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Posted October 31, 2017

VT Housing & Conservation Board
Manager of Federal Housing Programs
A s a member of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB) housing team, the Manager of Federal Housing Programs is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day administration of the HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME), the National Housing Trust Fund (HTF), Housing for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), and any other federal housing related programs, and for applications for continued funding for those programs. He/she leads the process for the development of annual allocation plans, all federal reporting, monitoring of recipients of federal awards, and ensuring that all awards are made and records are kept in compliance with all relevant federal rules and regulations. The Manager acts as a liaison between VHCB and federal housing funders. This position supervises the Federal Housing Programs Coordinator and Assistant positions.

Qualifications: The Manager of Federal Housing Programs should be familiar with federal housing policy and regulations as well as an understanding of the role of non-profits in an affordable housing delivery system. Experience working with non-profit organizations, state and federal agencies, and federally funded housing programs is important. Other qualifications include experience supervising staff and building and maintaining relationships with state and federal partners; experience managing a database and strong spreadsheet skills; writing and communication skills, ability to meet deadlines, attention to details, and the ability to be flexible and innovative, as appropriate. Familiarity with the principles of affordable housing finance a plus.

Comprehensive benefit package included.  Position requires occasional travel. Equal Opportunity Employer. Read the job description.

To Apply: Email letter of interest and resume to Laurie Graves,, by November 8, 2017.

VT State Housing Authority
Section 8 Field Representative

Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA) needs a professional individual to handle all field operations for Section 8/McKinney funded housing rental programs in Rutland County. Work with clients, landlords, community organizations; mediate issues; administer & enforce contracts with property owners; perform annual reexaminations of tenants & inspections of units under the program. Individual will be home-based & must reside in Rutland County. Extensive driving required. Cover letter and resume to: HR, VSHA, 1 Prospect St., Montpelier, VT 05602-3556. VSHA is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Full Job Description (pdf).

VT Housing Finance Agency
Development Underwriter

The Development Underwriter is responsible for comprehensive analysis of prospective multifamily housing and single family developments being considered for VHFA financing, tax credits, and other financing and special initiatives; underwrites Housing Credit applications and assists in the development of loan and Housing Credit policies and procedures and the administration of Federal and State Housing Credit Programs; assists the Director of Development in the administration of Development programs; serves as a high level resource for pertinent research and training of federal regulations, VHFA statutory requirements, and Multifamily rules and underwriting guidelines. The position will remain open until filled. Learn more about this position on the VHFA website.


VHCB Will Use $35 Million in Bond Funds to Address Vermont’s Housing Shortage

Posted June 28, 2017

Our friends at VHCB have asked us to pass along the good news on the new $35 million housing bond, which became law yesterday when Governor Scott signed the FY 18 Appropriations Act. This measure will have a tremendous impact on making safe, affordable housing available to low- and middle-income Vermonters. We are excited to work with all of our community partners as the process to develop new affordable homes moves forward. Many thanks to everyone who helped make this happen, from the Governor and his team, to the Speaker, Pro Tem and numerous key lawmakers, VHCB, VHFA, and all our community partners who helped advocate.


June 28, 2017
Contact: Gus Seelig, Executive Director, 828-3251,
Jen Hollar, Director of Policy and Special Projects: cell: 793-7346;

The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board will use $35 million in new funding for the creation of rental housing and home ownership opportunities for 550-650 low- and moderate-income Vermonters over the next two to three years. The bold, new initiative represents the largest state investment in housing in more than a decade.  It was first proposed by Governor Phil Scott in his January budget address, gained strong support in the legislature, and was signed into law today.

Governor Scott said, “When workers are unable to find adequate, affordable housing, economic growth is constrained. Vermont has a very low rate of rental vacancy and we need to increase access to homeownership. This effort will ratchet up the production of new housing to serve households at a wide range of incomes, spur economic growth, create jobs, and have a significant impact on Vermont’s supply of housing.”

Tim Ashe, President Pro Tempore of the Vermont Senate, said, “I’ve seen the housing shortage up close. In my time at Cathedral Square, we’d fill up new buildings within hours. Literally. So when I met with Governor Scott in November and we both expressed a strong interest in seeing more housing supply, I knew it was a matter of how we’d do it, not if we’d do it. I want to thank Senators Mullin, Sirotkin, Balint, Baruth, and Clarkson and Representative Head and her team for their hard work to see it to the finish line.”

