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Housing Vermont Scholarship Fund

Posted February 11, 2016

Residents of housing affiliated with Housing Vermont are eligible for an annual scholarship of up to $2,500. Scholarships are available for both degreed and non‐degreed programs as well as for those interested in taking classes which lead to certifications.

The funds can be used for tuition, materials & books, childcare, transportation, or other expenses related to enrolling in a program.
Scholarships for the 2016‐2017 school year will be announced in late spring 2016.

For a list of eligible housing sites, please visit the Housing Vermont web site at http://www.hvt.org/about-us/scholarships/.

For more information on the application process, please visit the VSAC (Vermont Student Assistance Corporation) web site at www.vsac.org.

To view and download an informational flyer, click here.

 



Affordable Housing Development Opens In Woodstock

Posted September 23, 2015

Yesterday Woodstock, Vermont’s first affordable housing development officially opened. Safford Commons consists of 28 energy-efficient rental apartments at the site of the former Grange Hall and church. Valley News reported last week on how it took less than 10 days to fill every unit in the complex, which now has a waiting list with more than 40 names on it. Read more about Safford Commons and the ribbon cutting celebration below in this article from VPR:

The first affordable housing project for the affluent Upper Valley town of Woodstock was officially opened Tuesday. The Safford Commons project has been a long time coming in an area where demand is high.

The 28 energy-efficient apartments are clustered in multi-colored cottage-like dwellings on the site of a former Grange Hall not far from Woodstock High School. Abutters to the land fought the project for over a decade, saying that duplexes and triplexes would mar the natural setting. But they lost their court battle.

“There’s nothing to fight, and there’s nothing to fear, because in Vermont we do it right,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin before triumphantly cutting a shiny ribbon strung across one of the front porches.

Funding for the $9.5 million complex came from a patchwork of public and private sources, including the Woodstock Community Trust. President Patsy Highberg said persistence and multiple partnerships have paid dividends for tenants now living affordably in an area where the cost of living is high.

“The length of our battle makes these homes around us even more unbelievable as we stand here today to welcome new and current residents to our community,” Highberg told the audience gathered under a tent.

Rents range from $600 for a subsidized 1-bedroom unit to $1,000 for a two-bedroom apartment at market price. Donna Crawford happily moved here from New Jersey with her mother after her father died. He had once been a businessman in Springfield, Vermont.

“He died in August so we decided to move back up home, bring mom back home. And … yes, she lives with me, she’s 88,” Crawford said, smiling.

The entire housing complex was fully rented in about 10 days. Andrew Winter, director of Twin Pines Housing Trust, which manages the property, says housing demand still outstrips supply.

“And unfortunately the bad news is that we’ve got a really long wait list of over 40 families that are trying to get in here that won’t be able to,” said Winter.

Eventually Safford Commons hopes to add four more units. Meanwhile, Winter says, Twin Pines is expanding affordable housing in other locations, including Hartford. The rental vacancy rate in the Upper Valley is very low, between 1 and 2 percent.

For the full article, including audio, click here. For further coverage of this event view Vermont Business Magazine‘s article here.

 



New Affordable Housing Co-op Underway in Burlington

Posted August 28, 2015

groundbreaking smaller

Photo credit: Kenn Sassorossi

Thursday morning brought together scores of interested onlookers as two local nonprofit housing developers were joined by Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and Vermont’s Speaker of the House Shap Smith to mark the beginning of construction of a new housing co-op in Burlington’s Old North End.

“The Bright Street Housing Cooperative will create greatly-needed new affordable housing opportunities in Burlington, and will continue the recent progress of substantial new investment in the Old North End,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “Congratulations and thank you to the Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont for the creative, dedicated work that has made today’s groundbreaking possible and for your partnership in the long-term effort to make Burlington more affordable.”

“We know that community centers and downtowns are what many young families seek out as they search for places to work and grow a home. The Bright Street Housing Cooperative provides housing opportunity in this neighborhood in a way that reflects local needs and values. It was created with community involvement. When complete, it will offer housing that people need and can afford,” added Vermont Speaker of the House Shap Smith.

