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The New York Times: A City Invokes Seizure Laws to Save Homes

Posted August 6, 2013

“The power of eminent domain has traditionally worked against homeowners, who can be forced to sell their property to make way for a new highway or shopping mall. But now the working-class city of Richmond, Calif., hopes to use the same legal tool to help people stay right where they are. 

Scarcely touched by the nation’s housing recovery and tired of waiting for federal help, Richmond is about to become the first city in the nation to try eminent domain as a way to stop foreclosures.

The results will be closely watched by both Wall Street banks, which have vigorously opposed the use of eminent domain to buy mortgages and reduce homeowner debt, and a host of cities across the country that are considering emulating Richmond…”

Link to Full New York Times Article 

PDF of Full New York Times Article


Joint Center for Housing Studies releases housing recovery report

Posted July 12, 2013

Reposted from the Joint Center for Housing Studies, June 26, 2013.

A Housing Recovery, but Not For All Americans
Harvard Research Center Releases The State of the Nation’s Housing 2013

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Driven by rising home prices and growing demand, the U.S. housing recovery is well underway, concludes The State of the Nation’s Housing report released today by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. While still at historically low levels, housing construction has finally turned the corner, giving the economy a much-needed boost. But even as the recovery gains momentum, millions of homeowners are still delinquent on their mortgages or owe more than their homes are worth, and severe housing cost burdens have set a new record…”

View Full JCHS Press Release


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Racial and Ethnic Minorities Face More Subtle Housing Discrimination

Posted July 10, 2013

FOR RELEASE: June 11, 2013
CONTACT: George Gonzalez, (202) 708-0685

Racial and Ethnic Minorities Face More Subtle Housing Discrimination
HUD study finds decline in blatant discrimination while unequal treatment persists

WASHINGTON – Blatant acts of housing discrimination faced by minority homeseekers continue to decline in the U.S., yet more subtle forms of housing denial stubbornly persist, according to a new summary study released today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Urban Institute. Housing Discrimination Against Racial and Ethnic Minorities 2012 finds African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians learn about fewer housing options than equally qualified whites.

Real estate agents and rental housing providers recommend and show fewer available homes and apartments to minority families, thereby increasing their costs and restricting their housing options. The study concludes this is a national, not a regional, phenomenon.

“Fewer minorities today may be getting the door slammed in their faces, but we continue to see evidence of housing discrimination that can limit a family’s housing, economic and educational opportunities,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “It’s clear we still have work to do to end housing discrimination once and for all…”

Link to Full Press Release on HUD.GOV
PDF of Full HUD Press Release 


Community gathers to celebrate Harrington Village groundbreaking

Posted June 28, 2013

Housing Vermont, Champlain Housing Trust, and Cathedral Square were joined by community members, including Governor Peter Shumlin, to celebrate a groundbreaking at Harrington Village yesterday afternoon. The new development will create 82 new homes in the heart of Shelburne Village, including over 40 apartments for families, 36 apartments for seniors, and four affordable homes. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer, with some of the units ready for occupancy as early as summer 2014.

View Harrington Village Fact Sheet
View PDF of Wright House Fact Sheet 

Erhard Mahnke, Director of the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition was interviewed by Fox 44/ABC 22 at the event. See links to more media coverage of the event below.

View PDF of Champlain Housing Trust, Housing Vermont, and Cathedral Square Press Release
Link to Fox 44/ABC 22 video
Link to article
Link to WCAX article 

Photo courtesy of Fox 44 News


Vermont’s housing authorities feel the impacts of sequestration

Posted June 17, 2013

Public housing authorities in Vermont are feeling the effects of sequestration on already stressed budgets. This results in fewer issued vouchers, reducing access to housing for low-income Vermonters. Representatives from several housing authorities across the state comment on limited funding and losing vouchers in articles from VTDigger and The Commons Online.

