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VHCB Will Use $35 Million in Bond Funds to Address Vermont’s Housing Shortage

Posted June 28, 2017

Our friends at VHCB have asked us to pass along the good news on the new $35 million housing bond, which became law yesterday when Governor Scott signed the FY 18 Appropriations Act. This measure will have a tremendous impact on making safe, affordable housing available to low- and middle-income Vermonters. We are excited to work with all of our community partners as the process to develop new affordable homes moves forward. Many thanks to everyone who helped make this happen, from the Governor and his team, to the Speaker, Pro Tem and numerous key lawmakers, VHCB, VHFA, and all our community partners who helped advocate.

——————————–

PRESS RELEASE
June 28, 2017
Contact: Gus Seelig, Executive Director, 828-3251, gus@vhcb.org
Jen Hollar, Director of Policy and Special Projects: cell: 793-7346; Jennifer@vhcb.org

The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board will use $35 million in new funding for the creation of rental housing and home ownership opportunities for 550-650 low- and moderate-income Vermonters over the next two to three years. The bold, new initiative represents the largest state investment in housing in more than a decade.  It was first proposed by Governor Phil Scott in his January budget address, gained strong support in the legislature, and was signed into law today.

Governor Scott said, “When workers are unable to find adequate, affordable housing, economic growth is constrained. Vermont has a very low rate of rental vacancy and we need to increase access to homeownership. This effort will ratchet up the production of new housing to serve households at a wide range of incomes, spur economic growth, create jobs, and have a significant impact on Vermont’s supply of housing.”

Tim Ashe, President Pro Tempore of the Vermont Senate, said, “I’ve seen the housing shortage up close. In my time at Cathedral Square, we’d fill up new buildings within hours. Literally. So when I met with Governor Scott in November and we both expressed a strong interest in seeing more housing supply, I knew it was a matter of how we’d do it, not if we’d do it. I want to thank Senators Mullin, Sirotkin, Balint, Baruth, and Clarkson and Representative Head and her team for their hard work to see it to the finish line.”

Helen Head, Chair of the Vermont House General, Housing and Military Affairs Committee, said, “Vermont’s housing crunch has been well-documented. According to a study commissioned by the legislature last summer, we can reduce homelessness dramatically with a targeted approach, creating more housing with support services along with housing for the lowest income households. Middle income households also struggle to find housing. This housing initiative will address the needs of a wide range of Vermonters and we’re proud to support it.”

Gus Seelig, Executive Director of VHCB, said, “We appreciate the support of the Governor and the Legislative Leadership in advancing this exciting initiative.  The first 100 homes should be under construction across the state before the end of the year.”

The bond funds will be matched with state, federal, and private sources to leverage approximately $2-$3 for every one dollar of bond funds, resulting in $70-100 million in additional resources for housing development. Spending on affordable housing yields multiple benefits across the economy. The $35 million housing bond will also act as a stimulus package, generating millions of dollars of economic activity through the creation of jobs and the purchase of goods. At least 25% of the housing will be targeted to households with incomes below $35,000 and another 25% will be targeted to middle-income Vermonters earning $55,000-$83,000 annually (for 4-person households). The balance of the funds will be awarded to projects based on community needs, applications received and the availability of resources for leverage.

“Every night, our shelter, just like shelters across the state, is full of people who need and deserve a home,” said Sara Kobylenski, Executive Director of the Upper Valley Haven, based in White River Junction. “We have allowed ourselves to slide into an alarming housing deficit, and the most vulnerable people in our communities are suffering for it. The housing bond is a timely investment that will improve the lives of many Vermonters.”

“Housing construction is critical piece of our economic engine, and this proposal promises to create hundreds of good paying jobs. It’s also vital to employers who say time and time again how hard it is for their employees or prospective employees to find adequate, affordable housing,” said Tom Torti, President and CEO of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce and board member of the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS).

In collaboration with the Department of Housing and Community Development, VHCB is gathering input on the highest priority housing needs and potential projects in regional meetings across the state. VHCB will be accepting applications and funding developments for the construction and rehabilitation of rental housing and single-family homes with an emphasis on creating new homes.

The revenue bond will be issued by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency. It is expected to yield $33-34 million in proceeds and will be paid by a $2.5 million in annual revenue from the property transfer tax over 20 years, through 2039.

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Sources: The Vermont Futures Project of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, January 2017; Roadmap to End Homelessness, The Corporation for Supportive Housing, December 2016; Vermont’s Statewide Housing Needs Assessment by Bowen National Research, 2014
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VHCB makes loans and grants for the creation of affordable housing and the conservation of agricultural and recreational lands, forest land, natural areas and historic properties. www.vhcb.org

Read this synopsis of the Housing Revenue Bond Initiative.