Two nonprofits – Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont – are collaborating to build the development that will create 40 new homes on the one and a quarter acre brownfield site. Construction is underway and occupancy is expected in September, 2016. Four old, blighted buildings are to be removed to make way for the new housing in three buildings. Land is set aside for the possibility of installing a community garden at a later date.

“We are excited to be here in the Old North End creating new affordable apartments for the first time in more than a decade,” said Brenda Torpy, CEO of the Champlain Housing Trust. “We’re also thrilled to be organizing this development as a co-op giving the residents some of the benefits of ownership – as the neighborhood requested – while imparting leadership and business skills to the people who move in.”

Funding for the housing came from a variety of sources, including investments made by TD Bank through the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. Grants from HUD-funded programs were instrumental to the development, including support from NeighborWorks® America, HOME and Community Development Block Grants (commonly known as CDBG), the latter administered by the City of Burlington. Support and financing also came from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Vermont Housing Finance Agency, Burlington Electric Department, Vermont Gas, the City of Burlington’s Housing Trust Fund, TD Charitable Foundation, and the Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission.

In addition, the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and State of Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation early support allowed the developers to hire professional expertise to conduct Environmental Site Assessments and Archeological Resource Assessments of the property, facilitating the redevelopment.

“While this project will bring long lasting housing and community development benefits to residents, the neighborhood and the broader community, it also generates significant economic advantages,” said Housing Vermont President Nancy Owens. “It will create 118 on-site jobs and 177 off-site jobs while providing more than $25 million in construction and indirect economic benefit.”

D.E.W. Construction out of Williston is the general contractor for the development and Duncan Wisniewski Architecture is the project’s architect. The cost of the development, including the environmental clean-up of the site, is approximately $11.7 million.

The housing will include a range of bedroom sizes to house both individuals and families. While not firm yet, rents for the two-bedroom expect to range between $775 and $1,200 a month, heat and hot water included. Fair Market Rent, as determined by HUD, is $1,328 for a two-bedroom apartment.

“We receive over 150 applications a month from people looking for an affordable rental, and we’ll only have a handful available,” explained CHT’s Torpy. “Building new housing like this is so critical for people in Burlington and surrounding communities.”

For more coverage of this story view the articles linked below:
Nonprofits Break Ground on Bright St. Co-op (Burlington Free Press)
City Celebrates New Option For Low-Cost Living (WPTZ)

 



Mixed Use Redevelopment of Brattleboro Site Wins HUD Design Award

Posted June 23, 2015

The Canal & Main Apartments/Brattleboro Food Cooperative development was one of two projects to receive the 2015 HUD Secretary’s Housing and Community Design Award for excellence in affordable housing design.

HUD and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) selected Step Up on 5th in Santa Monica, California; and Brattleboro’s Canal & Main development as national affordable housing models.

“Affordable housing represents a gateway to greater opportunity. These two projects are a powerful reminder that bold vision and innovative design can shape communities of promise,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “I congratulate these winners on their achievements and I’m proud to honor them for their commitment to inclusive development.”

The Brattleboro Food Co-op, Windham & Windsor Housing Trust and Housing Vermont partnered to redevelop a site in downtown Brattleboro. The scope of the project included the demolition of the obsolete Brattleboro Food Co-op building and the construction of a four-story, highly energy-efficient, green building. The attractive new building provides 33,600 square feet of retail and office space for the Co-op on the first two floors and 24 affordable apartments in the top two floors.

Gossens Bachman Architects designed the innovative building. The award recognized the “building is a model of energy efficiency, using both conventional and innovative systems, such as heating the entire building with reclaimed waste heat from the store refrigeration system. The collaborative design process was a critical factor in making the project a model for responsible building practice and smart growth.”