Link to VTDigger article 

Link to PDF of Full article

Link to Full Commons Online Article

Update, 6/26/2013: VPR transcript and audio recording of “Housing Assistance Cuts Affect Low-Income Vermonters”, June 25, 2013

Update, 7/12/2013: St. Albans Messenger, June 20, 2013


Expansion at West River Valley Senior Housing

Posted June 7, 2013

The West River Senior Housing in Townshend is only $15,000 shy of its $2.8 million expansion goal. The 10,000 square foot addition to the facility, operated by the non-profit organization, Valley Cares Inc.,  will add 12 new assisted-living apartments to the facility, bringing the number of available units from 30 to 42.

The project was made possible by generous local support, including the Holt Fund, which provides targeted funding to nonprofit organizations in the Grafton and Townshend areas. Additionally, over $600,000 was provided through CDBG funding, $500,000 from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board and the HOME program, and over $1 million dollars through the Vermont Housing & Finance Agency.

The expansion is expected to be completed by the end of October 2013.

Link to Brattleboro Reformer article 


Revised Out of Reach 2013 information for Vermont

Posted May 29, 2013

The NLIHC recently revised the Out of Reach – Vermont information to reflect increases in Vermont’s statewide Fair Market Rent (FMR) and Housing Wage. The report, originally issued in March, highlights the need for more affordable housing across the country. The updates show an increase in the FMR for a two-bedroom apartment from $964 to $1,054. This means a household working 40 hours a week would have to earn $20.27/hr in order to make their housing affordable.

This is the first time ever that the state’s Housing Wage has gone over $20/hr and results in a $466 gap between what a mean renter, earning $11.32/hr, can afford and the FMR. The NLIHC issued the changes because of HUD’s increase to the FMR for the Burlington-South Burlington Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

Link to PDF of Out of Reach Vermont 2013



Fair Market Rents revised upward by 24% for Burlington-S. Burlington metro area

Posted May 3, 2013

By Leslie Black-Plumeau. Reposted from Housing Matters, April 30, 2013.

“HUD announced…that a recent in-depth survey revealed that rents for modest units in the greater Burlington area are 24% higher than originally estimated.  In October 2013, HUD set the monthly fair market rent for a one bedroom apartment in the greater Burlington area at $788, a surprising drop of more than $100 from the prior year’s level.

Since this decline was inconsistent with local data indicating rising–not declining–rents, VHFA and partner housing agencies encouraged HUD to conduct an intensive rent survey of the area.

This revision affects Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties…”


May 1 – Joint House & Senate Hearing with Nan Roman

Posted April 16, 2013

Nan Roman, the Commissioner of the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission and the President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, will be presenting at a joint House and Senate Hearing at the Vermont State House on May 1, 2013.

The meeting will be held from 9:30am – 10:30am, followed by a press conference at 11:00am in the Cedar Creek Room.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s report Housing America’s Future: New Directions for National Policy offers key recommendations for federal housing policy and national housing reform.

View BPC Flyer

Link to Full Summary of Commission Report
Link to Executive Summary of Commission Report

View PowerPoint of Bipartisan Policy Center Report, which provides background on the formation of the Commission and outlines their plans. 


Shared equity program helps bridge financial gap for homebuyers

Posted April 11, 2013

Reposted from the Burlington Free Press, March 28, 2013.

“Before moving to Vermont from Southern California in August, Steve and Rachel Smith had moved about seven times since their 8-year-old son Avery was born, including four times before he was two. Two moves were in the past six months….

Last week, the couple moved into the yellow split-level house on Palmer Court off Shelburne Road, listed for $210,000, that they bought with the help of a $48,000 down payment from the Champlain Housing Trust’s shared equity program. For buyers like the Smiths, who couldn’t afford a house on the open market, the Trust provides the money they need to get into a home…”

Link to Full Burlington Free Press 

View PDF of Full Burlington Free Press

Rachel and Steve Smith, and their son, Avery, have been able to buy their first home, in Shelburne, with help from the Champlain Housing Trust. / GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS



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