduce homelessness, preserve affordable housing, and increase self-sufficiency for low-income Vermonters. Our deepest thanks go to Senator Leahy for his leadership in helping to make this happen!”

The bill now set to become law was strongly supported by the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition and the Vermont State Housing Authority. It is also endorsed by a broad coalition of national organizations, including the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Housing Assistance Council, the National Council of State Housing Agencies, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Organizations, the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association, and the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights also strongly supports the legislation, as does the National Association of Realtors.

For a link to this press release, click here.