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New Increased Income Limits for USDA Rural Development’s Single Family Housing Programs in Vermont

Posted June 28, 2016

USDA Rural Development has launched a Two-Tiered Income Limit Pilot for the Single Family Housing Programs in Vermont.  The pilot bands together the income limits of households with 1-4 members and with 5-8 members.  This banding significantly increases the range of households eligible for Rural Development’s Direct Home Loan Program and the Home Repair Loan and Grant Program.

More households are now able to apply for Rural Development’s affordable home financing.

Download the Vermont 504 Family Income Limit Worksheet.

Download the 502 Direct Home Loan Family Income Limit Worksheet.

Download the 502 Guaranteed Home Loan Family Income Limit Worksheet.

For more details on income banding in Vermont, review Rural Housing Service’s unnumbered letter or contact a Rural Development Housing Specialist in your region.

 



USDA Rural Development and Windham & Windsor Housing Trust Highlight Energy Efficient Modular Homes for Homeownership Month

Posted June 22, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Windham & Windsor Housing Trust (WWHT) celebrated National Homeownership Month at Putney resident Dennis Miller’s new home at Locust Hill Mobile Home Park Tuesday. Miller is the first homeowner to purchase an energy efficient modular home through USDA Rural Development’s Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Pilot Program.

“Manufactured homes have long offered an affordable housing option for many Vermonters, however older manufactured homes often have high maintenance and operational costs,” said Ted Brady, USDA Rural Development Vermont and New Hampshire State Director. “The energy cost savings of new manufactured and modular homes, combined with USDA’s long-term, low-rate, no-down-payment mortgages, offer existing and potential manufactured housing park residents new financing opportunities.”

Miller, a Putney resident employed by the Putney School, purchased a Vermont-made Net Zero Energy Capable VERMOD and placed it in the Locust Hill Mobile Home Park owned by Windham & Windsor Housing Trust. Miller’s purchase, coordinated by Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, was completed with financial support from Champlain Housing Trust, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Efficiency Vermont and USDA Rural Development.

USDA Rural Development’s Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Pilot Program allows low income homebuyers to purchase a high-performance modular or manufactured home in a manufactured home park using a 30 to 33-year mortgage at 3 percent. Very low income homebuyers may be eligible for an interest subsidy down to 1 percent. Brady noted that park tenants seeking a mortgage to purchase a new home and site it on a leased manufactured park lot traditionally face short-term, high-interest mortgages.

Two models of high-performance homes have been approved for purchase through the pilot program, the Better Homes AHEAD Manufactured Home and the VERMOD modular home. Homeowners in Rural Development-approved parks are eligible for participation in the program. More information on Rural Development’s Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Pilot Program can be found on the Rural Development website or by contacting Jill Chapman at (802) 828-6022 or by email at jill.chapman@vt.usda.gov.

Rural Development and Windham & Windsor Housing Trust celebrated Miller’s new home and Homeownership Month during a service project in the Locust Hill Mobile Home Park. Park residents and community members joined staff in cleaning the park and in planting a community garden.

 



Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation Receives USDA Funding To Advance Economic Growth in Southern Vermont

Posted May 25, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) received a $230,000 grant Friday to bolster economic development in 11 Windham and Bennington communities. BDCC will provide technical assistance to local non-profits and long term strategic economic development planning for the region with the funding.

“The Southern Vermont Economy Project seeks to engage the relationships built during the post Irene recovery and enhance the capacity of these on-the-ground organizations to deliver economic development services to areas in need,” said USDA Rural Development Vermont and New Hampshire State Director Ted Brady. “BDCC recognizes that communities are stronger together than apart and will use this project to rebuild southern Vermont’s economic foundation.”