The site, previously contaminated by a dry cleaning facility, was cleaned up. The building was moved away from the nearby brook to protect the water from pollution and the building from flooding. Storm water runoff is treated and filtered by a green roof, permeable surfaces in the parking lot, and a 20-foot buffer strip in the new public park created along the Whetstone Brook. Recycled heat generated by the Co-op’s refrigerators heats the store and the apartments and provides hot water.

Construction materials included locally harvested and milled flooring and slate siding manufactured in Vermont. The apartments have continuous fresh air ventilation with heat recovery and the Co-op uses a solar photovoltaic system to generate electricity. These features have cut per-square-foot energy costs by approximately 50 percent, which helps keep the apartments affordable and saves 21 tons of CO2 emissions a year.

 



Colchester Receives $500K Grant For Affordable Housing

Posted May 5, 2015

Yesterday, Governor Peter Shumlin presented Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont with a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant to help keep the housing at Colchester’s Winchester Place affordable and updated. Below is a report from WCAX:

The State of Vermont is investing in affordable housing for Colchester.

Gov. Peter Shumlin presented the Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont with a half-million dollar grant Monday morning. The Community Development Block Grant will keep the 166 Winchester Place units affordable, pay for energy efficiency upgrades, and creation of a playground.

The Governor says the project is a smart investment. “Let’s make it more energy efficient. let’s take out the old doors and windows — fill them with insulation. Let’s modernize the units and let’s keep this affordable for jobs, for quality of life, and for the kids that are going to grow up here and have a great future,” Shumlin said.

“Partnership is how we get things done in Vermont and I’m pleased that we can help in this. It’s a win, win, win. It’s community development, it’s affordable housing, and it’s a good investment for the treasurer’s office,” said Treasurer Beth Pearce, D-Vermont.

The Governor says the project will provide work for 200 people. Town funds will pay for new LED lights for the neighborhood.

Additional coverage can be found here:
Affordable Housing Grant Also Puts Vermonters to Work (Local 22 (WVNY) & Local 44 (WFFF))
State Grant of $500,000 Will Make Affordable Housing More Energy Efficient (VermontBiz.com)

 



Governor Shumlin Announces $500,000 for Affordable Housing in Colchester

Posted May 4, 2015

Standing in the heart of a Colchester neighborhood, Gov. Peter Shumlin announced a $500,000 Vermont Community Development Program grant to lock in the affordability of eighty homes and make them more energy efficient. The apartments are part of Winchester Place, a mixed-income development of 166 apartments owned in partnership by the Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont. The long term affordability of the homes will secured through the purchase of the land which has been leased from St. Michael’s College.

“Keeping these apartments affordable is a priority for us, and it’s a Vermont-style, common-sense approach to preserve what we have,” said Gov. Shumlin. “We can invest in energy efficiency and extend the affordability of these apartments much cheaper than we could ever replace them. At the same time, this redevelopment will put Vermonters to work.”

Joining the Governor for the announcement was Vermont Treasurer Beth Pearce, who said, “”Winchester Place is a great example of getting work done the Vermont way. Working together we can make real progress in accomplishing the affordable housing needs of Vermont. As a VHFA Board member I have seen firsthand the exceptional work of Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont.”

The grant was awarded to the Town of Colchester to help fund the work at the property, which will include air sealing, adding insulation, replacing leaky windows and obsolete appliances, and other energy efficiency upgrades; improved storm water management and other site work; and creation of a playground and improved basketball court for the nearly 150 children living at the property.

“Because of the support of the State of Vermont, the Town of Colchester and all of the numerous other partners and funders on this effort, the families at Winchester Place will be able to continue to call Colchester home,’” said Nadine Scibek, chair of the Colchester Selectboard. “It is so important for our community to keep this housing affordable.”

The redevelopment has also been assisted by the state with more than $1 million from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. These funds are leveraging other sources to complete the project including the HOME program, state and federal tax credits, and NeighborWorks America. The Town of Colchester is also contributing additional funding to install LED lighting on site, which will cut energy use in half. Lastly, the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Burlington made a contribution to help fund the playground.