Helen Head, Chair of the Vermont House General, Housing and Military Affairs Committee, said, “Vermont’s housing crunch has been well-documented. According to a study commissioned by the legislature last summer, we can reduce homelessness dramatically with a targeted approach, creating more housing with support services along with housing for the lowest income households. Middle income households also struggle to find housing. This housing initiative will address the needs of a wide range of Vermonters and we’re proud to support it.”

Gus Seelig, Executive Director of VHCB, said, “We appreciate the support of the Governor and the Legislative Leadership in advancing this exciting initiative.  The first 100 homes should be under construction across the state before the end of the year.”

The bond funds will be matched with state, federal, and private sources to leverage approximately $2-$3 for every one dollar of bond funds, resulting in $70-100 million in additional resources for housing development. Spending on affordable housing yields multiple benefits across the economy. The $35 million housing bond will also act as a stimulus package, generating millions of dollars of economic activity through the creation of jobs and the purchase of goods. At least 25% of the housing will be targeted to households with incomes below $35,000 and another 25% will be targeted to middle-income Vermonters earning $55,000-$83,000 annually (for 4-person households). The balance of the funds will be awarded to projects based on community needs, applications received and the availability of resources for leverage.

“Every night, our shelter, just like shelters across the state, is full of people who need and deserve a home,” said Sara Kobylenski, Executive Director of the Upper Valley Haven, based in White River Junction. “We have allowed ourselves to slide into an alarming housing deficit, and the most vulnerable people in our communities are suffering for it. The housing bond is a timely investment that will improve the lives of many Vermonters.”

“Housing construction is critical piece of our economic engine, and this proposal promises to create hundreds of good paying jobs. It’s also vital to employers who say time and time again how hard it is for their employees or prospective employees to find adequate, affordable housing,” said Tom Torti, President and CEO of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce and board member of the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS).

In collaboration with the Department of Housing and Community Development, VHCB is gathering input on the highest priority housing needs and potential projects in regional meetings across the state. VHCB will be accepting applications and funding developments for the construction and rehabilitation of rental housing and single-family homes with an emphasis on creating new homes.

The revenue bond will be issued by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency. It is expected to yield $33-34 million in proceeds and will be paid by a $2.5 million in annual revenue from the property transfer tax over 20 years, through 2039.

Sources: The Vermont Futures Project of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, January 2017; Roadmap to End Homelessness, The Corporation for Supportive Housing, December 2016; Vermont’s Statewide Housing Needs Assessment by Bowen National Research, 2014

VHCB makes loans and grants for the creation of affordable housing and the conservation of agricultural and recreational lands, forest land, natural areas and historic properties.

Read this synopsis of the Housing Revenue Bond Initiative.

Read more about the Governor’s budget and the housing bond from the Burlington Free Press.


Asset Management Training Opportunity – September 22nd in Randolph, VT

Posted July 26, 2016

A training for non-profit housing developers sponsored by VHCB Presented by Robert M. Santucci, Senior Consultant, Urban Renovation Consultants, Inc. Thursday, September 22, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Langevin House, Vermont Technical College, 599 Furnace Rd., Randolph

As many as 50% of nonprofit housing portfolios have serious asset management indicator shortfalls. Come to this training to learn how to assess your situation, make future projections, evaluate alternatives, and make strategic mid- and long-term plans for your real estate portfolio.

Session Objectives:
• Introduce the Asset Management Toolkit
• Recommend asset management plans
• Encourage rapid risk ranking
• Identify benchmarks and trends
• Offer one simple and one professional CNA planning

Audience: Owners, property managers, asset managers and funders of residential portfolios

Topics Learned: Asset management policy options; asset versus property management, benchmarking and risk analysis, CNAs

Toolkit: Extensive Excel spreadsheet to capture and project capital needs reserves, benchmarking templates; risk ranking templates; asset management plan format; asset management examples. Tools will be provided on a flashdrive along with a copy of Bob Santucci’s book, Asset Management Handbook for Real Estate Portfolios.