BDCC’s Executive Director Adam Grinold said that the Southern Vermont Economy Project will focus its efforts on community economic development over the course of two years. With the grant, the non-profit will hire an economic development professional to provide technical support in Rupert, Peru, Searsburg, Readsboro, Bennington, Rockingham, Bellows Falls, Wardsboro, Marlboro, Halifax and Brattleboro. In 2015 the Vermont Legislature created the Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone.  The BDCC will invest these funds  to help build a framework for regional cooperation by and between public sector and private sector partners within the zone concerning economic development initiatives; workforce training, retention, and recruitment; and sustainable business investment.  Executive Director Grinold further explains, “We look forward to working closely with the many organizations across Southern Vermont, helping align their efforts where appropriate, aiming to reduce redundancies and improve efficiency across the region”

USDA Rural Development funded BDCC’s project through the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) grant program that supports non-profit organizations in improving housing, community facilities, and community and economic development in rural areas.  BDCC was one of 23 organizations nationwide to receive part of more than $4 million in funding announced Friday. The USDA is currently accepting applications for the RCDI program.  For the 2016 grant application and more information on the RCDI program visit http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-community-development-initiative-grants.

 



USDA Rural Development Housing Preservation Grants, Call for Applications

Posted January 20, 2016

USDA Rural Development has Housing Preservation Grant Funds Available – Grant Application Deadline: March 15

USDA Rural Development is currently accepting Housing Preservation Grant applications.  This program provides grants to sponsoring organizations for the repair or rehabilitation of housing occupied by low and very low income people.

Eligible projects include:

  • Repairing or replacing electrical wiring, foundations, roofs, heating systems, water and waste disposal systems
  • Handicap accessibility features
  • Labor and materials
  • Administrative expenses
  • Other projects may be eligible, please contact Rural Development with eligibility questions

For more information on this program, please visit the websites for Vermont and New Hampshire or view the compete Notice of Solicitation of Applications.  (Please note that the current version of the NOSA references an earlier deadline.  This deadline has been extended from February 12 to March 15.  A new NOSA will be published with the updated date by the end of January.)

          *Projects which serve Caledonia, Essex and Orleans counties are encouraged to apply due to the availability of funds in the REAP Zone set aside for those counties.

          **All applications require a 15 day public comment period before they can be summited for review.

            Who may apply: Most state and local governmental entities, nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized tribes.

How to apply: Contact your local USDA Rural Development office to discuss your project with a program specialist and to obtain a hard copy of the application.  Apply online atwww.grants.gov.

Vermont State Contact              
Clint Furlow – Multi-Family Housing Specialist
Clinton.furlow@vt.usda.gov, (802) 828-6028
USDA Rural Development Vermont

New Hampshire State Contact
Heather Malone – Multi-Family Housing Specialist
Heather.malone@nh.usda.gov, (602) 223-6046
USDA Rural Development New Hampshire

 



Leahy, Sanders, Welch And Gov. Shumlin Announce $46 M. In USDA Guaranteed Loan For New Energy Efficiency Program

Posted January 11, 2016

Senator Patrick Leahy, Governor Peter Shumlin and representatives of Senator Sanders and Congressman Welch were joined by United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Burlington Friday to announce a $46 million federal loan program to bolster investments in energy efficiency and renewable power projects across Vermont. Administered by the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) with funds provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the new program will provide loans to individuals, small businesses and town governments to support a broad range of energy improvement projects.

In a joint statement, Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, Congressman Welch and Governor Shumlin said: “Vermonters have long led on energy efficiency because they know it is good for the planet and for their pocketbooks. Vermonters will now have a more affordable way to improve the efficiency of their homes allowing them to spend less on energy costs. The program will create jobs in Vermont at renewable energy companies and installers.” Leahy is a leading member and former chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which oversees USDA.

VEIC Executive Director Scott Johnstone said: “Our history of delivering results and driving innovations through Efficiency Vermont gives VEIC the experience, technical expertise and partnerships to leverage this loan capital, helping Vermonters access low-cost capital to complete clean energy projects,” said Scott Johnstone, Executive Director of VEIC. “We are especially excited by the potential of this program to help more low- and middle-income customers access affordable financing.”

Secretary Vilsack said: “This USDA assistance will reduce barriers to energy investments by lowering the upfront costs, spreading these costs over 20 years, and by making financing more available. It also will help residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial consumers in rural Vermont reduce energy use and meet state and national energy goals.”