“Not only will this project mean that we can preserve and improve affordable housing in a very tight rental market, but it also provides more than 200 jobs in the construction trades and related industries,” said Kathy Beyer, Housing Vermont’s Vice President of Development.

“Winchester Place is a critical piece of CHT’s affordable housing in Chittenden County, and we’re looking forward to its next chapter,” added Brenda Torpy, CEO of the Champlain Housing Trust. “There’s such a need for housing in our region and across the state. Preserving Winchester ensures we’re not slipping backwards.”

The Vermont Community Development Program is administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development using funding from the federal Community Development Block Grant Program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program helps Vermonters and their communities by developing affordable housing, creating jobs, public facilities and public services. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch play a key role by supporting the program in Washington, D.C.

 



Vermont Rural Ventures’ Project Selected as Semi-Finalist for National Award

Posted May 1, 2015

Vermont Rural Ventures’ innovative financing of the redevelopment of Brattleboro’s Brooks House has been chosen as a semi-finalist by the National Development Council (NDC) for its Academy 2015 Awards. The awards recognize the top economic and community development projects in the nation and are part of the NDC Academy 2015 biennial conference.

Vermont Rural Ventures, the community development subsidiary of Housing Vermont, partnered with the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, to provide $23.4 million in New Markets Tax Credit authority to redevelop and restore the historic circa 1871 Brooks House, a mixed-use commercial building located in the heart of Brattleboro’s downtown.

“The Brooks House block occupies a prominent place in downtown Brattleboro,” said Hildene President and NDC Board Member Seth Bongartz. “Redeveloping that property was crucial for the area, and I am incredibly proud to see Vermont being recognized for innovation and community strength on the national stage.”

Completed in the fall 2014, the Brooks House includes classrooms for the Vermont Technical College and the Community College of Vermont, retail shops, three restaurants and 23 mixed-income apartments.

The Historic Brooks House Redevelopment Project was selected by NDC as a semi-finalist in the Community Development category. One project in each category will be awarded the top honor at the NDC Academy 2015 Awards on May 14. To learn more about the Brooks House Project, visit: http://vermontruralventures.com/vrv-projects/brooks-house-brattleboro/.

 



Champlain Housing Trust Event in Colchester with Governor Shumlin on Monday, May 4th

Posted April 30, 2015

This coming Monday, May 4 at 10am Governor Shumlin will be joining Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont to announce state and federal grant awards for our efforts to preserve the affordability and invest in energy efficiency at Winchester Place in Colchester.

What: Announcement of grant awards for Winchester Place, a 166-apartment development in Colchester

When: Monday, May 4 at 10am

Where: Winchester Place, 7 Douglas Drive, Colchester (between the Vermont National Guard and Fort Ethan Allen on Route 15, take Barnes Avenue to Hegeman, then left onto Douglas)

About Winchester Place and the redevelopment:

Built in 1989, Winchester Place’s 166 apartments are a significant piece of Chittenden County’s affordable housing stock. The property is conveniently located on Route 15 and rarely has any vacancies. Almost all of the apartments have two bedrooms, with just a handful of three bedroom apartments. The average rent at the property is $1,050; Fair Market Rent for Chittenden County is $1,328. There are no vacancies among the 166 apartments.

The work to be undertaken will secure the affordability of Winchester Place’s apartments for the long-term as a resource for the community. In all, approximately $14 million will be invested into the property, including purchasing the land from St. Michael’s College, investing in energy efficiency measures such as new windows, air sealing and insulation, conducting site work, and improving storm water systems. The work will begin in the summer of 2015. Funding has come from the Vermont Community Development Program, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, State and Federal housing tax credits, the Town of Colchester, the federal HOME program, NeighborWorks® America with construction and permanent financing from the Vermont Housing Finance Agency. The Ronald McDonald House Charities in Burlington recently awarded a $3,000 grant to help install a playground.

