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State-Local Investment Initiative to Benefit Rutland County

Posted November 3, 2015

On Monday State Treasurer Beth Pearce announced that NeighborWorks of Western Vermont will be receiving $1.75 million in capital funding for home rehabilitation loans and home purchasing assistance financing:

State and local leaders today announced a major financial boost to improve housing stock in Rutland County. State Treasurer Beth Pearce was joined by Rutland Mayor Chris Louras and Ludy Biddle of NeighborWorks of Western Vermont in announcing the availability of $1.75 million in lending capital for home rehabilitation loans and home purchasing assistance financing.

The funding of local investments is part of an ongoing process managed through the State Treasurer’s Office. The local investments initiative aims to invest a significant portion of Vermont’s short-term operating funds in Vermont communities, while earning a competitive rate of return. The initiative redirects funds that were invested primarily in out-of-state government agency securities and money market accounts at large financial institutions to local investments. The Treasurer’s office has invested approximately $30 million since 2014 in energy improvements in residential housing, commercial energy projects, and in the rehabilitation of State office buildings for energy efficiencies.

“For low and moderate income families, a home purchase and the equity built in that home, represents one of their largest financial investments. This proposal from NeighborWorks of Western Vermont will strengthen an existing housing and lending program that is helping people become homeowners and make efficiency improvements to their property,” said State Treasurer Beth Pearce. “It is a local investment that addresses a very real need for affordable and sustainable housing.”

To read the entire press release, click here. For further coverage, view the VPR story here.


Leahy, Sanders, Welch Announce $1.5 M In Affordable Housing Grants For Vermont’s Local NeighborWorks Organizations

Posted March 5, 2015

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Representative Peter Welch (D-Vermont) Wednesday announced $1.5 million in grants to revitalize communities and support access to affordable housing across Vermont. The announcement marks the first round of 2015 federal grants awarded by NeighborWorks America.

Leahy said: “Vermont’s NeighborWorks affiliates are on the front lines of creating jobs and stabilizing our communities by investing in affordable housing. Vermont, like the rest of the country, faces an extreme shortage of affordable housing. These investments will help our local NeighborWorks Organizations to continue to build, rehabilitate and manage affordable housing for Vermonters and provide vital housing counseling and education for renters, homebuyers and homeowners. These grants will support their excellent record of lending a hand to Vermonters in need and in helping to strengthen our communities.”

Sanders said: “It is no secret that over the past decade, incomes have not come close to keeping pace with rising housing costs. At a time when countless families are struggling to get by, and when many households are spending more and more of their limited income on housing, this grant will help provide more housing to Vermonters who need it.”

Welch said: “Every Vermonter should have the peace of mind that comes with a safe and affordable home. These funds are a welcome investment in our communities and can be put to use helping families with a wide range of challenges such as finding a rental, needed home repairs and financial counseling. I applaud NeighborWorks for their commitment to strengthening and improving neighborhoods all over Vermont.”

As the most senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee Leahy has led efforts to support for annual funding for NeighborWorks America. Last year Leahy led a group of 30 senators (link is external), which includes Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), in urging the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee to support funding for NeighborWorks America, which has a proven its ability to leverage federal appropriations with other investments.

NeighborWorks America is a public nonprofit established by Congress to invest in revitalizing communities and preserving affordable housing through their 245 partner organizations across the country. NeighborWorks America awarded five grants to Vermont’s affiliates, totaling $1,558,939, an increase over the $1,334,634 awarded last year:

Central Vermont Community Land Trust Inc. — $161,250
Champlain Housing Trust — $574,189
NeighborWorks of Western Vermont — $269,385
RuralEdge — $214,160
Windham & Windsor Housing Trust — $339,955

Ludy Biddle, director of NeighborWorks of Western Vermont (NWWV), said: “This grant makes it possible for us to carry out everything from our personal counseling for elderly couples threatened with foreclosure, to our home repair and efficiency program that is saving residents more than a million dollars a year in energy costs, to our neighborhood program impacting all the residents in a 10-block area near downtown Rutland. NeighborWorks America makes this all possible.”

Chris Donnelly, director of community relations for Champlain Housing Trust, said: “NeighborWorks America’s support strengthens our organization at a time when there is an increasing need for our services. This funding will also help us build new affordable apartments to address the significant shortage of housing in our region.”


