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House and Senate Tax Bills Will Decimate Affordable Housing in Vermont

Posted December 1, 2017

MONTPELIER, VT — The Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition (VAHC), a state leader in housing policy, research and advocacy, today issued the following statement on the tax bill recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and under consideration in the Senate:

At a time when Vermont already has a shortage of 10,866 affordable homes for extremely low income renters and the 5th highest affordability gap for renters in the country, the pending tax proposals would eliminate tax credits and financing tools that have helped create thousands of affordable apartments  in our state and made homeownership more affordable for thousands of Vermonters.

“Vermont already has an affordable housing crisis, but these bills would make it a catastrophe.  Without the tax credits and bonds that the House bill eliminates, thousands of affordable homes will not be built, and more Vermonters will be left homeless or stuck in homes they cannot afford,” said Ted Wimpey, VAHC Steering Committee Chair and Director of CVOEO’s Fair Housing Project.  “The Senate proposal is more favorable but would still substantially reduce affordable rental housing production at a time when the need is so acute.  If either of these tax bills becomes law, it will put families out on the streets and irreparably harm Vermont communities.”

Overall, Vermont could lose an estimated $15 million in housing investments every year – losses that not only directly affect Coalition members’ ability to create affordable housing for low-income and vulnerable Vermonters, but also the amount of construction and real estate activity that the state relies on to help stimulate economic development, create good-paying jobs, and improve our communities.

“We are thankful that our entire congressional delegation strongly opposes these unbelievably harmful bills and hope that they do not become law, especially those provisions that are so damaging to affordable housing,” noted VAHC Coordinator Erhard Mahnke.  “We need real tax reform that helps address our housing crisis and protects struggling low- and moderate-income people.”

THE TAX BILL PASSED BY THE HOUSE:

  • Significantly weakens the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the nation’s largest affordable rental housing development resource. The Housing Credit is a successful public-private partnership that has become the foundation for affordable housing development across Vermont and New England. While the credit itself is retained, it would be significantly weakened due to the proposed reduction in the corporate tax. With the value of depreciation expense and interest deductions reduced, the value of the Housing Credit would drop, greatly reducing private investment in low income housing. The tax proposal contains no changes to the credit that would help address this impact.
    • The Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) estimates the state would lose $5-6 million in private investments annually as a result. Last year the Housing Credit generated $30 million in private, up-front equity for construction, acquisition and renovation of affordable housing across the state.  In recent years, the credit has helped fund an annual average of 300 rental homes.
  • Eliminates the tax exemption on Private Activity Bonds, including multifamily and homeownership housing bonds. This tax exemption allows bond-financed multifamily projects to access ‘4% Housing Credits,’ which have helped produce or preserve tens of thousands of affordable homes in New England. Developments financed with 4% Credits often serve households with extremely low incomes, and have also been used on mixed-income developments that meet demand for market rate housing.
    • 4% Housing Credits are used with tax-exempt bond financing to fund approximately 1,200 affordable rentals over the last seven years. If this provision becomes law, Vermont could lose another $6-7 million in housing investments every year and see the annual number of rental homes financed potentially cut in half.
    • Tax-exempt Mortgage Revenue Bonds finance almost half of VHFA’s safe, low-cost mortgages to first-time homebuyers and would be eliminated under the House bill.
    • Mortgage Credit Certificates would no longer be available to assist eligible home buyers.
  • Eliminates the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, which is a vital tool in the creation and preservation of affordable housing in historic buildings. Historic Tax Credits (HTCs) have had an enormous impact on our communities, attracting developers to invest in vacant, deteriorated, and underutilized structures.  In Vermont, HTCs are primarily used to help fund affordable housing, whether in large old mixed-use buildings in downtowns, or multiple buildings in scattered site developments.  Without them, many new projects would never take place because they wouldn’t be financially feasible.  If HTC’s are eliminated, it will have a devastating impact on our ability to develop affordable housing in the places where it makes the most sense – our downtowns, where low and moderate income Vermonters are close to goods, services and supports and can spend less on transportation.
    • In 2017, $1.8 million in HTCs leveraged $11.8 million in total investments to help fund 65 homes in redeveloped buildings in Bennington, Brattleboro, Burlington, Fair Haven, Montpelier and Stowe.
    • From 2012 – 2017, $24 million in HTCs helped fund 643 homes in 68 projects, serving 25 Vermont communities and generating $145 million in total private investment.
  • Eliminates the New Markets Tax Credit, a key resource for community revitalization efforts in economically distressed areas. Housing and community development investments work together in revitalizing neighborhoods and improving local economies.  Neither investment can do it alone.
    • Housing Vermont’s tax credit program has used over $123 million in financing for 15 projects that invest in the economic, environmental, and social well-being of Vermont communities.
    • The many projects financed include the Enosburg Health Center, the Brooks House and Commonwealth Dairy in Brattleboro, Barre’s City Place, and Burlington’s King Street Youth Center.
  • Reforms the Mortgage Interest Deduction, which has been a long-standing priority for housing advocates and would ordinarily be a major step in the right direction. Unfortunately, instead of using the savings from this reform to better target spending on housing solutions for those with the greatest needs, the House bill funnels these and other savings to pay for highly regressive tax cuts for the richest households and corporations.
  • Increases the federal debt by $1.5 trillion over a decade, a move likely to lead to deep spending cuts to affordable housing and community development, not to mention Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Unfunded tax cuts will only add pressure on Congress to enact massive budget cuts at the expense of millions of families who benefit from federal investments that help them meet basic needs.
  • Threatens to dramatically reduce charitable giving, which will have an enormous impact on all nonprofits, including Coalition members who develop affordable housing and provide a broad array of services to low-income Vermonters and those with special needs. According to Urban Institute estimates, Vermonters’ pro-rata loss in charitable gift deductions could be as much as $136 million.  Community organizations like the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS), which rely heavily on individual and business contributions, could immediately feel the impact of a tax bill that no longer incentivizes middle income Americans to contribute locally.