Over the next four years, the program will be the first large-scale statewide implementation of the RUS Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program (EECLP) in the country. VEIC, as the operator of Efficiency Vermont, will work with utility companies, financial institutions, contractors, public organizations and government agencies, to offer long-term, low-interest loans for consumers to make efficiency upgrades. These can include weatherization improvements, high efficiency lighting, conversion to renewable energy sources like consumer-scale solar power, and HVAC improvements. EECLP was created in 2014 by USDA under the direction of Congress, by making $250 million in loans available in its first year with the goal of creating a more sustainable domestic energy sector and reducing barriers to investment in energy efficiency. The program is expected to be launched later this year.

The benefits of accomplishing these improvements include helping to reduce consumption of electricity, alleviating poverty by lowering Vermonters’ electric bills, creating good local jobs to make these improvements, improving residents’ health and wellness, improving property values, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing competitiveness of farms and businesses. These improvements are especially important for Vermont’s low and middle income households which spend higher percentages of their income on energy costs, which becomes more challenging when energy bills rise.

For a link to this press release, click here.

 



West Lebanon Apartment Complex Preserved After USDA Loan

Posted November 24, 2015

Twin Pines Housing Trust recently purchased the former Pine Tree Lane and Beechwood Lane apartments — now known as the Village at Crafts Hill — with a $6.8 million loan from the USDA Rural Development program, preserving 88 rent-subsidized units in the Upper Valley. Below is an excerpt from a WCAX report on the story:

Tenants of a low income housing complex in West Lebanon were running out of time and options. They were at risk of losing their homes, but now their worries are now over.

“Your homes have been preserved, and they’ve been preserved for the next 30 years,” said Ted Brady, United States Department of Agriculture.

Sighs of relief from the tenants of Pine Tree Lane apartments. This was news they thought would never come.

“I don’t have to move anything. Thank God,” said Anne Hughes, resident.

WCAX first met Hughes in April, just days after she and more than a hundred other tenants of Pine Tree Lane apartments received notes explaining the apartment’s rental assistance contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development was due to expire. By December 31, 2015, Hughes and all of her neighbors, either had to provide full rental payment or move out.

“I filled out applications. Waited and waited,” said Hughes.

Things weren’t looking up. Hughes said there weren’t many options for her in the Upper Valley.

“They all want more than the apartment’s worth and they want a security deposit and they want the first months and the last month’s rent. And I’m on disability, Social Security doesn’t give you a whole lot,” said Hughes.

As the December deadline inched closer, many of her neighbors moved out. Hughes says she was starting to lose hope when she got word that someone was looking out for them.

“When we heard in April that Pine Tree might be lost as affordable housing, we knew instinctively that we needed to be part of the solution,” said Andrew Winter, Twin Pines Housing Trust.

Twin Pines Housing Trust used a $6.7 million USDA loan to purchase the 50-unit Pine Tree Lane and adjacent 50-unit Beechwood Lane apartment complexes. Residents of the two complexes will receive subsidized assistance and be able to stay in their homes.

“When a community cares enough about their own well-being, their own safety and protection and their own home and hearth to come together to save it, I’m just proud to be a part of that,” said Rep. Ann Kuster, D-New Hampshire.

The name of the complex will change. It will be called the “Village at Crafts Hill.” Residents who currently live there, like Hughes, will have to update their addresses. She says compared to losing her home, that’s a minor inconvenience.

“This is beyond awesome,” said Hughes.

To view the full story, including video, click here.

For the Valley News report, click here.

 



USDA Supports the Repair and Rehabilitation of Rural Housing – Seven Vermont and New Hampshire Housing Organizations Receive Grants

Posted November 2, 2015

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will assist a projected 77 Vermont and New Hampshire households perform necessary repairs and upgrades on their homes through its Housing Preservation Grant program. The USDA announced that it awarded $450,000 in grants to seven organizations which will use the funds to support low-income households undertake projects to increase the safety and quality of their homes.

“Working families, the elderly and the disabled often face considerable financial constraints which prevent them from preserving the quality of their homes through investing in vital home repair and maintenance projects,” said USDA Rural Development Vermont and New Hampshire State Director Ted Brady. “Through this program, the USDA is able to partner with qualified local organizations which can identify households in need within their communities and assist them in creating safer, more affordable and more accessible homes in rural Vermont and New Hampshire.”