Read more about the Governor’s budget and the housing bond from the Burlington Free Press.

 



REMINDER: Homelessness Awareness Day & Memorial Vigil – Tomorrow, State House

Posted January 4, 2017

REMINDER
HOMELESSNESS AWARENESS DAY & MEMORIAL VIGIL
THURSDAY, JANUARY 5
STATE HOUSE, MONTPELIER

 

Every year in January concerned citizens and housing and homeless service providers from across Vermont gather at the State House in Montpelier for a day to engage their representatives and senators and to renew the commitment to end homelessness in our state. This year, the annual Homelessness Awareness Day and Memorial Vigil will take place on Thursday, January 5th, 2017. Please join us!

AGENDA

  • **NEW**Coffee & muffins, Cafeteria: 7:30 – 9:00 AM
  • Legislative Awareness Day, Card Room: 7:30 AM-2 PM
  • Reading of Legislative Resolution and Recognition of Homeless Service Providers and Advocates, House Gallery: 9:30 AM
  • Memorial Vigil, State House Steps: Noon

The day will kick off early at 7:30am with coffee and muffins in the Cafeteria. This will be a great time to meet with your representatives and senators to discuss the good work you and your organization are doing.  To make your time at the state house most effective, please be sure to reach out to lawmakers prior to the event to ask them to meet with you.

People will be present in the Card Room all morning and into the afternoon to educate lawmakers about the work being done around the state, about which strategies are working, and what still needs to be done to help end homelessness in Vermont.

At 9:30am, please be in the House Gallery to hear the reading of a resolution recognizing those experiencing homelessness and the work being done by homeless service providers and advocates.

At Noon community members, elected officials, and advocates will take to the State House steps for the annual Memorial Vigil to remember our friends and neighbors who have died without homes, and to bring awareness of the struggles of those still searching for safe, affordable and secure housing.

Please note that it is also Governor-elect Scott’s inauguration day, and so it would be best to arrive in Montpelier as early as possible to account for the special security measures at the State House that day.

For more information, contact MaryEllen Mendl at maryellen@unitedwaysvt.org, or Erhard Mahnke at erhardm@vtaffordablehousing.  Click here for the event flyer.

We hope to see you tomorrow!

Erhard Mahnke, Coordinator
——————————————–
Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition
802-660-9484 (wk) | 802-233-2902 (cell)
erhardm@vtaffordablehousing.org
www.vtaffordablehousing.org

 

vtha17

 



Homelessness Awareness Day and Memorial Vigil – January 5th, State House

Posted December 28, 2016

Every year in January concerned citizens and housing and homeless service providers from across Vermont gather at the State House in Montpelier for a day to engage their representatives and to renew the commitment to end homelessness in our state. This year, the annual Homelessness Awareness Day and Memorial Vigil will take place on Thursday, January 5th, 2017. Please join us!

Agenda

  • Legislative Awareness Day, Card Room: 7:30 AM-2 PM
  • Reading of Legislative Resolution and Recognition of Homeless Service Providers and Advocates, House Gallery: 9:30 AM
  • Memorial Vigil, State House Steps: Noon

The day will kick off early at 7:30am in the Card Room. People will be present all morning and into the afternoon to educate lawmakers about the work being done around the state, about which strategies are working, and what still needs to be done to help end homelessness in Vermont. Please use this time to meet with legislators and discuss the good work you and your organization are doing in your region. To make your time at the state house most effective, please be sure to reach out to lawmakers prior to the event to ask them to meet with you.

At 9:30pm be in the House Gallery to hear the reading of a resolution recognizing those experiencing homelessness and the work being done by homeless service providers and advocates.

At Noon community members, elected officials, and advocates will take to the State House steps for the annual Memorial Vigil to remember our friends and neighbors who have died without homes, and to bring awareness of the struggles of those still searching for safe, affordable and secure housing.

Please circulate our flyer to your networks to help raise awareness about the day and increase turnout. Please note that it is also Governor-elect Scott’s inauguration day, and so it would be best to arrive in Montpelier as early as possible to account for the special security measures at the State House that day. We hope to see you there!

For more information, contact MaryEllen Mendl at maryellen@unitedwaysvt.org, or Erhard Mahnke at erhardm@vtaffordablehousing.

 vtha17

 



REGISTER NOW: New England Housing Network Federal Policy Forum – 12/16

Posted November 17, 2016


New England Housing Network
Federal Forum 

 

Friday, December 16
9 AM – Noon

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
600 Atlantic Avenue

 

We have been advised that space is limited and filling quickly for next month’s Federal Forum, sponsored by the New England Housing Network. Click below to register.

Registration closes December 12 or when filled. Note pre-registration and photo ID at the door are required due to security measures at the Federal Reserve. Forum fee is $35.

