Omnibus Housing Bill

The Omnibus Housing Bill now awaits concurrence in the Senate. Sen. Sirotkin has added an amendment which would return the items to the bill that were removed in House General pertaining to housing permit reform. These items were removed with the intention that they would move forward in S. 234. It now seems clear that S. 234 does not have a path forward to passage, and these provisions remain favorable with the legislature, and the Administration. 

Current Version of S. 226

Sec. 1-2: First Generation Homebuyer Program

This newly elaborated section of the bill (compared to the Senate version) articulates that $1M that was allocated to DHCD last year for a similar program, but not yet spent, is transferred to VHFA. This is so that the agency can establish a grant program within their Down Payment Assistance Program to help first time home buyers who are also first generation homebuyers. It also requires a system of outreach that will bring the program to BIPOC Vermonters, and other communities who have "historically housing discrimination."

Sec. 3: Manufactured Home Improvement and Replacement Program

Appropriates $5M in ARPA funds for grants for various purposes to support manufactured housing and mobile home parks: (1) $3M for small scale capital grants, (2) $1M for home repair grants, and (3) $1M for foundation grants.

Proposed change in amounts to (1) $2.5M, (2) $750k, and (3) $750k

Sec. 4: Community Partnership for Neighborhood Development

Instructs DCHD to lead a Community Partnership for Neighborhood Development Program: a collaborative of munic

This amendment would narrow the scope of Section 4 to a Community Partnership for Neighborhood Development. This initiative would be a collaborative led by DHCD, and steered by a Housing Equity Council. The Council would include representatives from DHCD, VHFA, ANR, Agency of Transportation, DPS, the VT Bond Bank, the Economic Development Authority, VHCB, APD, VLCT, and the Regional Development Corporations. The collaborative would identify a pilot neighborhood in a smart growth areas that would be suitable for new and infill development with a variety of housing type, styles, and sizes. $5M would be allocated to DHCD from ARPA for pre-development grants.

Sec. 5-10: Downtown & Village Center Tax Credit Program

Expands the existing Downtown & Village Center Tax Credit Program to include Neighborhood Development Areas (NDA) for 5 years. It also adds "Qualified Flood Mitigation Projects" as new type of project that is eligible for the credits in this program. 

Sec. 11: Missing Middle Income Homeownership

Appropriates $15M from ARPA funds through DHCD to VHFA for subsidy program that would help new construction or the acquisition and substantial rehabilitation of owner occupied homes for income eligible buyers. A first subsidy would address the gap between the cost of construction and the value of the home. Then to bring the cost down to an affordable level it will either deliver a second subsidy that remains with the home in perpetuity, or, it will partner with another organization to utilize a shared equity model.  

Sec. 12-18: Contractor's Registry

Identical to H. 157 which was vetoed by the Governor, with the exception of an increase to the registration threshold to $10,000, minimum insurance requirements are increased, and a position is created within the AG's Consumer Assistance Program to resolve contract disputes under $10,000. 

Sec. 19-20: Equity and Harassment in Housing

Amends public accommodation and fair housing laws to provide legislative intent and statutory direction on the interpretation of these laws with regard to harassment and discrimination of members of protected classes. This content comes from H. 329, and was added in House General. The other elements of the bill have found a home elsewhere.

Sec. 21: Temporary Prohibition of Tax Sale 

Taken from H. 625 and added by House General, this section of the bill establishes a stay on the tax procedure while a VHAP application is pending, and also requires municipalities to provide notice about the program to residents who are delinquent on taxes. 

Sec. 22: Vermont Land Access and Opportunity Board

An allocation of $200,000 would go to VHCB from the GF in FY23 to handle the administration of the Board. The amendment clarifies the membership, duties, expectations, and scope of work that the Board would take on under VHCB's guidance and administration. A report would be required to be given to the House General Committee in January 2023.