Two New Hampshire non-profits and five Vermont non-profits received Housing Preservation Grants ranging from $25,000 to $150,000. The non-profits will make grants and loans to low-income homeowners to assist with weatherization and energy efficiency upgrades to increase housing affordability, accessibility enhancements to allow elderly and disabled residents to live independently, and basic home repairs to increase the health and safety of the region’s housing stock.

Northeast Employment and Training Organization, Inc. of Newport, Vt. received a grant of $150,000 to assist 20 very-low-income households conduct preservation and weatherization repairs to houses in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Two other recipient organizations, Vermont Center for Independent Living of Montpelier and Rural Edge of Lyndonville received $100,000 each to serve Northeast Kingdom households. The three organizations benefited from the Northeast Kingdom’s designation as a Rural Economic Area Partnership Zone, recently reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, which provides the region with a designated set aside of USDA Rural Development funding because of its unique rurality.

Two other Vermont organizations each received $25,000: Southeastern Vermont Community Action serving Windham and Windsor counties and Champlain Housing Trust serving Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties. In New Hampshire, Community Action Program of Belknap-Merrimack Counties, Inc. and Southwestern Community Service, Inc. each received $25,000.

In 2015, USDA Rural Development invested $3.7 million nationwide to help rural families repair and rehabilitate their homes through the Housing Preservation Grant program.

Low income homeowners interested in accessing the funding should contact the recipient organization directly or call their local USDA Rural Development Office.

 



USDA Needs Your Help Identifying Housing Loan Applicants

Posted August 28, 2015

USDA Rural Development needs your assistance helping 100 low income and working class families purchase a home or make home repairs by October 1. USDA currently has single family direct loan funding and housing repair loan funding available.

USDA Rural Development State Director Ted Brady has set a goal of making 100 new single family direct housing loans and housing repair loans before the end of the fiscal year. Loan specialists and technicians are working extended hours in an effort to expedite loan obligations before the end of the federal fiscal year.

The direct loan program is ideal for low income families – with annual income below approximately $60,000* – considering a home purchase. The direct loan program has many advantages:

  • No down payment required
  • No private mortgage insurance
  • No first-time homebuyer requirement
  • Low fixed interest rate of 3.5 percent
  • Subsidized interest rate of 1 percent for very low income families
  • 33 year term (38 for very low income applicants)
  • Direct underwriting with a professional and motivated USDA staff member

Home owners with income below 50 percent of the median area household income – approximately $35,000* – may be eligible for a 20 year, 1 percent, fixed-interest rate repair loan to fix foundations, wells, septic tanks, roofs, HVAC systems, energy efficiency repairs, renewable energy installations, electrical work, and much more.

Please contact the USDA Rural Development Area Office near you for further infomation or an application package. Visit www.rd.usda.gov/programs-swervices/single-family-housing-direct-home-loans or contact one of the following staff members.

In New Hampshire
Coos, Grafton and Carroll Counties:
Theresa Zowasky (603) 447-3318 x200
theresa.zowasky@nh.usda.gov

Central and Southern New Hampshire:
Roseanna Woodin (603) 223-6035
roseanna.woodin@nh.usda.gov

In Vermont
Addison, Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, and Washington Counties:
Karen Anthony (802) 828-6005
karen.anthony@vt.usda.gov

Bennington, Rutland, Windham, and Windsor Counties:
Rosemary Saunders (802) 257-7878 x108
rosemary.saunders@vt.usda.gov

 



New, Long-Term Affordable Mortgages Available for Mobile Home Park Residents

Posted July 2, 2015

The nation’s top rural housing official joined U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy Tuesday to announce the availability of United States Department of Agriculture mortgages for Vermonters who want to purchase a Vermont-made, energy-efficient modular home. The mortgage is the first of its kind for residents of mobile home parks, where home buyers face high interest rates and short loan terms.

