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Tight rental market, little hope for housing among Vermont’s poorest

Posted By Andrew Nemethy On June 27, 2012 @ 11:26 pm VTDIGGER.ORG

Aside from a mooring slip in Burlington or a season’s pass to the Red Sox, what’s one of the hardest things to get in Vermont? It’s a Section 8 Housing Choice voucher that comes with a waiting list as long as five or six years. If you’ve never heard of Section 8, consider yourself lucky. It means you likely own your own home or earn enough to pay for a rental (or have found others to share rental costs and make an apartment affordable). Section 8 Housing Choice is federal lingo for a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program that assists very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to find housing in the private market. Using the voucher, renters can find a modest, safe apartment from private landlords and generally pay no more than 30 percent of their household income, as long as the units meet certain HUD standards. (There is also a smaller, separate Section 8 project-based program that provides vouchers at specific housing projects). In short, Section 8 covers the gap between what families can afford to pay and HUD’s estimate of Fair Market Value rent. Think of it as HUD’s free-market way to provide housing for those who desperately need it while putting money into the hands of local landlords whose buildings support local property taxes. It’s a successful program, except for one thing: With every passing year, it’s falling further behind in meeting housing needs, in Vermont as well as nationwide … Link to Full Article PDF of Full VT Digger Article

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