VHCB Awards $6.5 Million to Preserve and Rehabilitate Affordable Housing and to Conserve Farmland, Recreational Lands and Natural Areas in 14 Towns

VHCB Awards $6.5 Million to Preserve and Rehabilitate Affordable Housing and to Conserve Farmland, Recreational Lands and Natural Areas in 14 Towns

On Thursday, June 21, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board awarded $6,594,615 for housing developments that will help to build or rehabilitate 59 affordable homes and conserve 1,050 acres of farmland and 146 acres of recreational and forest land. 

            Bristol – Housing Vermont will purchase and rehabilitate Bristol Family Housing, nine two- and three-bedroom apartments on a 25-acre site on the edge of town using $250,000 in VHCB funds, $90,000 in federal HOME Program funding, and $705,000 in National Housing Trust Funds. Rehabilitation will address deferred maintenance, increase energy efficiency and improve accessibility. A small office will be added for on-site property management functions.

            Derby - Rural Edge will rehabilitate and refinance 23 apartments in three historic buildings in Derby using $333,094 in VHCB funds and $358,411 in federal National Housing Trust funds. Fifteen of the apartments have rental assistance from USDA Rural Development and the Vermont State Housing Authority. 

            STATEWIDE - Habitat for Humanity Chapters around the state will use $199,500 in Housing Revenue Bond funding and $279,300 in VHCB funds to build 12 homes over a two-year period, providing down payment grants of $30,000 per home (up to $34,000 for high performance, energy efficient homes).

            The Board also recapitalized funding for home access improvements to 45-50 homes be undertaken by the Vermont Center for Independent Living ($445,000) and shared equity homeownership grants to 12 home buyers working with community land trusts and Home Ownership Centers ($600,000). 

Eight farms, located in Addison, Caledonia, Windham, Franklin, Lamoille, and Orange counties will be conserved by the Vermont Land Trust, using $1,522,000 in VHCB funding and $1,609,000 in matching funds from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The farms include dairy farms and diversified operations raising livestock and producing crops, maple syrup, and other agricultural commodities. Conservation will help the owners to expand, diversify, reduce debt, and, in the case of four farms, help the owners transfer their farms to the next generation. Easement conditions will reduce runoff, improving water quality, and protect an archaeological site.  The Vermont Land Trust will undertake private and local fundraising to complete the conservation projects.    

            Burlington - The Winooski Valley Park District and Lake Champlain Land Trust will use $185,000 in VHCB funds to acquire and conserve 2.4 acres with 1,000 feet of frontage at the mouth of the Winooski River. A residential lot in the floodplain will be transformed into a public park with fishing, canoe and kayak access, and walking trails while also restoring natural vegetation in this ecologically rich riparian zone. Other fundraising will be required to complete the project budget. The land is one-quarter mile from the Burlington bike path, adjacent to conserved land on Derway Island and Half Moon Cove and across the river from Colchester Point.

            Woodford – Seven miles east of Bennington along Route 9, the Prospect Mountain Association will acquire and conserve 144 acres of forest and recreation land using $285,000 in VHCB funding and other sources. Nearly 18 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails, a base lodge and outbuildings will be maintained by the non-profit group as a community ski area. The Mount Anthony Union High School and Williams College ski teams use the high elevation trails, in addition to thousands of other skiers from Vermont and beyond. Surrounded by National Forest, the mountain is part of a vast area of connected forestland providing important habitat for many species, including bear. Prospect Mountain Association is working with the Vermont Land Trust to raise $265,000 in additional funding to secure this popular recreational resource and expand year-round public use to include hiking, biking and special events, contributing to the local economy. 

            Bennington County Senator Dick Sears said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for the southwestern corner of Vermont. It provides wonderful recreational opportunities for residents and tourists.  I am delighted to support the great work of Bennington residents in making this project happen.”  


VHCB makes loans and grants to non-profit housing and conservation organizations, municipalities and state agencies for the creation and preservation of affordable housing and for the conservation of agricultural and recreational land, forestland, natural areas, and historic properties.