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.”