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Job Posting – Chittenden Homeless Alliance Coordinator – VHFA

Posted February 6, 2017

As primary staff member of the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance, supports the administrative work under the direction of the Steering Committee.


  • Work as staff to and under the direction of its Steering Committee. This includes managing meeting schedules, agenda and minutes.
  • Establish a process for distribution and retention of Alliance documents.
  • Develop strong working relationships with members and partners of the Alliance.
  • Attend all Alliance meetings, including but not limited to the Steering Committee, Coordinated Entry, Strategic Planning, and NOFA Committee.
  • Take minutes in consistent format and distribute appropriately.
  • Research information for the committees, as requested.
  • Support quarterly meeting, including attendance, publicity, location, set up and refreshments.
  • Responsible for maintaining the Alliance’s web presence and mailing lists, including email.
  • Orientate new members of the Alliance. Establish a consistent process and content for such.
  • Create and manage electronic Google documents.
  • Other duties as assigned.

See full job description and contact information.


VHFA Awards Millions In Tax Credits For Affordable Housing:

Posted April 22, 2016

On Monday, April 18, the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) Board of Commissioners committed federal low-income housing tax credits and state affordable housing tax credits that will provide almost $25 million in upfront equity to construct and renovate housing for low-income Vermonters and will increase permanent supportive housing for people who were formerly homeless. The $2.578 million in 10 year federal credits and $400,000 in five year state credits support 356 rental homes in 11 communities across the state.

“This year VHFA recognized the urgent need among our most vulnerable neighbors – the homeless – and we revised the state’s qualified allocation plan (QAP) which governs the allocation of these tax credits to give priority to applications that create permanent supportive housing,” explained Sarah Carpenter, Executive Director of VHFA. “One quarter of the federal housing credits will fund 31 units dedicated to people who were formerly homeless. It is clear that this policy change has been successful in helping to create permanent homes for Vermonters who are homeless,” she continued. “Unfortunately we were not able to fund four projects that could have provided an additional 157 affordable housing units.”

The investments made by VHFA today will add new homes to the market in Burlington, White River Junction, and Montpelier. They will also totally renovate and secure the long-term affordability of existing housing in Rutland, Marshfield, Bennington, Shaftsbury and Arlington. All of the units utilize green building and design standards, and will be highly energy efficient.

In Rutland, the third and final phase of redeveloping the former Forest Park federal public housing complex, now called Hickory Street, will redevelop 22 apartments for low income Vermonters spread over three newly constructed buildings. The project will be developed by the Rutland Housing Authority and Housing Vermont.

On Burlington’s North Avenue, Phase 1 of a large scale project will create 31 apartments for low income Vermonters and five additional market rate units. Champlain Housing Trust, Housing Vermont, and Farrell Real Estate will partner in this effort.

In downtown White River Junction, a building with 16 units for low income Vermonters will be constructed. The mixed-use project called Bridge and Main will also create one market rate rental apartment and ground level commercial rental space. The development was proposed by Bill Bittinger and Associates.

The historic French Block building in downtown Montpelier will be redeveloped to include 14 apartments for low income Vermont renters and 4 market rate apartments. The development is sponsored by a partnership between Downstreet Housing and Community Development and Housing Vermont.

The Hollister Hill project is a complete redevelopment of 16 existing apartments on 6.6 acres near the center of Plainfield although it’s technically in Marshfield. All the units have rental assistance and will be affordable to extremely low income Vermonters according to the owner, Housing Foundation Inc.

Finally, 22 units were funded to redevelop and preserve the affordability of two existing projects in Bennington county. The new project, called Battenkill North, is a scattered site project with units in Bennington, Shaftsbury and Arlington. The project will be developed as a partnership between Shires Housing and Housing Vermont.

At the same meeting VHFA’s Board of Commissioners also awarded the annual amount of Vermont State Housing Tax Credits available for multifamily rental developments. One of those projects, Hickory Street phase three in Rutland, also received federal housing credits described above. The other projects receiving state housing credits were all acquisition/rehabilitation efforts:

· The Briars, 24 units in Wilder by Twin Pines Housing Trust;

· Colonial Village, 21 units in Bradford by Downstreet Housing;

· Applegate, 104 units in Bennington by Housing Vermont;

· South Meadow, 64 units in Burlington by Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont; and

· Sugarwood, 12 units in Middlebury by Green Mountain Development Corp.