Register by Thursday, September 2: To register, please compete the attached form and send along with your payment to: Laurie Graves, VHCB, 58 E. State Street, Montpelier, VT 05602. Lunch is included. Questions? Require accessibility or dietary accommodations? email


VHCB Awards $4.06 Million for Rental Housing, Homeownership and Land Conservation

Posted May 13, 2016

On May 11, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board made funding commitments totaling $4,067,320 to 10 organizations to carry out projects in Burlington, South Burlington, Essex, Barre, Montpelier, Bennington, Arlington, Shaftsbury, Putney, Brattleboro, Athens, Rockingham, and Westminster. The VHCB funds will be used to construct or rehabilitate 172 affordable apartments, provide affordable homeownership to five households, conserve nearly 80 acres of land, and to restore an historic building.

Champlain ValleyThe City of Burlington, the Vermont Land Trust and the Champlain Housing Trust have reached agreement on a plan to protect 12 acres of open space and secure public access to Lake Champlain while also adding 149 affordable apartments.

“Yesterday’s funding commitment from VHCB is another major milestone in the achievement of the City of Burlington’s long-standing goals to preserve open space and create needed homes on this important community site, while creating new connections between the Old North End and the waterfront,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “Thank you to VHCB for this critical funding and crucial partnership in this community project.”

The 12-acre parcel, with a 900-foot sand beach, bluffs, woods and open fields, will be conserved by the Vermont Land Trust with $500,000 in VHCB funding. The parcel will be owned by the City and operated as a public park. Planned uses for the acreage include improved beach and bike path access, existing community gardens, a new playing field, and potential community use of Redstone Cottage, a historic stone building. Other funding for the conservation project came from the City’s Conservation Fund, private fundraising, foundation grants and a federal Land and Water Conservation Fund grant.

The conserved parcel was subdivided from 27 acres that was sold by Burlington College last year. On the remaining 15 acres, 660 homes will be built in a mixed-income development. The Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont will use a $700,000 VHCB award to construct 36 family rental apartments in the first phase of a 146-unit development on a 2-acre site along North Avenue. Additional affordable family and senior apartments and single family homes will be constructed on the site in four phases beginning in Spring 2017.

Cathedral Square Corporation will use $395,000 in federal HOME funds awarded by VHCB to construct 35 new apartments for seniors in the planned  new town center of South Burlington. Part of a larger development, the 4-floor building to be constructed by developers Snyder/Braverman and purchased by Cathedral Square will feature common areas, underground parking, shared kitchen facilities, lounge areas, laundry rooms, an exercise room and resident storage areas.  The site will be served by the SASH Program, which coordinates health care services for residents.

The Champlain Housing Trust will use $135,000 in VHCB funds to provide $27,000 purchase subsidies to five households buying affordable condominiums at Fort Ethan Allen in Essex. The five homes are among 31 units purchased by CHT from the University of Vermont in January 2016. Seventeen homes are located in the brick buildings along “Officer’s Row” that originally provided homes for sergeants and their families. There will be 19 affordable condominiums when rehabilitation (to include new flooring, paint, countertops and appliances) is complete.  The location is close to the bus line, shopping and services, and the open land at the Fort Ethan Allen parade grounds creates an attractive site for families.

Central Vermont – On Main Street in Montpelier, Downstreet Housing & Community Development and Housing Vermont will develop 18 apartments in the upper stories of the historic French Block, above Aubuchon Hardware.  The upper two floors have been vacant since the 1940s. The additional housing will help ease Montpelier’s tight rental market where the vacancy rate currently is around 1 percent.

Mayor John Hollar said, “This development is so important to the future of Montpelier. We are very, very pleased to be working with Downstreet on this opportunity to reclaim community space for affordable housing and continue our efforts to promote a vibrant downtown. ”

The apartments will require reconfiguration, new mechanical systems, insulation and structural work. Energy efficient water heaters, a heat pump system, LED lighting and air sealing will keep energy costs low. The mixture of one-bedroom and studio apartments will serve the large demand from one- and two-person households and the downtown location, with easy access to services and shopping, will be convenient for residents without cars. $600,000 in VHCB and HOME program funding will be complemented by Low-Income Housing and Historic Preservation tax credit equity and other funding sources. Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2017.

In Barre, behind the Socialist Party Labor Hall, a cultural and union organizing hub for Italian granite workers immigrating to Barre in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a new enterprise will be established on the site of a former bakery built by Italian labor union members. ReSource YouthBuild, Spaulding High School, the culinary arts program at Capstone Community Action and the Barre Historical Society will collaborate to offer teen dropouts an opportunity to gain skills—first by working on restoring the former bakery and building a wood-fired oven, and then by learning to bake at the reconditioned RiseUp Bakery, while also earning their diplomas. A VHCB grant of $50,000 to the Barre Historical Society will help with the first rehab phase to include flooring, roofing, masonry and window repairs.

