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Artists and Activists Discuss Affordable Housing in Southern Vermont

Posted October 25, 2016

Affordable housing is one of several social justice issues addressed next month at Voices of Community: Art, Food, Shelter, Justice, a gathering of artists and activists in southern Vermont. 

 

Washington D.C.-based artists Anu Yadav performs her one-woman show, ‘Capers (November 17-18, Next Stage Arts), which is based on the stories of of families at DC’s Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg public housing projects who protested the government-funded demolition of their neighborhood.

 

Yadav will also sit down with Groundworks Collaborative executive director Joshua Davis for a free, lunchtime conversation about the issue of affordable housing (November 14, 118 Elliot) and conduct a workshop about using theater-based strategies to support community organizing. (November 15, Next Stage Arts). 

 

Information about the entire festival is available at www.voicesofcommunity.org

 



HUD Expands Housing Protections for Victims of Violence

Posted

Today, HUD released key protections that are part of a larger effort to safeguard those living in fear in their homes. In an address to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in Arizona, Sec. Julian Castro stated: “Nobody should have to choose between an unsafe home and no home at all. Today we take a necessary step toward ensuring domestic violence survivors are protected from being twice victimized when it comes to finding and keeping a home they can feel safe in.”

The new protections emphasize four key areas where new protections for victims of domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking to help aid them from being, as Sec. Castro said, twice victimized through a loss of safe housing. The rule supports the continuation of core protections, “ensuring survivors are not denied assistance as an applicant, or evicted or have assistance terminated due to having been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, or for being affiliated with a victim.” It also supports VAWA-mandated emergency transfers. The HUD model

  • allows a survivor to self-certify their need for an emergency transfer, ensuring documentation is not a barrier to protecting their immediate safety;
  • allows the survivor to determine what is a safe unit for purposes of the transfer, ensuring that the survivor has control over their own safety planning;
  • requires housing providers to allow for a resident to move immediately if there is another safe and available unit that does not require the survivor to undergo an application process as a new tenant, ensuring quicker access to safe housing;
  • requires housing providers to explain the efforts they will take when there is not a safe and available unit available for an emergency transfer and encourages housing provides to partner with victim services and advocates t and other housing providers to assist a survivor;
  • and requires housing providers to document requests for emergency transfers, including the outcome of the request, and to report annually to HUD.

The rule also provides greater protections against the impacts of abuse, such as damage to their credit and/or eviction history, pressuring them to commit illegal acts resulting in a criminal record, or other harms that may otherwise hurt a victim’s ability to attain housing in the future. This rule “ensures that covered housing providers do not deny tenancy or occupancy rights based solely on these adverse factors that are a direct result of being a survivor.” Finally, the rule ensure a low barrier for these protections, necessitating that people merely self-certify in order to be eligible.

You can find the HUD press release here, and you can read the full final rule here.

 



Vermont’s First Net Zero Energy, Affordable Housing Development Opens

Posted

Affordable Housing Coalition member Cathedral Square has completed a new project in Waltham that provides affordable housing that is good for the environment at the same time.

Development partners Cathedral Square Corporation and Addison County Community Trust (ACCT) joined forces to re-develop a formerly unoccupied, blighted mobile home park located in Waltham bordering Vergennes, into a vibrant new rental community. The new development, ‘McKnight Lane,’ was named to honor Terry McKnight, ACCT’s former Executive Director who died unexpectedly in November 2014, who had wanted for years to transform this mobile home park.

The new development features fourteen net zero energy homes configured into seven duplexes and available for households with incomes at or below 50% and 60% of Area Median Income. At a time when the vacancy rate in the region is less than 1%, new high quality affordable homes are a rare opportunity for many low income Addison County households.

You can read Cathedral Square’s press release about the new development here, and read about the impact that these new units will have in Addison County here.

 



Registration Deadline for Vermont State Housing Conference Extended

Posted

The registration deadline for the Vermont State Housing Conference has been extended from October 28th to November 4th. The conference will be held at the Hilton Burlington and will begin on Monday, November 14 at 12:30pm and feature two thought-provoking sessions on the outcomes of both creative housing partnerships and creating funding. Since making new connections and renewing existing ones are critical to putting ideas into practice, there will also be networking breaks and a late afternoon reception overlooking beautiful Lake Champlain.

Tuesday, November 15, will provide a full day of learning and collaborating. The morning will begin with a series of “in the round” sessions ranging in topics from analysis on how state and federal election results will impact housing policy to how we should address housing and affordability problems moving forward. In the afternoon, sessions will go more in depth into specific issues surrounding the connection between housing and healthcare, lending to first-time home buyers, the National Housing Trust Fund, and more. Workshops are filling up fast, so if there are any sessions that you are extremely interested in, be sure to sign up soon!

During lunch, this year’s Innovation and Impact Housing Hero will be announced. In the afternoon, we will head into workshops on the latest pressing issues for housing policy, finance, development and planning.

You can not afford to miss this productive, innovative conference, so why not register today?

 



NLIHC Releases “Housing Spotlight: The Long Wait for a Home”

Posted October 18, 2016

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has released a new report entitled “Housing Spotlight: The Long Wait for a Home,” in which they detail the extent to which Housing Choice Voucher lists are closed around the country, causing people to have to wait years to access affordable housing. According to NLIHC:

HCV waiting lists had a median wait time of 1.5 years for housing assistance. Twenty-five percent had a wait of at least 3 years. Twenty-five percent of the largest PHAs (5,000+ vouchers and public housing units combined) with HCV waiting lists had a wait time of at least 7 years. The average HCV waiting list consisted of 2,013 households. Public Housing waiting lists had a median wait time of 9 months. Twenty-five percent of them had a wait time of at least 1.5 years. Public Housing waiting lists had an average size of 834 households.