In addition to the equity created by the allocation of these housing credits, other funding sources needed for these projects include the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the federal HOME program, Affordable Housing Program, local Housing Trust Funds, NeighborWorks, the Vermont Community Development Program, Efficiency Vermont and Downtown Rehabilitation Tax Credits.

The Vermont Legislature created VHFA in 1974 to finance and promote affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since its inception, the Agency has helped approximately 28,000 Vermont households with affordable mortgages and financed the development of approximately 8,600 affordable, safe and decent rental units.

For a link to this press release, click here.


VHFA Seeks To Extend Assistance For First-Time Home Buyers

Posted February 3, 2016

The Vermont Housing Finance Agency is seeking to extend their down-payment assistance program, which began last August. Through this program, first-time home buyers can get up to $5,000 in down payment assistance. The zero-interest loan is then paid back when the home is sold or the mortgage is refinanced. While the program is currently funded for 3 years, an extension of the program would help build a revolving loan fund. To learn more, read the article from VPR below:

The Vermont Housing Finance Agency says a down-payment assistance program is meeting its goal of helping first-time homebuyers purchase houses, and they’d like the program extended.

“We started at the end of August, really early September getting it fully funded and ready to go. So far we’ve closed about 60 loans. We had actually projected somewhere around the 110 mark, but I think we’re going to exceed that by the end of June,” says Executive Director Sarah Carpenter.

The legislature funded the program for three years, and Carpenter would like additional funding to continue the program for five years so it could become a revolving loan fund.

“Our main concern is we won’t start getting loan paybacks until after the fifth year, and so we have this dilemma that after the third year, we may have no proceeds to re-lend to people, or very little,” Carpenter said. “We’re just trying to have it be in sync with the average life of a loan, which is five to seven years.”

First-time homebuyers can get up to $5,000 in down payment assistance. The zero-interest loan is re-paid when the home is sold or the mortgage is re-financed.

VHFA has been closely tracking data from the program. The average first-time homebuyer is 31 years old with a household income of $61,000. The average home purchase price is $156,840, with $4,500 in down payment assistance. Of the 60 loans that have closed so far, 14 percent of the homebuyers have purchased condominiums.

Vermonters who make up to $100,000 per year qualify for the VHFA program.

For a link to the article, click here.


VAHC TV: VHFA Down Payment Assistance Program

Posted October 9, 2015

Host Erhard Mahnke speaks with Executive Director of Vermont Housing Finance Agency, Sarah Carpenter, on VHFA’s new Down Payment Assistance Program for first time homebuyers. More information on this can be found at To watch the program, view the embedded link below or click here. You can also view the program on-air on Monday October 12, 19, and 26 at 3:00pm on Channel 17/Town Meeting TV.


Down Payment Assistance Offered For First Time Homebuyers In Vermont

Posted September 22, 2015

On Friday Governor Shumlin joined VHFA and other state and community leaders to launch a new down payment assistance program for first time homebuyers. Through this program each qualified buyer will receive up to $5,000 for down payment and closing costs. VHFA will be able to provide first-time home buyers who use a VHFA mortgage with up to $5,000 that needs repayment only if the home is sold or refinanced. Below is a report from WAMC, which includes some words from VAHC coordinator Erhard Mahnke, with more information on the program and how it will help Vermonters:

With Vermont homebuyers paying higher closing costs than the national average, the Vermont Housing Finance Agency is launching a new down payment assistance program this week.

The Vermont Housing Finance Agency, or VHFA, cites data showing that closing costs in the state rose 5.7 percent in 2013. A Vermonter faces an average $19,000 in closing costs on a 5 percent down payment or $16,000 with 3 percent. That’s the annual salary of a minimum wage worker. Erhard Mahnke is the coordinator of the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition. “The median sale price last year for a home in Vermont was just under $200,000, about $193,000. That would require an annual income of about $57,000 a year to afford that and it would require just under $16,000 cash at closing. $16,000 is hard for a young family to save that’s saddled with student debt; that’s renting in our market. It makes home ownership almost impossible without some kind of down payment assistance to help get folks into home ownership.”