Southern Vermont – In Bennington, Arlington and Shaftsbury, Shires Housing and Housing Vermont will use $325,154 in VHCB funding and $179,846 in federal HOME funds to redevelop three rental housing sites with 22 apartments. The apartments were acquired nearly 20 years ago. They will be refinanced and energy improvements and rehabilitation will bring the buildings to current standards, reducing operating costs and increasing comfort. Energy savings following the work are expected to total 50%-73% of the pre-rehab energy costs.

With a VHCB grant of $68,820, the Windham Hill Pinnacle Association will purchase and conserve 33 acres of forested land inAthens, Rockingham and Westminster. WHPA will donate a conservation easement on an adjacent, 35-acre parcel that they will purchase with locally raised funds. The lands will add to a 1,800-acre nature preserve with more than 20 miles of trails running along a ridgeline west of the Connecticut River. The trail system is used by schools, residents and visitors and the conserved lands protect a wide swath of wildlife habitat.

The Bradley House is a residential care home in a former mansion overlooking the Connecticut River in Brattleboro. With $504,000 in VHCB funding, the owners, Holton Homes, Inc., will work with the Cathedral Square Corporation to upgrade and expand the facility, adding a wing with seven additional rooms, a new kitchen and dining room. In the original mansion the rooms will be reconfigured to include private baths. The building will be well insulated and new windows and a biomass system will be added for heating and hot water. The home is located in a quiet residential neighborhood within one-half to two miles of the post office, library, hospital, banks and stores.

On a 5-acre site on Old Depot Road in Putney, the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust and Housing Vermont will use $495,000 in federal HOME program funds and $80,000 in VHCB funding to build 18 family rental apartments in three town-house style buildings. The site is served by public transportation and is within one-half mile of the Putney Food Coop, community gardens, the library, and a post office with easy access to the interstate highway. The energy efficient design will use a biomass system for heat and hot water. The buildings will be arranged around a central green. Also wrapped into this project is the redevelopment of Noyes House, an historic home on Kimball Hill, overlooking the village. The rooms will be reconfigured to create four, 1-bedroom apartments and three bedrooms with supportive services provided.

For a link to this press release, click here.


VHCB Commits $3.953 Million to Create and Rehabilitate 220 Homes in 8 Towns

Posted February 29, 2016

On Thursday, February 4, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board committed $3,953,500 to develop, rehabilitate and preserve 218 affordable homes in settings ranging from shared elderly housing in Rochester, to new construction in White River Junction, redevelopment of deteriorated public housing in Rutland, energy retrofit and rehabilitation of apartments in Bennington, Bradford, and Wilder, and mobile home parks in Hardwick and Ludlow. The VHCB commitments of state funding will leverage $32.6 million in other public and private funds.

VHCB Executive Director Gus Seelig said, “These investments will create 57 new, energy efficient homes in tight rental markets and rehabilitate and increase the energy efficiency of 163 apartments, renewing valuable housing resources for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. In addition to improving quality of life for renters and homeowners, these developments employ construction workers, excavators, plumbers, electricians, architects, engineers, and landscapers in communities around the state.”

White River Junction – Highly energy efficient apartments will be constructed at the intersection of Bridge and Main Streets in a downtown lot that has been vacant since 2005 following a fire. Railroad Row LLC, a private development corporation, will receive $500,000 in federal HOME funds awarded by VHCB to subsidize seventeen apartments. Project-based rental assistance provided by the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program through the Vermont State Housing Authority will make the apartments affordable to very low-income residents. The pedestrian-friendly site is in close proximity to public transportation options, shopping, services, and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. There is a high demand for housing in the White River Junction area, where the vacancy rate hovers at 1%.

Bennington – Housing Vermont and Shires Housing will complete rehabilitation and energy conservation work and refinance Applegate Apartments using $1,549,631 in VHCB and federal HOME funds in the $9.6 million redevelopment. Planned improvements will increase energy efficiency, affordability and accessibility and reduce operating expenses. A biomass heating system will be installed to serve the 104-unit apartment complex. Buildings will receive new windows, doors, siding, roofs and exterior insulation. Additionally, there will be repairs to sewer lines, upgrades to water lines, electrical upgrades, accessibility and code upgrades, improvements to roadways, sidewalks and parking areas.