REGISTER HERE


JOIN US!
Friday, December 16, 2016

9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
(Breakfast & registration begins at 9:00 AM)
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 600 Atlantic Avenue, Boston

RESERVE YOUR SPOT BY MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2016. 
Please note that you must register and bring a photo ID due to security measures at the Federal Reserve.
FORUM FEE: $35
MORE INFO


What will the Trump Administration and Congress do about the unmet need for affordable housing in our country?  At this forum, we’ll hear from national experts about what they predict will happen, and we’ll hear reactions from New England speakers about what the impact will be on our states.  We’ll also consider what we can do proactively to encourage a robust federal affordable housing agenda as we begin 2017.

National Speakers:

  • Chris Estes, President and CEO, National Housing Conference
  • Benson “Buzz” Roberts, President and CEO, National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders
  • Barbara Sard, Vice President for Housing Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Diane Yentel, President and CEO, National Low Income Housing Coalition

New England Speakers:

  • CT – Florence Villano, Executive Director, Connecticut Housing Coalition
  • MA – Chrystal Kornegay, Undersecretary, Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development
  • ME – Bill Shanahan, Executive Director, Northern New England Housing Investment Fund
  • NH – Ben Frost, Director of Legal and Public Affairs, New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority
  • RI – Barbara Fields, Executive Director, Rhode Island Housing
  • VT – Gus Seelig, Executive Director, Vermont Housing & Conservation Board

New England Housing Network Lead Agencies:
CT   Connecticut Housing Coalition
MA   Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association
ME   Maine Affordable Housing Coalition
NH   Housing Action New Hampshire
RI   Housing Action Coalition of Rhode Island
VT   Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS


Thank you to our generous event sponsors!


doc2


For more information, contact CHAPA at 617-742-0820.


 

 



Save the Date – NLIHC Forum to Address Affordable Housing Landscape Post-Election

Posted November 10, 2016

NLIHC’s 2017 Housing Policy Forum in Washington, DC, April 2-4, 2017 will convene thought-leaders, policy experts, researchers, affordable housing practitioners, low income residents, and leaders from Capitol Hill and the new Administration to discuss the post-election landscape for affordable housing in America. The Forum will explore emerging challenges and opportunities given the leadership changes in Washington and the best strategies for achieving positive affordable housing policy solutions. For more information, go to www.nlihcforum.org, or call NLIHC at (202) 662-1530, or e-mail outreach@nlihc.org.

 



Survey: Roadmap for Ending Homelessness

Posted August 23, 2016

As you may know, a steering committee comprising housing and service providers, state agencies and funding organizations is overseeing an effort to accelerate our mutual  work to reduce homelessness and stabilize vulnerable populations.  The specific purpose is to build on existing efforts by developing a system for facilitating service-connected affordable housing options, building local capacity, determining costs and identifying available and needed resources.

The Committee has engaged the Corporation for Supportive Housing, which has assisted cities and states across the country with similar projects.  CSH is currently gathering information through interviews, facilitated meetings and an online survey as part of its assessment of current efforts and challenges encountered by experts in the field.  The feedback it receives will greatly inform its recommended “roadmap” for ending homelessness.

As Co-Chairs of the Roadmap Steering Committee, we hope you will take the time to complete this survey and share it with your colleagues and networks. We are especially interested in getting input from tenants, program participants and Vermonters with lived experience of homelessness. The survey will remain open until August 29th.

Your responses will be confidential and aggregated by staff at CSH.

Angus Chaney
Director of Housing
Vermont Agency of Human Services

Jen Hollar
Director of Policy
Vermont Housing and Conservation Board

PS – It’s hard to see from the front of the survey, but CSH has wired it in the background such that if you check the radio button for tenant/consumer/lived experience it jumps you ahead to questions that are more relevant for — and accessible to — non-practitioners. It’s set up that in most cases lay people should be able to complete it themselves if they have some familiarity and access to computers.

 



Action to End Homelessness in Washington County Launches Campaign

Posted May 20, 2016

Congratulations to VIA of Central Vermont, which kicked off a “Housing First” campaign to end homelessness in Washington County by 2020. Their Action on April 26 featured commitments from seven housing and mental health advocates to join forces with the faith communities in Montpelier and Barre to obtain the necessary resources and support staff to provide housing for those who are currently homeless.

The Times Argus ran a story on their front page about the Action, which you can see here. A video of the 80-minute event can also be seen on ORCA media.

Pathways to Housing is the lead organization in Vermont that urges a housing first model, which focuses on providing housing for those in need before attempting any other services, and then combines that housing with supportive treatment in the areas of mental and physical health, substance abuse, education, and employment.