The Housing Tax Credit program was approved by the state legislature earlier this year. It allows the VHFA to sell tax credits to investors to fund the program. The VHFA then helps first-time homebuyers with down payments. Eligible borrowers will be able to get a zero-percent deferred loan up to $5,000 according to Executive Director Sarah Carpenter. “We increasingly are seeing home buyers being required to come to the table with increased closing costs and fees. Vermont is one of the higher states with our closing costs. They can be upwards of $9,000 in addition to whatever down payment, you know 3 percent, 5 percent. So that’s a lot of cash up front for borrowers. And particularly in the Champlain Valley this tight rental market, it’s difficult for young families to save what they need for the down payment and pay the market rents that are being required. We also know that many of our target borrowers have student debt. So we hope that this program will help those first time borrowers.”

Mahnke believes that as the VHFA helps the first-time homebuyers, the program will also help loosen the state’s tight rental market. “I’m not a firm believer in the trickle down theory of housing. But if you move a hundred households out of the rental market into home buying that will help. Every little bit helps. Our rental markets are so constrained and that 1 percent vacancy rate makes supply and demand be so out of whack that it drives up rent, it drives up costs while Vermonters wages remain relatively flat. We have such challenges in our rental markets around Vermont that every little bit helps.”

Republican Senator Kevin Mullin is Chair of the Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee. He notes that the enabling legislation for the program was part of a larger economic development bill. “What we heard is one of the impediments to filling unfilled positions at Vermont employers with young professionals is the fact that it’s so expensive to live in Vermont as far as housing and especially to try to own your own home. We know that once somebody makes an investment and buys their own home they’re more likely to stay in Vermont. So it was an important piece of the economic development bill that we have something that helped to help people purchase their own house and be able to stay in Vermont. And one of the impediments was the high costs of closing so we put in the first time homebuyers tax credit.”

VHFA expects to have about $600,000 available for the fiscal year that ends June 30th. The program is limited to first-time homebuyers.

For the full report, including audio, click here. For more coverage see the links below:

WCAX – Help for First Time Vermont Homebuyers
My Champlain Valley FOX44 & ABC22 – VHFA Launches Down Payment Assistance for First Time Home Buyers
Rutland Herald – Home Buying Help Is On the Way
Burlington Free Press – First Time Homebuyers Get a Boost


Joint Committee on Tax Credits Meeting – Wednesday, August 19

Posted August 17, 2015

The Joint Committee on Tax Credits will hold a meeting to discuss potential changes to Vermont’s Qualified Action Plan. This meeting is open to the public.

As administrator of the Housing Tax Credit program, VHFA allocates credits to specific projects in accordance with Vermont’s Qualified Allocation Plan, which is approved and signed by the Governor. The advisory Joint Committee on Tax Credits reviews and adopts allocation policies and reviews VHFA’s performance.

Where: VHFA Board Room, 164 St. Paul Street, Burlington
When: Wednesday, August 19, 2015 – 10:00am to 12:00pm


First-Time Homebuyers Eligible For $5,000 In Down Payment Assistance

Posted June 12, 2015

Earlier this week, Sarah Carpenter of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency discussed their new program that will provide down-payment assistance to first time homebuyers on VPR:

First-time home buyers in Vermont are getting some help with the expenses that come with buying a house. Legislation signed by Gov. Peter Shumlin last week includes up to $5,000 for closing costs and down payments.

That program will be administered by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, but VHFA doesn’t directly lend money to homebuyers. Instead, they work with participating lenders like credit unions and community banks. “They’ll go into one of those institutions, be qualified for one of the VHFA programs and it would be there that they’ll get the down-payment assistance”, said VHFA executive director Sarah Carpenter. The down payment assistance money will be paid back as a zero interest loan when the home is sold or refinanced.

Low and moderate income Vermonters who make up to $100,000 qualify for the VHFA programs. “We understand that many working families are in that range searching for a home,” Carpenter said.

