Reprinted from VHFA Housing Matters, by Leslie Black-Plumeau: A recent study by VHFA found that thousands of residents of the East Central Vermont region face extraordinary challenges finding housing that is both affordable and located near their jobs and needed services. An estimated 11,000 households living in Orange and Windsor counties paid more than 30% of their income for their housing-related expenses (a combination of their mortgage or rent, utilities, taxes, and insurance), the study found. Of these households, an estimated 4,500 spent 50 percent or more of their income for housing, placing a considerable drain on the funds these residents have available for other basic life necessities. For those who also have lengthy commutes to work and associated transportation costs, making ends meet is even tougher. Scarce rental options in many East Central Vermont communities compound the search for affordable housing. Both homeownership and market rate rental housing prices are in part driven higher by Windsor County’s high proportion of vacation homes which limits the stock available for year-round residents and brings wealthier households into the region to compete for units. VHFA conducted the study for the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission on behalf of the East Central Vermont Sustainability Consortium. The study was funded by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Sustainable Community Regional Planning Grant Program. The area’s housing needs will be among the many key elements considered during the comprehensive planning process currently underway in the region. Read the full report or more about the region’s current planning process at VTDIGGER.org.
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