THE SENATE TAX PROPOSAL:

  • Is more favorable to affordable housing than the House bill, because it preserves Private Activity Bonds, retains both the New Market and Historic Preservation Tax Credits, and adds a number of no-cost enhancements to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. Nonetheless, its impact on the equity raised by the Housing Credit is the same as the House bill, so it would still severely reduce affordable rental housing production at a time when Vermont and most of the nation continue to be gripped by an acute affordable housing crisis.  National tax experts Novogradac & Co. estimate that, over ten years, the Senate tax bill – which is still undergoing changes – would reduce the future supply of affordable rental housing by nearly 300,000 homes nationally and that Vermont could lose:
    • 650 rental homes,
    • 740 jobs,
    • $62,089,000 in business income, and
    • $23,881,000 million in federal, state and local taxes. 

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The Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition is a statewide membership organization dedicated to ensuring that all Vermonters have decent, safe and affordable housing, particularly the state’s low and moderate-income residents, elders, people living with homelessness, and people with disabilities.
For more information, visit www.vtaffordablehousing.org.

 

 



2016 Consolidated Plan Public Meeting, February 8th

Posted January 14, 2016

The State of Vermont’s Department of Housing and Community Development is conducting a public hearing in preparation for developing its 2016 HUD Consolidated Plan Action Plan. The purpose of the hearing is to obtain citizen’s views about housing, homelessness, public facilities and services, and non-housing community development needs in the state, development of proposed grant activities, and to review past performance of programs included in the plan.

The plan constitutes the State’s application for, and outlines priorities for use of approximately $10 million annually in federal funding provided to the State for the Community Development Block Grants (CBDG), HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME), and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) programs. In addition, HUD may allocate new funds to the State for the National Housing Trust Fund to develop housing affordable to extremely low- and very low- income households. These funds, if awarded, will be included in the plan.

The goals of the plan are to provide decent housing, assure a suitable living environment, and expand economic opportunities for Vermont’s citizens. More information about the plan is available on the Department’s website at www.accd.vermont.gov/strong_communities.

The hearing will be held on Monday, February 8, 2016, from 4:00 – 4:30 p.m. in the Calvin Coolidge Room, 1 National Life Drive, Davis Building, 6th Floor, Montpelier. The hearing room is handicapped accessible. Accommodations for persons with disabilities, and interpreters to meet the needs of non-English speaking persons will be made available upon request. Requests for accommodations should be directed to Arthur Hamlin at 802-828-3749, or in writing to Arthur Hamlin, Housing Program Coordinator, Vermont DHCD, 1 National Life Drive, Davis Building, 6th Floor, Montpelier, VT 05620 by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. For the Hearing Impaired please call (TTY#) l -800-253-0191.

 



Housing Division Rules – Mobile Home Parks

Posted December 16, 2015

Statutory changes were enacted this year in Act 8 (2015) which affect the mobile home park law. The changes include expanding the Department of Housing & Community Development’s enforcement authority to include administrative penalties, changes to the warranty of habitability specifically concerning park roads, and changes to the eviction process that will require mobile homes to be removed or sold after an eviction.