“Often, the most accessible affordable housing option for a rural family is a manufactured home,” said USDA Rural Housing Service Administrator Tony Hernandez. “However, limited financing options, aging manufactured housing stock, and heating costs can make owning a manufactured home challenging. This demonstration program will prove that today’s new energy efficient manufactured and modular homes are a lower risk for lenders, a safe and affordable option for rural families, and are better for the environment.”

“Living in an energy efficient home or one with healthy air quality should not primarily be an affordability issue,” said Leahy. “That is why I am proud to stand with Administrator Hernandez, our housing and energy leaders, and philanthropic partners to announce a new financing opportunity for Vermont’s mobile home owners. The USDA Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Pilot Program is one way in which our state can help support middle-class homeowners who still need relief, and working families who dream of affording and owning their own homes.”

During a news conference at the Shelburnewood Mobile Home Park Tuesday, Rural Housing Service Administrator Tony Hernandez and Leahy toured an energy-efficient modular home eligible for the new loan program. The home, manufactured by Vermod of Wilder, Vermont, is owned by Cathedral Square Corporation, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating housing and communities for seniors and people with disabilities. The organization is using the home as a model and plans to sell it to an eligible borrower next year.

The Net Zero Energy Capable Vermod, made in Wilder, Vermont, is a high-performance modular home and was designed as part of the Manufactured Housing Innovation Project (MHIP), a collaboration between the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Efficiency Vermont, the University of Vermont, and the High Meadows Fund. The organizations aimed to design a more resilient manufactured home that could withstand severe weather events such as Tropical Storm Irene (2011). More than 15 percent of the homes damaged during Irene were manufactured homes, despite the fact that they make up only 7 percent of Vermont’s housing stock.

Under the USDA Energy Efficiency Manufactured Home Pilot Program, a low income home-buyer interested in purchasing a high-performance modular home, like the one on display in Shelburne, and placing it in a mobile home park would be eligible for a 30-year mortgage at a 3.25 percent rate. Very low income home buyers may be eligible for an interest subsidy down to 1 percent.

The monthly mortgage payment on such a home (after the owner applies for and receives incentives from Efficiency Vermont and a deferred payment loan from the Champlain Housing Trust) could be as low as $387 a month for low-income qualifying home buyers.

According to Efficiency Vermont, that monthly payment would be only slightly more than many manufactured home owners currently pay each month for heat and electricity. Efficiency Vermont estimates that an owner of a manufactured home made prior to 1976, when new construction and safety standards were put in place, pays approximately $3,800 a year for heat and electricity. Efficiency Vermont estimates that a high-performance modular home, like the Vermod equipped with solar panels, would cost a homeowner approximately $180 a year for heat and electricity.

The Net Zero Energy Capable Vermod currently sells for about $131,000, which includes the cost of the home, site work, foundation, set up costs and all appliances. Efficiency Vermont’s incentives and Champlain Housing Trust’s deferred loan can reduce the total USDA mortgage of the Net Zero Energy Capable Vermod to as low as $89,000.

USDA, through its RD mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $210 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas.

For more information on Rural Development or to inquire about the Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Pilot Program, visit rd.usda.gov/vt or call (802) 828-6000.

To read about Administrator Herandez’s visit to the Vermont Housing Finance Agency visit their blog here.

 



USDA RD Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Pilot Project Conference Call July 8th

Posted June 23, 2015

USDA Rural Development invites you to learn more about their new new Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Pilot Project. The Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Pilot Project allows USDA Rural Development to finance the purchase of energy efficiency manufactured and modular homes in mobile home parks across Vermont and New Hampshire. Homebuyers will be able to purchase approved Energy Star compliant manufactured homes with no money down and favorable rates and terms (30 year fixed interest loans as low as 1 percent interest rates).

On Wednesday, July 8, at 2:00pm USDA Rural Development will host an hour-long conference call to explain the benefits of the program in detail and answer any questions you might have. Call-in instructions can be found below. While RSVPs are not required, space is limited and we plan to share additional information before the meeting. To RSVP, send an email to benjamin.doyle@vt.usda.gov with the names and contact information of people in your party.

Call-in Instructions: At the designated time, call 888-844-9904. When prompted, enter the access code: 8785230.

 



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