VHCB AWARDS $8.9 MILLION IN STATE AND FEDERAL HOUSING FUNDS: Construction, Acquisition, and Rehabilitation of 316 Affordable Homes in Caledonia, Windham, Bennington, Washington, Orange, Franklin, and Chittenden Counties

Construction, Acquisition, and Rehabilitation of 316 Affordable Homes in Caledonia, Windham, Bennington, Washington, Orange, Franklin, and Chittenden Counties

At a meeting on September 29, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board committed $5.24 million in federal funds and $3.68 million in state funding to acquire, construct, and rehabilitate 316 affordable homes in Newport, St. Johnsbury, Brattleboro, Barre, Bellows Falls, Bennington and Burlington, including acquisition of two cooperatively owned mobile home parks in Colchester with 233 lots, helping those households stabilize lot rents, invest in improvements, and actively participate in management of their parks. Seven new homes for homeless households will be placed in mobile home parks in Braintree, Milton, and Swanton.

"Leveraging new federal funding greatly expands our ability to accelerate Vermont’s investment in new housing opportunities, a critical need for so many of our citizens. Since the pandemic began, 475 new homes have come online with funding from VHCB. Of these, 269 are specifically available to those experiencing homelessness. The doors on the new homes funded by these awards will be opening over the next year or two.” -- Gus Seelig, VHCB Executive Director.

“Governor Scott is working hard to enhance resources to address Vermont’s housing shortage,” said Josh Hanford, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development. “Our partnership with VHCB since the initiation of the Housing Revenue Bond and the VHIP program for the rehabilitation of vacant rental properties, and through the Board’s work with the Coronavirus Relief Fund, has been key to rehousing more than 500 Vermont families experiencing homelessness last year, a record number according to the Agency of Human Services. We look forward to continuing this effective partnership and important work.”

St. Johnsbury – Rural Edge will use $198,280 in federal funding and $1,001,720 in VHCB funds to acquire Brightlook Apartments, an historic building in a downtown neighborhood with 15 apartments affordable to low-income residents. Many of the residents are elderly, on fixed incomes, and have lived at Brightlook for many years. Acquisition by Rural Edge will preserve this important affordable housing resource on a site with potential for additional housing development. Energy efficiency improvements will be made, with a more extensive rehabilitation planned within 3-5 years. Total development costs are $1.89 million.

Lakeview Housing Lakeview Housing, Newport

Newport – Lakeview Housing, four historic buildings with 16 apartments owned by Rural Edge since 1998, will be rehabilitated with $450,000 in VHCB funding for energy upgrades and exterior painting. U.S.D.A. Rural Development loan funds will cover other rehabilitation work and new roofing. The apartments are occupied by low-income residents, have federal funding for rental assistance, and are located close to downtown services.

Burlington – At 79 Pine Street, Nedde Real Estate will construct a new building with 49 apartments in the second phase of their mixed-use redevelopment that added 49 residential units to the existing People’s United Bank building at 77 Pine St. A VHCB award of $1 million in federal ARPA-SFR funding will create 10 affordable homes, with two apartments serving households experiencing homelessness through a partnership with the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS). The total development budget is $17,533,103.

On Main Street, adjacent to the existing family shelter, the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) and Evernorth will use $1.9 million in ARPA-SFR funding to construct 16 new apartments for families experiencing homelessness. COTS will provide support services and subsidize rents to help residents transition to more permanent housing. The building will feature onsite laundry, interior storage for each unit, and outdoor and indoor common space and an elevator connecting the new building with the existing family shelter. The location is close to schools, the public library, the YMCA, and public transportation. The Burlington Housing Authority will provide rental assistance and the City of Burlington will contribute $300,000 of ARPA-SFR funding. COTS has raised $1.075 million towards costs for the $5,559,904 development.

Brattleboro 47 Flat Street LP, working with M&S Development of Brattleboro, will use a VHCB award of $850,000 in federal ARPA-SFR funding in a $10.04 million budget to purchase a blighted brick warehouse on Flat Street and transform it into ground-floor offices and co-working space with nineteen studio, 1-, and 2-bedroom apartments on the upper four stories affordable to low- and moderate-income households. Located one block from Main Street, the property is next door to Brattleboro’s multi-modal transportation center and within walking distance of the Brattleboro Food Coop, stores, restaurants, and other services. Nine apartments will have project-based rental assistance; three of these will house formerly homeless residents and five will be designated for elderly residents. Area service agencies will provide support services to residents. 

Colchester – A VHCB award of $1,300,000 will enable CDI Development Fund, Inc., a non-profit, to acquire Breezy Acres and Hillcrest, two mobile home parks with a combined total of 233 lots located on Route 2 in Colchester. Each of the parks have organized as cooperatives and will operate under a management agreement with the non-profit, providing for resident control over management decisions and ensuring that lot rents are stabilized to maintain affordability and that capital needs are addressed over time. The two parks have been privately owned and recently came up for sale. The total development costs for acquisition of the two parks is $14.6 million, including $12.2 million in bond financing.

Braintree, Milton and Swanton – Housing Foundation Inc. will use $907,290 in federal ARPA-SFR funds to quickly house homeless households in 7 energy efficient mobile homes to be placed on vacant lots at Birchwood Manor in Milton, Mobile Acres in Braintree, and Roy’s Mobile Home Park in Swanton. HFI will partner with Pathways Vermont and Capstone Community Action to provide services to households moving out of homelessness and into the new homes. Preparatory work at the parks to place the homes will include removal of vegetation and debris and installation of new foundations. The total development budget is $928,290