To implement these changes the Department is amending the Housing Division Rules for Mobile Home Parks and Mobile Home Park Warranty of Habitability. The State rule making process includes four “Filings” with the Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules, The Secretary of State, a Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules, and a final filing of the Adopted Rules. We anticipate the rules will go into effect on approximately April 15, 2016.

To maximize public input, the Department has created a special webpage for the rule making process where you can access the proposed amendments and submit comments or plan to attend a public hearing: http://accd.vermont.gov/strong_communities/housing/rules/housing_division_rulemaking.

The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 4:30PM at the Department of Housing & Community Development located at 1 National Life Drive, Davis Building, 6th Floor, Montpelier, VT 05620. For more information see the link above or email arthur.hamlin@vermont.gov.

 



Consolidated Plan Draft and Comment Period

Posted April 7, 2015

The Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development posted a revised “second draft” of its proposed 2015-2019 HUD Consolidated Plan and 2015 Action Plan on March 26, 2015 with tracked changes from the earlier draft version published on March 12. The document and information about the plan are available on DHCD’s website at: http://accd.vermont.gov/strong_communities/housing/planning/consolidated_plan.

Written comments on the proposed plan will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on Monday, April 27, 2015 and should be addressed to: Arthur Hamlin, Housing Program Coordinator, Department of Housing & Community Development, One National Life Drive, Deane C. Davis Building, Sixth Floor, Montpelier, VT 05620-0501, or email arthur.hamlin@state.vt.us.

 



VT Consolidated Plan Citizen Participation Survey & Meetings

Posted December 4, 2014

The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is preparing a new five-year Consolidated Plan for 2015-2020 as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Vermont’s Consolidated Plan guides the investment of more than $10 million that is received annually for three grant programs:

Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME)
Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG)

This money typically leverages at least another $10 million in other public and private funds. In recent years, the priority for Vermont’s plan has been to direct resources toward economic development and housing activities.

They are inviting the public and interested parties to participate in a series of regional meetings and to complete an electronic survey. Your participation will help them learn about the needs and interests in the areas of economic, housing and community development.

Citizen Participation Meetings will be held on:

Wednesday, December 17th
West Rutland, VT
West Rutland Town Hall, 35 Marble Street
4:00pm – 6:00pm

Thursday, December 18th
St. Albans, VT
City Council Chambers, 100 North Main Street
4:00pm – 6:00pm

Monday, January 5th
Bristol, VT
Holley Hall, 1 South Street
5:30pm – 7:30pm

Wednesday, January 7th
St. Johnsbury, VT
Black Box Theater St. Johnsbury Academy, 1000 Main Street
Noon-2pm

Tuesday, January 13th
Bennington, VT
Bennington Fire Station – Third Floor Meeting Room, 130 River Street
4:00pm – 6:00pm

Thursday, January 15th
Bellows Falls, VT
The Lower Theater – Bellows Falls Opera House, 7 The Square
3:00pm – 5:00pm

Friday, January 16th
Randolph, VT
Chandler Music Hall – Upper Gallery, 71-73 Main Street
Noon – 2:00pm

All meeting locations are wheelchair accessible. If you need special accommodations or have any questions about the meetings, please contact Arthur Hamlin at 828-3749 or Shaun Gilpin at 828-1346.

To complete the survey click here.

 



Vermont Housing Needs Assessment Request for Proposals

Posted May 21, 2014

The Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is requesting proposals from qualified bidders to prepare a state housing needs assessment to be used in the Department’s submission of the State’s 5-Year Consolidated Plan for 2015-2020 to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The assessment is designed to meet the HUD requirements for completion of DHCD’s Consolidated Plan. It will also be used for broader purposes including as the basis for other housing and policy decisions.

The Consolidated Plan is a requirement of HUD and combines information on four federal entitlement grant programs: Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA). Vermont is a recipient of CDBG, HOME, and ESG funds.

INTENT TO BID DUE:            MAY 30, 2014 (Optional)

QUESTIONS DUE:                 JUNE 6, 2014

QUESTIONS RESPONSE:     JUNE 13, 2014

RFP DUE DATE and TIME:     JUNE 25, 2014 / 4:30

Potential bidders can get more information at the following links:

http://www.accd.vermont.gov/strong_communities/press_release/housing23

http://www.vermontbusinessregistry.com/BidPreview.aspx?BidID=10728

If you have additional questions please contact Arthur Hamlin at (802) 828-3749 or by email at arthur.hamlin@state.vt.us.

