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Housing and the Workforce: A Place to Hang One's Hat

A new paper was released this week highlighting the link between affordable housing and other public policy priorities. Housing and the Workforce: A Place to Hang One’s Hat, is the third in a series of papers that is designed to demonstrate the value of affordable housing for people and communities across the State of Vermont. Housing is a key issue that affects many workers in Vermont. From the paper:

“It has an impact when people are worried about where they’re going to live,” says Lisa Falcone, Working Bridges project director, “and that’s a big issue for a lot of workers in Vermont.” Managed by the United Way of Chittenden County, Working Bridges is an employer collaborative focused on workplace productivity, retention, advancement, and financial stability for employees. Falcone says she’s spoken with the human resources director at one area company that pays a generous entry-level wage but has a perpetually open, technically skilled position. The HR director has told Falcone that she can’t find anyone to take the job because prospective employees are deterred by the cost of living in general and of housing in particular. It’s an issue that’s felt by companies and their employees statewide, and at multiple income and skill levels. Heather Banks, former senior director of human resources at UTC Aerospace (formerly Goodrich), the Vergennes-based manufacturer that employs 850, found it difficult to hire mid-level professionals from out of state because many were unable to find rental housing, whether for 30 days or a year. Banks says it was equally challenging to lure semi-skilled technical workers down from the Northeast Kingdom and elsewhere, for essentially the same reasons.

To read the full paper click here (PDF file). For more information, contact Chris Donnelly at the Champlain Housing Trust by calling (802) 861-7305 or Kenn Sassorossi at Housing Vermont at (802) 863-8284.

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