Nat Frothingham, editor of The Montpelier Bridge, recently wrote an editorial piece discussing the housing situation in Montpelier and what steps can be taken to help. Below is an excerpt:
Is there ever general agreement on anything in Montpelier? Not often — because Montpelier is a state capital and a very political town. That being the case, I was astonished after talking with four local housing experts to discover a general agreement about the housing situation in Montpelier. Last week, I talked with Jo Ann Troiano, the longtime executive director of the Montpelier Housing Authority; also with Polly Nichol, director of housing programs for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and also a longtime member of the Montpelier Housing Task Force. Then I talked with Jack McCullough, also a Housing Task Force member who is chair of the Montpelier Housing Authority. And all along I’ve been in touch via email and phone and in person with Kevin Casey, community development specialist at the city of Montpelier’s Planning and Development Office who has a close understanding of current housing affairs. Here’s what the four housing experts are telling us, and, although their words are slightly different, their basic description of housing problems in Montpelier is much the same: Montpelier’s Housing Situation There’s a tight Montpelier housing market with a vacancy rate of less than one percent, when a healthy vacancy rate ought to be about five percent. Also, while there’s still money to support a variety of housing initiatives, that money — be it federal, state, or local money — is not as plentiful today as it was in the past. But here’s the final point of agreement — and this was an eye-opener for me — in assessing the tightness of the housing situation in the city, we’re not just talking about so-called “affordable” housing — housing that’s partly subsidized for people in need. What impressed me in talking with the housing experts was that they were pretty much unanimous in saying, “We’ve got a tight housing market. But that tightness is not confined to affordable housing units. Or, as Kevin Casey said, “We need housing at all levels.” Or as Jack McCullough asserted, “We have problems at every price point in the system.”
To continue reading, click here.