CHT

 



Hinesburg Wins $675,000 Housing Grant

Posted March 18, 2015

Hinesburg is one of several communities that was recently awarded a Community Development Block Grant from the Vermont Community Development Program. Read how Champlain Housing Trust, Housing Vermont, and Snyder Homes plan on using these funds to build 23 new affordable housing units in this article from the Burlington Free Press:

Hinesburg recently was awarded a grant of $675,000 under the Vermont Community Development Program, for the purpose of helping to fund affordable housing in the Green Street project.

The grant, announced last week by Gov. Shumlin and Patricia Moulton, secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, was the second largest among those awarded to 13 Vermont towns and cities, for a total of $4,287,000. The other grants, from $19,830 to $850,000, are expected to fund accessibility, disaster recovery and housing.

The Green Street development will be built south of the southwest corner of Vermont 116 and Charlotte Road, along a newly constructed road. It received approval from the town Development Review Board in October for 23 units in townhouse-style homes including two one-story accessible apartments.

A 2010 housing assessment for the Hinesburg Affordable Housing Committee reported a strong need for more rental access in Hinesburg for people earning less than 60 percent of the average median income.

Chris Snyder of Snyder Homes, builder of the project, said the company plans to start construction about May 15.

A sidewalk will connect the units with Vermont 116 for access to the community school and other amenities in the village.

About eight acres of open space west of the built area will be available for agricultural use and a 100-foot buffer for the LaPlatte River.

An earlier different application for the area had received water allocation from the town; the State of Vermont will issue a revised water permit, Snyder said. It would be in effect when the town’s new wells are online.

Community Development Program grants must go to municipalities, which then lend the funds to the prospective owners — in this case Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont.

Amy Demetrowitz of Champlain Housing Trust said, “We had a very good relationship with Snyder on a successful project in Williston. We are happy to partner with Snyder Homes on a turnkey project.”

For a link to the full article, click here.

 



Housing and the Economy: The Statewide Ripple Effect

Posted November 10, 2014

A new paper was released this week highlighting the link between housing and Vermont’s economy. Housing and the Economy: The Statewide Ripple Effect, is the fifth and final paper in a series that is designed to demonstrate the value of affordable housing for people and communities across the State of Vermont.

From the paper:

In 2008, the bottom fell out of the economy, and the much‐touted housing bubble burst. As happened with firms around the country, at Naylor & Breen Builders, a Brandon‐based construction company founded in 1978, business took a hit. Until that time, says president and co‐founder Rob Naylor, close to 85 percent of their business was negotiated work, but in 2008, “it was like someone turned the spigot off,” and those jobs plummeted to zero. Yet the company managed to stay afloat, thanks in large part to the affordable housing renovation and new build projects with which they had long been involved, work whose funding sources—grants and tax credits—were unchanged.  

“The jobs that pulled us through were the ones in the pipeline for these affordable housing projects,” says Naylor. “They didn’t get shut off, which helped tremendously.” And with some 80 carpenters, demolition professionals, finishers, and field technicians on staff, Naylor & Breen is a significant area employer, with a hand in some 50 affordable housing projects since the early 1990s, when it was the contractor for a scattered site project coordinated by Housing Vermont in Rutland.

Construction is perhaps most visibly affected by the housing industry, but many other sectors are as well: real estate; law; architecture; lumber mills; lighting, heating and plumbing equipment manufacturing and installation; and brokerage firms, to name but a few. Indeed, the overall economy is affected, from the local on up to the national level. Both new construction and rehabs mean increased tax revenues for local and state government. Thanks to an ongoing ripple effect, area businesses—grocery stores, bars and restaurants, auto repair shops and gas stations—along with public transportation providers will also be impacted directly. It’s significant, given that the effect is greater for every dollar spent on housing than for just about any other spending category.

To read the full paper click here (PDF file).

For more information, contact Chris Donnelly at the Champlain Housing Trust by calling (802) 861-7305 or Kenn Sassorossi at Housing Vermont at (802) 863-8284.

 



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