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A Housing Crisis in Vermont

Vermont has been experiencing a housing crisis for decades. A healthy rental vacancy rate for a community is typically 4-5%, while throughout Vermont that percentage currently hovers around 1%. It was low prior to the pandemic, but the influx of new residents from urban centers has driven the rate effectively to 0%. Vermont’s shortage of housing at all levels, but especially for families with low and moderate incomes, affects us all. 

An adequate supply of stable, affordable, good quality homes close to job centers ensures a diverse workforce for employers, cuts down on missed work time due to travel and health-related obstacles, helps reduce traffic and car-related emissions, and improves learning outcomes for children – the workforce of the future.  In addition, stable housing is a major determinant of one’s health, and thousands of our fellow Vermonters are struggling to afford a place to live. The cost to produce housing has escalated, putting the price of housing beyond what most low-wage earners can afford. And the for profit development sector cannot create housing at a price that is affordable for low and moderate-income families, leaving this work to nonprofit organizations that can access state and federal funding in exchange for charging below market rates.

Government Response

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new attention to the issue. Unprecedented federal and state investments in affordable housing are occurring in Vermont drawing from funding resources including American Rescue Plan Act, Coronavirus Relief Funds, State Homelessness Relief Funds and the State General Fund. Combined, the Governor and State Legislature allocated $153.5M in 2021 to new affordable housing production and increased homeless shelter capacity in communities statewide. Additional funding will likely be available through remaining American Rescue Plan Act funds and the Build Back Better Act. Between 2020 and 2023, the State’s goals include: production of 1,158 new units of affordable rental housing and at least 50 additional shelter beds added to the statewide homeless shelter network. These strong initiatives to reduce barriers to housing will measurably reduce rates of evictions and housing insecurity for low-wage employees.

Raising Awareness

To take advantage of this opportunity, it is important that Vermonters understand the benefits of creating a variety of housing options available to all income levels in their communities. A group of 12 nonprofit housing advocates, representing organizations throughout the state, is developing a campaign to raise awareness of the positive impacts of building permanent housing available to low and moderate-income community members.

 

We are looking to community businesses to partner with us by sponsoring and promoting this campaign.

 

The goal of this campaign is to boost public understanding of housing issues and the steps communities can take to alleviate the crisis. The campaign will be statewide, and will be

aimed at all Vermonters to motivate them to advocate for proposed housing developments by attending planning and zoning board meetings, contacting elected officials, and serving as general ambassadors for affordable housing in their community. The campaign will kick off in late Spring, 2022. Earned and paid media, outreach efforts, and prospective audiences will include: social media channels, print and digital advertising, radio, digital community forums and ListServs, and press releases.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Your sponsorship will demonstrate your awareness of the housing crisis as well as your support for urgent solutions. In exchange for your sponsorship, you will receive the following benefits:

 

Premier Sponsor - $15,000, 1 opportunity

  • Large logo with hyperlinks as the sole Premier Sponsor on dedicated web page and social media postings

  • Large logo on print materials

 

Lead Sponsor - $5,000, 4 opportunities

  • Logo with hyperlinks on dedicated web page

  • Logo on print materials

 

Supporting Sponsor - $1,000, 10 opportunities

  • Listing with hyperlinks on dedicated web page

  • Listing on print materials

Participating Organizations

  • Cathedral Square (Chittenden County)

  • Champlain Housing Trust (Chittenden County)

  • Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (Statewide)

  • Downstreet Housing & Community Development (Washington, Lamoille & Orange County)

  • Evernorth (Statewide)

  • Lamoille Housing Partnership (Lamoille County and Hardwick)

  • Shires Housing (Bennington County)

  • Twin Pines Housing (Windsor and Orange County)

  • Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition (Statewide)

  • Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (Statewide)

  • Vermont Legal Aid (Statewide)

  • Windham & Windsor Housing Trust (Windham & Windsor Counties)