Rutland – In the final phase in the redevelopment of Hickory Street (a former public housing project that was known as Forest Park), Housing Vermont and the Rutland Housing Authority will demolish 27 dilapidated apartments and construct 22 new apartments heated by a wood pellet system. The developers will use $265,000 in VHCB funding for the last phase of this 78-unit development. Installation of sewer and water, storm water and electric service for three single-family homes to be built by Rutland Habitat for Humanity on the east end of the development is included in the budget. In the course of redeveloping Forest Park, severe health threats have been addressed, the neighborhood has been revitalized, the number of homes has increased and the income mix has been altered to integrate households of various income levels, consistent with state housing policy.

Bradford – In a $2.45 million redevelopment using $350,000 in VHCB funds from the State of Vermont and $410,000 in federal HOME funding, Downstreet Housing & Community Development will rehabilitate four buildings at Colonial Village, a 21-apartment development with project-based rental assistance. Rehab will include new sidewalks and paving, new windows and energy efficiency upgrades including a wood pellet heating system. Accessibility improvements, new flooring, kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, new appliances, smoke detectors and water saving plumbing fixtures will be added, along with a new sprinkler system. Located within walking distance of the town center, Colonial Village provides housing for seniors, families, and individuals with disabilities.

Hardwick – In a pilot project, the Lamoille Housing Partnership (LHP) will use $578,000 in VHCB funds and a $1.3 million loan from USDA Rural Development to place 13 energy efficient modular homes at Evergreen Manor Mobile Home Park. LHP will rent the homes, which are built by VerMod in Wilder, Vermont, to eligible households. Solar photovoltaic panels will produce electricity and air source heat pumps will heat and cool the units, resulting in net-zero energy use.

Wilder – Twin Pines Housing Trust and Housing Vermont will rehabilitate the Briars, a 24-unit complex, using $345,000 in VHCB funding and a HOME award of $365,000. Constructed in 1988, the buildings require new roofs, furnaces and weatherization. Paving of parking areas, site drainage and grading, installation of water-saving showerheads and faucets, new handicap railings and attic venting are included in the scope of work. Addressing the capital needs of the buildings and reducing the energy usage will serve the buildings for many years to come. The number of affordable units will be increased as well. In a partnership with the Upper Valley Haven, Twin Pines leases two units to formerly homeless households.

Rochester – Park House is a shared housing residence for 14 seniors located in the center of the village that will use $250,000 in VHCB funds to address health and safety code requirements including installing a sprinkler system and upgrading fire alarm and elevator. Park House was developed in 1990 and has housed 140 frail elders since that time. Future work will address energy efficiency needs.

Ludlow – Using $85,000 in VHCB funding, the Housing Trust of Rutland County will subsidize two new homes to be located on vacant lots in the Tuckerville Mobile Home Park. One home will be a conventional, Energy Star-rated home and one will be an energy efficient modular home built by VerMod.

Other commitments made at the meeting were $225,500 to the Upper Valley Land Trust to conserve 60 acres of farmland in Norwich, support for the Support and Services at Home (SASH) program that coordinates health care services for elders at housing sites ($35,000), and feasibility funding for projects in the early stages of development ($45,000).

For a link to the full press release, click here.


Senator Leahy Brings Program HOME

Posted January 11, 2016

By Gus Seelig, Executive Director, Vermont Housing & Conservation Board

Last summer, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy helped break ground in Brattleboro for Red Clover Commons – 55 new apartments to replace housing for seniors and persons with disabilities that was severely damaged by Tropical Storm Irene and remains in harm’s way. In the fall, Governor Peter Shumlin was in Waterbury to hand keys to Tim and Aimee Smith along with their two young sons. Mr. Smith works in Vermont’s growing energy sector and was delighted to find an affordable home at the new South Main Apartments. These developments, along with 28 new homes in Woodstock, 14 new units for seniors in a historic building in Rutland, 28 renovated apartments in the heart of Lyndonville, 23 apartments under construction in Hinesburg and 24 units planned in Bennington, have much in common. They all provide housing lower-income Vermonters can afford and all were made possible by state funding from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board that was matched by a federal program called “HOME.”