“What we’re seeing these days is just an increase in closing cost fees, down payment requirements and for a lot of home buyers, especially young families, saving that cash is very difficult. They’ve got student loans to pay, they’re paying high rents, so it’s a real sort of cash flow problem, getting the cash up front to buy that first home is very problematic,” Carpenter said, adding that VHFA sees many eligible homebuyers still renting apartments.

For the full report, including audio, click here.


Governor Approves New VHFA Down Payment Assistance Program

Posted June 5, 2015

On Wednesday, Governor Shumlin signed a new bill that includes a down payment assistance program through the Vermont Housing Finance Agency for first-time home buyers. This bill was one of the VAHC’s legislative priorities, an effort that was successful at a time when the state faced many fiscal challenges. Below is VHFA’s press release on the event:

Governor Shumlin signed legislation today that will help Vermonters buying their first home through VHFA by providing up to $5,000 for qualified buyers to cover the costs typically faced at closing due to down payment and closing costs.

The new down payment assistance program is part of a larger economic development bill, passed by the Vermont Legislature in the final days of the session. The program will be available through VHFA’s network of participating lenders late this summer.

“Businesses across Vermont have told us that housing costs are unaffordable and they need more tools to help attract and retain workers, especially young professionals,” explained Executive Director Sarah Carpenter. “In addition to helping Vermonters achieve their home purchase goals, a down payment assistance program for Vermont will help spur real estate market activity statewide.”

The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce supported this legislation. “Saving up enough of a down payment can be a real barrier for first time buyers and we are hopeful that this program can help support our state’s workforce,” said Katie Taylor, LCRCC’s Government Affairs Specialist.

The program’s success will draw largely on VHFA’s unique, dual role serving Vermont home buyers and overseeing the state’s housing tax credit program. By selling $125,000 in Vermont State Housing Credits each year, VHFA expects to generate enough funding to provide down payment assistance to approximately 100 first-time home buyers each year for the next three years. Eventually when these homeowners sell their homes or refinance their mortgages, they will be required to repay their down payment assistance with 0% interest, creating a loan fund to be used for down payment assistance to more home buyers.

This program was authorized by S.138, An act relating to promoting economic development. The bill received overwhelming support by both the House and Senate, and was signed into law by the Governor at a signing ceremony today at Cabot Hosiery in Northfield. VHFA is currently working to create this program and expects it will be available to buyers by the end of this summer. Program information will be posted on VHFA’s website ( and a formal announcement will be made once the program is launched.


To view the Governor’s press release, click here. To read the Times Argus coverage of the event click here.


Down Payment Assistance Is A Sound Investment For Vermont

Posted April 15, 2015

In recent years, the high cost of rent is putting a severe financial burden on many Vermonters. Homeownership rates are going down because many cannot afford to focus on saving to purchase a home while also paying for necessities such as rent, utilities, and in the case of many young adults, student loan debt. Given that homeownership brings many benefits to both consumers and communities, organizations like the Vermont Housing Finance Agency are working hard to ensure that would-be first time homebuyers can have access to the assistance that they need when it comes time to purchase a home. A recent report by the VHFA highlights some of the advantages that providing down payment assistance would bring to Vermonters. Below is an excerpt:

Economic pressures and demographic shifts are preventing many young Vermonters and their peers nationwide from becoming home owners. To help Vermont continue to reap the well-documented benefits that homeownership brings to individual households, their neighborhoods and the greater community, policy makers can create tools that make home buying more economically feasible. Efforts to reduce the upfront financial burden of down payment and closing costs could help retain young Vermonters who might otherwise choose to buy homes in a state with lower home prices and put homeownership within reach of would-be first time homebuyers who will otherwise continue renting.

Vermonters pay higher closing costs than the national average. The average Vermont homebuyer making a five percent down payment would need to save a whopping $19,000 for closing costs, down payment and secondary market loan fees—as much as a minimum wage worker earns in a year. Buyers who are able to obtain a mortgage requiring only a three percent down payment would still need to bring about $16,000 to the closing table.

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To view and continue reading the entire report, click here (PDF file).


VHFA FY 2014 Annual Report

Posted January 23, 2015

The Vermont Housing Finance Agency has released their FY 2014 Annual Report. The report contains detailed statistical information on who, where and how the VHFA has helped achieve homeownership and more. To view and download the report click here (PDF file).

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