This report analyzes data from 300 public housing authorities across the country, ranging in size, location, and metropolitan status. It is essential that we expand our housing stock around the country and give people in both urban and rural areas greater access to affordable housing. You can download the full report here.

 

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HUD “Huddle” With Grantees

Posted

As part of the Multifamily for Tomorrow Transformation, HUD’s Boston Satellite Office and the Northeast Region now have designated Grants Specialists overseeing their grant programs. In order to get acquainted with you and address your questions, HUD is inviting program participants in the New England states to their Huddle with Grantees.  The Huddle is designed for clients working with Resident Services Coordinator [RSC], Congregate Housing Services Program [CHSP], or Assisted Living Conversion Program [ALCP] grants, or for clients that have budget-funded RSCs.

Note that Resident Services Coordinators in Public Housing have somewhat different program guidance, which will not be adressed at this training.  Applicants for the Social Services Demonstration grants are welcome to attend.  In addition to meeting the Grant Specialists and field leadership in HUD, staff will provide guidance on important grant related topics to make your work with RSCs easier, such current vouchering requirements, LOCCS access, how to increase RSC hours and funding, and report preparation.  The training will conclude with a question and answer session.

The Huddle will take place on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 from 10 AM- 12 noon at the Thomas P. O’Neill Jr., Federal Building Auditorium, 10 Causeway Street, 1st floor, Boston, MA.

To register for in person attendance, in the Boston office, please send an email including your name, contact information, company, and the name of the HUD project(s) you service, and any grant-related questions you would like answered, and/or topics you’d like covered, to bos.grants@hud.gov, and Michael.O.Patterson@hud.gov.  Space is limited, so please reserve your place as soon as possible. 

 

 



Obama Administration Releases Housing Development Toolkit

Posted

The White House recently released a Housing Development Toolkit, available here, which details actions that state and local jurisdictions can take to promote housing development. The toolkit argues that restrictive zoning contributes to higher rents, exacerbates wealth inequality, and slows down economic growth. The white paper encourages:

  • Establishing by-right development that reduces a developer’s need to seek zoning variances or other approvals which add to the length of time needed to complete a project
  • Taxing vacant land to encourage development or finding ways to donate it to non-profit developers
  • Streamlining or shortening permit processes
  • Eliminating parking requirements
  • Enacting high-density and multifamily zoning
  • Allowing accessory dwelling units
  • Establishing density bonuses
  • Employing inclusionary zoning
  • Establishing tax incentives for development of affordable housing

The toolkit has received bipartisan praise from both liberal and conservative economists.

 



Quechee’s Affordable Housing Complex Helps Its Residents Grow

Posted

This is an inspiring story about a resident formerly of Upper Valley haven, a VAHC resident, who is now thriving because of the affordable housing available through Twin Pines Housing Trust.

Before Samantha Sharkey moved into Quechee Pines, an affordable housing project managed by the Twin Pines Housing Trust that was reopened last month, life was a lot harder for the 30-year-old single mother of two boys.

In 2004, she graduated high school and, eager to improve herself, took out a loan to enroll at the New England School of Hair Design in West Lebanon.

“I was leaving Rutland at 7:30 a.m. I would get to school for 8:30 a.m. It started at 9 a.m.,” she said. “I would get to work at 4 p.m. at Dominos, work until sometimes 1:30 in the morning, drive all the way back to Rutland, sleep for a few hours until 6:30 a.m., and then drive back and do the same thing. Over and over.”

By 2012 — after eight years of floating from apartment to apartment and working long hours at a variety of low-paying service-sector jobs, a split from her husband left her homeless.

Continue reading here.

 



Save the Date – Joint Committee on Tax Credits

Posted

The Joint Committee on Tax Credits will meet to discuss proposed changes to the 2017 and 2018 Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) at two public hearings on:

Monday, November 7, 2016, to begin at 9:00am

and

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 to begin at 1:00pm

Both meetings will be held at the Vermont Realtors Association, 148 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05602. Additional information will be sent out before each hearing.

Please feel free to contact Joe Erdelyi (jerdelyi@vhfa.org or 802-652-3432) with any questions or comments.

 



Register Today for the Vermont State Housing Conference

Posted

The Vermont State Housing Conference will be held at the Hilton Burlington and will begin on Monday, November 14 at 12:30pm and feature two thought-provoking sessions on the outcomes of both creative housing partnerships and creating funding. Since making new connections and renewing existing ones are critical to putting ideas into practice, there will also be networking breaks and a late afternoon reception overlooking beautiful Lake Champlain.

Tuesday, November 15, will provide a full day of learning and collaborating, starting with a legislative breakfast reception and and the announcement of the Legislative Housing Hero. Representatives from USDA Rural Development, the National Housing Conference, and Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition will offer a workshop on Federal policy that outlines what the November elections will mean for housing, homelessness, and community development. Later, there will be a workshop offered on the National Housing Trust Fund and what the first new federal program for affordable housing in over 25 years will mean for Vermont’s efforts to preserve housing and create new affordable units across the state.

During lunch, this year’s Innovation and Impact  Housing Hero will be announced. In the afternoon, we will head into workshops on the latest pressing issues for housing policy, finance, development and planning.

You can not afford to miss this productive, innovative conference, so why not register today?

 



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