The recent good news of a budget compromise in Washington includes the survival of the HOME Investment Partnership Program, which was nearly eliminated. It is easy to get discouraged by the recurring impasse in D.C. and it can be difficult to follow the alphabet soup of program acronyms. But it is essential for Vermonters to understand how critical federal housing dollars are to the state’s ability to create and fund housing developments that help communities revitalize and grow. Tight rental markets are severely limiting housing availability in many parts of the state. Vermont is battling homelessness and we need to produce more homes for our workforce. Calls for more housing are getting louder and come from the business community as well as educators, advocates and others. Vermont’s ability to respond greatly depends on federal funding.

For more than 20 years, Senator Leahy has steadfastly supported HOME and the Community Development Block Grant, another program crucial to rural communities. Each year he gathers support from his fellow senators and advocates for the programs from his seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee. He also works with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure these programs are well attuned to Vermont. This year the House dramatically reduced and the Senate at first acted to virtually eliminate the HOME Program. Senator Leahy and his exceptional staff led the successful fight to restore funding and save the program.

Governor Peter Shumlin joined this effort. He worked other New England Governors, Republican and Democrat alike, in urging Congress to support HOME. The Vermont Mayors Coalition also weighed in to explain how vital the program is to their communities.

Construction crews are now building 28 new affordable apartments in downtown Barre. It is unlikely the project would have moved forward without the HOME program. In Montpelier, plans are in the works to create housing in the upper floors of the French Block on Main Street. These and similar opportunities around the state will not be realized without state and federal investments, including through HOME.

Throughout his career, Senator Leahy has used his seniority, political acumen, strategic ability and alliances to champion community development and housing programs important to Vermont. The victory on HOME is likely to translate to more than $15 million in federal housing funds for Vermont over the next five years, enabling approximately 30 housing developments totaling more than 1,000 new units and creating thousands of jobs. This is great news to begin the new year. Senator Leahy deserves all our thanks for his quiet and effective work to bring HOME back to Vermonters and their communities.

For a full copy of this press release from the VHCB as well as photos, click here.

(Ground breaking at Red Clover Commons in Brattleboro. Left to right, Gus Seelig, Executive Director, VHCB; Chris Hart, Executive Director, Brattleboro Housing Authority; Senator Patrick Leahy)


Video: Vermont Housing & Conservation Board Fall Conference: ‘Envisioning Vermont 2025’

Posted October 22, 2015

If you missed this month’s Vermont Housing & Conservation Board Conference, ‘Envisioning Vermont 2025,′ you can view the opening of the event which includes a keynote speech from Nancy Stangle, Emerita Director and co-founder, Athens Land Trust, Georgia and the plenary session ‘Building Equity and Resilience in Vermont Communities’ in the embedded video below or at


VT Digger Reports on 2015 VHCB Conference

Posted October 7, 2015

Yesterday the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board held its conference in Burlington. Titled “Envisioning Vermont 2025: Challenges for the Next Decade,” the conference highlighted themes of social justice and collaboration. Below is an excerpt from a report on the conference by Mark Johnson of VT Digger:

Advocates for affordable housing and land conservation wrestled Tuesday with how to collaborate better among themselves and with other social service agencies, as well as how to generate more public understanding and enthusiasm for their work.

While applauding the work that’s been done by the Vermont Housing Conservation Board, speakers at a VHCB conference in Burlington agreed more needs to be done, particularly in affordable housing. They noted that places like Burlington have a 1 percent vacancy rate for renters, with demand outstripping supply and keeping rents high. They also noted home prices make buying a home unaffordable for many, even where two adults are working, and that homelessness has increased.

The Legislature created the VHCB in 1987. Its mission is to help create affordable housing, conserve agricultural and recreation lands, forestland, natural areas and historic properties. Executive Director Gus Seelig said the organization has been able to help leverage more than $1 billion in public and private funding in 28 years for Vermont’s nonprofit housing and conservation organizations.

Since its inception, the trust has received more than $270 million in funding from the state through a dedicated part of the property transfer tax receipts. The group says it has helped keep more than 11,000 homes affordable in Vermont and conserved approximately 400,000 acres of farm, recreational and natural lands.

