Champlain Housing Trust and UVM Extension to Operate Farmworker Housing Repair Program with Funding Awarded by VHCB

farmworker housing In collaboration with UVM Extension, the Champlain Housing Trust will initiate a new farmworker housing repair program using State funds allocated by the Legislature to the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board. The loan funds may be used for various health and safety repairs and improvements to farmworker housing, including for wastewater systems, air sealing and insulation, plumbing upgrades, mold remediation, roof replacements, electrical upgrades, food prep area and storage improvements, sound insulation, and to relieve overcrowding.

“The need for improving and expanding the stock of decent and safe housing for farm workers is well documented by reports and by the lived experience and testimony of farm workers themselves. We welcome this opportunity to provide new financial resources to farmers to address this critical issue,” said Michael Monte, CEO of the Champlain Housing Trust.

With $500,000 in loan capital, CHT expects to fund 20-30 loans for improvements to farmworker housing with individual loan awards of up to $30,000. The 0% interest loans will be forgiven over 10 years, as long as the improved housing continues to be used for farmworker housing. CHT will partner with Rural Edge for support to applicants from Orleans County and with University of Vermont Extension for outreach to farm owners and farmworkers statewide.

“Housing issues have been a source of stress for many farmworkers and farmers. This program provides a streamlined source of funding that can address the most pressing repairs in the shortest time possible, improving the quality of life for farmworkers and helping farmers lower costs, save energy and reduce employee turnover,” added Daniel Baker, Ph.D, Interim Director, UVM Extension AgBiz Program.

The application for the Vermont Farmworker Housing Repair Loan Program will be available on the Champlain Housing Trust website  beginning in early March. The deadline to submit applications is April 15, 2022. If funds are available following April 15th, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

To learn more or to have your name added to a contact list for future updates, please email Charlie Glassberg at Champlain Housing Trust: @email or call (802) 810-8217.

Background: 
In 2021, VHCB commissioned a study of the need to improve the quality of farmworker housing in Vermont. Published in April 2021, the Farmworker Housing Needs Assessment  documented the urgent need to improve the quality of Vermont's farmworker housing to support the health and safety of farmworkers and the viability of Vermont farms. In October 2021 VHCB issued a Request for Proposals for a Farmworker Housing Repair Loan Fund. CHT was selected to develop and implement the loan program.

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The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board supports the development of affordable housing and the conservation of agricultural land, forest land, natural areas, and historic community buildings. To learn more, visit vhcb.org