VIA will sponsor a workshop, “Housing 101”, to prepare those interested in participating in an organizing campaign. The workshop features a presentation by Hilary Melton, Executive Director of Pathways VT, about the Housing First model, as well as trainings by VIA leaders on Building People Power, Growing Relationships through Intentional Conversations, Continuing the Conversation on Social Media and Sharing and Collecting Stories. They will end the workshop with break-out sessions to brainstorm strategies in bringing this vision to reality. Click here to reserve your space!

Day and Time: Saturday, June 4th, 2016, from 9 am to 12 noon. Address: Old Labor Hall, 46 Granite St. Barre, VT 05641. For questions, contact (802) 651-8889 or melissa@viavt.org.

 



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!

 



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

 



REMINDER: Homelessness Awareness Day & Voices 4 VT Kids conference – Thurs, Jan 7

Posted January 5, 2016


Annual Homelessness Awareness Day & Memorial Vigil
Thursday, January 7th
8am – 4:30pm
State House, Montpelier

 

Every year in January concerned citizens and homeless service providers from across Vermont gather at the State House in Montpelier for a day to engage their representatives and to renew their commitment to end homelessness in our state. Please join us this Thursday!

Plans for the day are shaping up.  The day will kick off early at 8:00am in the Card Room. People will be present there all day from 8 – 3:30pm to share information, connect with their representatives, see the work being done around the state, and to be a part of the conversation on which strategies are working in reducing homelessness and which ones still need work.

Please make every effort to contact your Representatives and Senators in advance to let them know you would like to meet with them.  You can find their names and contact information here: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/all/2016.

From 10:30 – 12, the House Committees on Housing, General and Military Affairs and Human Services will hold a joint hearing on homelessness in Room 11.  Thanks to Coalition partner, Voices for Vermont’s Children, Representatives will hear testimony from nationally recognized pediatrician Dr. Megan Sandel, who has done path-breaking work on the effects of housing insecurity and homelessness on children.  They will also hear from Vermont homeless service providers and domestic violence advocates on the latest trends and recommended solutions.

At Noon community members, legislative leaders, administration officials, and advocates will take to the State House steps for a Vigil to remember our friends and neighbors who have died without homes, and to bring awareness of the struggles of those still searching for safe and secure housing.

***We are honored to have Senator Patrick Leahy join us for the Vigil!***

At 3:30pm, please convene in the House Gallery to hear the reading of a resolution declaring January 7 as Homelessness Awareness Day and recognize those experiencing homelessness and the work being done by homeless service providers and advocates.

The House General Committee will reconvene afterwards (approx. 4:15pm) to hear from advocates who may not have had a chance to testify in the morning.

Please click here for a downloadable flyer to print and distribute. Thank you all for your continued commitment to helping to end homelessness in Vermont. We look forward to seeing many of you on the 7th!

 



Advocacy Matters: Transforming our State Together
Thursday, January 7
9 am – 3:30 pm
Capitol Plaza, Montpelier

 

Voices for Vermont’s Children is holding its annual conference the same day as our Vigil and Homelessness Awareness Day.  Folks at Voices know that homeless and housing advocates will be busy at the State House, but want to let everyone know that they are welcome to come for lunch to hear Dr. Sandel’s presentation, which has been scheduled for after the Vigil so as not to conflict.  You are also welcome to come for any other part of the day for a reduced fee.  If you want to go, you can pay at the door, but will still need to register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/advocacy-matters-transforming-the-state-together-tickets-20055551695.

Here is the original conference notice for more information:

 

Advocacy Matters: Transforming our State Together

January 7, 2016 | 9 am – 3:30 pm | Capitol Plaza, Montpelier

 

What would happen if the people devoted to serving Vermont’s most vulnerable people came together, created a shared vision and worked together to make that vision a reality? 

What if we really could change the world? 

At this year’s conference we will work to uncover our connected interests, consider the concept of “intersectionality,” and commit to approaching our work in solidarity. Keynote speaker Karen Tronsgard-Scott will explore these possibilities and share a model for creating change in ourselves and in our world. Her framework will lead into a panel discussion that takes a closer look at intersectional issues in Vermont, and the need to resist pressures to fight for scraps or pit constituencies against each other. Next, we’ll move into an interactive World Café style exercise where organizers and advocates will share the models they use to advance their social justice missions.

At noon we’ve created an opportunity for solidarity by joining advocates for a vigil against homelessness on the steps of the Statehouse. Immediately afterward lunch will be served with a presentation from Dr. Megan Sandel, a nationally recognized expert on housing and children’s health. Participants will then choose between 3 afternoon workshop sessions to develop strategies for action.

Help us build bridges between advocacy movements and commit to collective impact. 

For a full conference agenda and to register – click HERE.

 



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