Why Aren’t Vermont Millennials Buying Homes?

Posted November 24, 2014

At last week’s Vermont Statewide Housing Conference John Pelletier of Champlain College and Anthony Poore of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston presented at a workshop titled “Homeownership’s Lost Generation.” Vermont Public Radio reported on what they had to say about why fewer of Vermont’s millennials are buying homes:

Vermonters in the millennial generation are often seen as a success story in a state that has struggled to attract and retain young people. But cultural and economic trends mean millennials in the state are still falling short on the housing market.

It’d be hard to name any one reason why young people aren’t buying homes in Vermont. Some are leaving the state, some are still too young to be expected to buy a home; others still live with their parents.

John Pelletier is the director of the Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy. He said one of the big factors is college debt.

“If you’re a college grad with student loan debt in those age categories of 29 and under, less of you own a home than if you didn’t go to college, ” he said.

And Pelletier said two-thirds of students who graduate from college in Vermont end up in debt.

“Of that two-thirds that that had student loan debt, their average debt was approximately $29,000 or just a little bit under that,” he said.

Speaking at the Vermont Statewide Housing Conference in Burlington, Pelletier and Anthony Poore of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston said it’s not just the numbers that are keeping young people from buying houses.

Poore said there were also some cultural differences between millennials and their parents.

“You know, these folks watched their parents lose their homes,” he said. “These people saw their parents have to try to figure out everything they could to stay in their homes, so they’re beginning to ask themselves, really, is homeownership really all that?”

Despite what Pelletier called the generation’s “failure to launch,” the stats show millennials still plan on owning a home at some point.

“Everybody wants a home,” he said. “So this generation has failed to launch so far, but I think fundamentally it’s a reasonable expectation that they’re going to want a home.”

The results of a recent survey from NeighborWorks America on homeownership had similar findings, with 49% of respondents who have student loan debt saying it was an obstacle when it comes to purchasing a home.


For the full article from VPR, including audio, click here. For full results of the NeighborWorks survey click here.


Efficiency Vermont featured on VPR’s Vermont Edition

Posted June 5, 2013

Jim Merriam, director of Efficiency Vermont and Ludy Biddle, director of NeighborWorks of Western Vermont were featured on Vermont Public Radio’s Vermont Edition yesterday afternoon. Merriam and Biddle discussed Vermont’s energy efficiency programs and how they are administered statewide.

Link and listen to Vermont Edition story  


NeighborWorks Alliance of Vermont Uses Technology to Build Strong Network



“Burlington, VT – A grant made in the fall of 2011 following Tropical Storm Irene to strengthen and support five regional housing nonprofits working together as the NeighborWorks Alliance of Vermont is creating video conferencing capacity, the groups announced today. The $200,000 grant made by NeighborWorks America is also helping the organizations collaborate more effectively, be better able to deliver services statewide, assist in the ongoing needs of Vermonters affected by flooding and be prepared for responding to future disasters.

The announcement was made during NeighborWorks Week, an annual campaign by NeighborWorks America and its network of more than 240 local organizations mobilize tens of thousands of volunteers, businesspeople, neighbors, friends, and local and national elected and civic leaders in a week of neighborhood change and awareness.

The five housing groups – Champlain Housing Trust, RuralEdge, Central Vermont Community Land Trust, NeighborWorks of Western Vermont and Windham & Windsor Housing Trust – cover the entire state with home buyer education, financial literacy, credit counseling, home rehabilitation, disaster recovery and other programs. They are chartered members of NeighborWorks America and operate NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Centers…”

PDF of Full CHT Press Release


Green Mountain Power, Efficiency Vermont and NeighborWorks of Western Vermont join forces on energy efficiency work

Posted December 19, 2012

PRESS RELEASE by Dorothy Schnure, Green Mountain Power, December 7, 2012. Reposted from, December 10, 2012.

“COLCHESTER, VT…Green Mountain Power, Efficiency Vermont and NeighborWorks of Western Vermont today announced that the three organizations have entered into an agreement that will help to drive the research and development of electrical and thermal energy efficiency programs for Vermonters as well as support the ongoing study and implementation of smart grid technology, renewable energy sources and new vehicular energy options.”

Link to VTDIGGER Article

View PDF of VTDIGGER Article