 



February 7: DHCD Public Hearing on 2014 Action Plan for HUD Consolidated Plan

Posted January 28, 2014

The State of Vermont’s Department of Housing and Community Development will conduct a public hearing in preparation for developing its 2014 Action Plan for the HUD Consolidated Plan for 2010-2015, to hear views about the State’s housing and community development needs, including priority non-housing community development needs and development of proposed activities, and review past performance related to its HUD Consolidated Plan.  The plan constitutes the State’s application for, and outlines priorities for use of approximately $10 million in Federal funding provided annually to the State for the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Home Investment Partnerships (HOME), and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG).

The goals of the plan are to provide decent housing, assure a suitable living environment, and expand economic opportunities for Vermont’s citizens. The plan is available on the Department’s website here.

The date of the hearing is Friday, February 7, 2014, 3:30pm – 4:00pm in the Calvin Coolidge Room, 1 National Life Drive, Davis Building, 6th Floor, Montpelier.  The hearing room is handicapped accessible.  Accommodations for persons with disabilities, and interpreters to meet the needs of non-English speaking persons will be made available upon request.  Requests should be directed to Arthur Hamlin at (802) 828- 3211; TTY# l-800-253-0191 , or in writing to Arthur Hamlin, Housing Program Coordinator, Vermont DHCD, 1 National Life Drive, Davis Building, 6th Floor, Montpelier, VT 05620 by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 30, 2014.

 



Report Issued on the Viability and Disaster Resilience of Mobile Home Ownership and Parks

Posted December 19, 2013

Last week the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development issued a report with a series of recommendations to improve the disaster resilience of mobile homes and parks.  The report details many of the difficulties faced by mobile home park residents in the wake of Irene as well as ways to improve mobile home parks and protect them from future floods.  More from the news release:

Mobile homes are nearly twice as likely to be located in a flood hazard area as stick built homes and were disproportionately impacted by Tropical Storm Irene. Unfortunately, mobile home residents often lack the resources necessary to repair or replace their homes, and difficult lessons were learned about the state’s preparedness for responding to disasters affecting this housing segment.

…the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development issued a series of recommendations to improve the disaster resilience of mobile homes and parks. Its Report on the Viability and Disaster Resilience of Mobile Home Ownership and Parks also addresses longstanding challenges facing mobile home and park owners. Based on extensive research and collaboration with other agencies and stakeholders, the report suggests actions at the individual, local and statewide levels.

“With two years of disaster and recovery experience behind us, we know what makes mobile homes vulnerable and what can be done to make Vermonters who reside in them safer,” Jennifer Hollar, Deputy Commissioner of the Department, said. “Simple and complex, inexpensive and costly, individually and statewide, there are many ways to improve the resilience of this important form of affordable housing.”

The Department will work with state agencies, housing groups and others to implement the recommendations…

Some of the recommendations include:

  • Giving municipal governments the authority to prepare for future disasters;
  • Providing education and outreach to Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC’s), park owners and residents on disaster preparedness planning and strategies;
  • Looking into the availability of financing for mobile homes and alternative types of park ownership, and mobile home construction to replace older, inefficient units;
  • Using a Mobile Home Park Risk Assessment Tool enabling agencies and park owners to identify and assess the vulnerabilities of a park, allowing planning and mitigation to occur or to respond to any sale or closure notices.

Read the full report here.

See also:

VPR: Study Takes Stock of Irene’s Impact on Mobile Homes
MCV: VT Recommends Actions to Make Mobile Homes & Parks Less Vulnerable

 



Update to DHCD brochure

Posted August 9, 2013

The Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) has updated their Accessory Dwelling Units in Homes brochure. This updated brochure includes new information about Residential Building Energy Standards (RBES) and statutory changes allowing municipalities to regulate ADU’s in flood and fluvial erosion hazard areas.

Link to DHCD website to view the updated brochure

 



New research shows rent is lower in nonprofit mobile home parks

Posted July 26, 2013

Research by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) shows that median nonprofit and cooperative lot rent for Mobile Home Parks (MHP) is less than for-profit lot rent.

The median for-profit MHP lot rent is $320 and the median nonprofit and cooperative MHP lot rent is $278; $42 or 13% lower than the for profit median, and $26 or 9% below the State Median.

Link to 2012 Mobile Home Parks Detail Report 

Link to PDF of 2012 Mobile Home Park Summary

 

 

 



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