Many of the more than 200 people who attended the conference framed their work in a broader context, beyond their specific issue, as an effort to promote “social justice.” Instead of viewing me as a housing specialist, said one, view me as someone trying to improve the community.

To continue reading, click here.


Vermont to Receive $3.2 Million Grant to Protect Children From Lead Poisoning

Posted September 30, 2015

The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board announced that Vermont will receive a $3.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to continue the State’s Lead Hazard Reduction Program. The funds will be used to control lead paint hazards in the homes of low-income families and to raise awareness about this common and dangerous toxin still found in the majority of Vermont homes.

Program Director Ron Rupp said, “Lead poisoning remains the number one environmental threat to young children, causing permanent neurological and behavioral problems and lowering IQs. Vermont has some of the oldest housing in the United States, much of it containing lead paint hazards, and these funds will be used to make homes safe for families with young children.”

Prevention efforts will also include outreach and public education activities conducted by the Vermont Department of Health and other partners. The award includes $325,000 of Healthy Homes funding to address other health and safety issues in homes undergoing lead paint hazard abatement.

“Too many children in Vermont, and across the country, have been harmed by ingesting lead in their homes. Prevention, by making homes safe before kids get poisoned, is the key to addressing this solvable problem” said Senator Patrick Leahy.

Senator Bernie Sanders said, “Few things are more important than making sure children grow up in healthy and safe homes. More needs to be done to protect children from lead and other hazardous substances.”

Since 1994 the Vermont Lead Hazard Reduction Program at VHCB has addressed lead hazards in approximately 2,400 homes and apartments throughout the State. The program also provides lead safety training to property owners, contractors and child care providers and conducts outreach and public education efforts to prevent lead poisoning. Eligible properties receive free services in the form of testing, risk assessment, work plans, construction oversight, and clearance testing. Homeowners and landlords are eligible for grants and deferred loans to pay certified contractors. To learn more and apply, visit: or call (802) 828-5064.

A number of state and federal regulations require property owners and contractors to deal safely with lead paint and prevent the creation of lead-contaminated dust, the most common pathway for childhood lead exposure. Adults can be at risk as well from exposure at work or from certain hobbies. More information about applicable regulations and ways to prevent lead poisoning can be found at

HUD Secretary Julián Castro said, “Every family deserves to live in a safe and healthy home where they can see their children thrive and excel. Communities will use these grants to help eliminate home-related hazards in neighborhoods across the country. A healthy home is vital to the American Dream.”

Unsafe and unhealthy homes affect the health of millions of people of all income levels, geographic areas, and walks of life in the U.S. These unsafe and unhealthy homes affect the economy directly, through increased utilization of health care services, and indirectly through lost wages and increased school days missed. Housing improvements help prevent injuries and illnesses, reduce associated health care and social services costs, reduce absentee rates for children in school and adults at work, and reduce stress, all which help to improve the quality of life.


Deputy Housing Commissioner Jennifer Hollar Hired by VHCB

Posted September 29, 2015

Below is an excerpt of an article written by by Timothy McQuiston for Vermont Business Magazine regarding Deputy Housing Commissioner Jennifer Hollar leaving her position with the state government to work for the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, which also highlights some of the work that the VHCB does throughout the state.

Deputy Housing Commissioner Jennifer Hollar is leaving her position in state government to work for the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board in Montpelier. Already experienced in community housing efforts, Hollar was among the first appointments of the Shumlin Administration and an important member of the team dedicated to the recovery efforts after Tropical Storm Irene hit in late August 2011. Hollar is stepping down at the end of September and will join VHCB November 1.

Governor Peter Shumlin said in a statement: “Jen has been a great asset to the state of Vermont. Her efforts to expand affordable housing options for Vermonters have strengthened our downtowns and economy. She is a tireless advocate for affordable housing and has magically moved the levers of government to make things happen. Jen is bright, dedicated, and results-oriented. She will be missed but I know she’ll continue to do great things for Vermont at VHCB.”

Similar to how the Vermont Economic Development Authority and the Vermont Student Assistance Corp are organized, VHCB is a quasi-public entity whose board is appointed by members of both the administration and the Legislature. Its mission statement, in part, says, “The dual goals of creating affordable housing for Vermonters, and conserving and protecting Vermont’s agricultural land, forestland, historic properties, important natural areas, and recreational lands are of primary importance to the economic vitality and quality of life of the State.”

To continue reading the article, click here.


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