Housing News

At its May meeting, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) approved $2,930,630 in funding for seven conservation projects that will protect 1,682 acres in five counties, and $32,843,765 to support seven housing projects in six counties around the state.

At its January meeting, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board approved funding support for a diverse mix of projects that address a variety of high-priority housing needs throughout the state. The funding awarded will enable new opportunities for single-family home-ownership, an increase in the state’s permanently affordable apartment stock and energy efficient mobile home rentals, access to shelter, housing and services for people experiencing homelessness, and the expansion of supportive housing for individuals facing mental health challenges.

At its December meeting, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB) invested in farm, natural land, and affordable housing projects that increase economic vitality and build strong communities throughout Vermont.

At its September meetings, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board took action to support the creation of shelters for people experiencing homelessness in the Northeast Kingdom and White River Junction, and a total investment of $5.2 million was made for housing development projects that will provide 42 rental apartments and 40 shelter beds in four Vermont communities. The Board also voted to invest $1.4 million in the conservation of 654 acres in five communities and $200,000 for historic preservation in one community.

On Thursday, June 15th, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB) celebrated 35 years of community development, land conservation, and historic preservation initiatives with more than 250 partner organizations and community members in attendance.

Champlain Housing Trust has financing available for applications for its Farmworker Housing Repair Loan Program. The program provides loans up to $30,000 for farmers to make essential repairs and necessary improvements to their farmworker housing. The loan is forgiven over ten years so long as the housing is maintained for farmworkers, helping to preserve this important affordable housing resource and improving the health and welfare of the farm workforce.

At a meeting on January 26, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board committed $23.3 million in state and federal funding to create 202 new homes statewide, both rental and homeownership, with 36 reserved for households that have experienced homelessness. Nine apartments in Rutland will be rehabilitated and the first year-round shelter in Lamoille County will be created with 21 beds.

At recent meetings, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board awarded $31.96M in state and federal funds for construction and rehabilitation of 244 homes serving households in Hartford, Morrisville, Newport City and Newport Center, Windsor, South Burlington, and Burlington. Federal funding commitments totaling $30.33 million were matched with $1.62 million in state funds. A loan program for repairs to farmworker housing will be recapitalized, helping improve housing for farmworkers around the state.

Beginning on November 3, 2022 and continuing through February 2023, four public speaking events will explore the roots of racial discrimination in housing policy and practices; the ways current systems continue to reinforce oppressive practices; the real impacts of racial inequity on daily life and economic well-being; and new efforts and ideas that can help to change the tide. The goal of the initiative is to identify actions on policy, programmatic and cultural levels to expand access to affordable housing for all Vermonters.

$2.3M in State Funding Leverages $35.8M in Federal Funds
At meetings in May and June, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board awarded funding to create and rehabilitate 283 new homes in 12 communities statewide. One fifth of these homes will serve households that have experienced homelessness. A total of $38,130,642 in state and federal funding commitments will result in new construction of 249 homes, rehabilitation of 34 existing apartments and shelter beds, and accessibility modifications to homes statewide.

The Land Access and Opportunity Board ("the Board") was created under Section 22 of Act 182 of 2022 to engage with Vermont organizations working on housing equity and land access "to recommend new opportunities and improve access to woodlands, farmland, and land and home ownership for Vermonters from historically marginalized or disadvantaged communities who continue to face barriers to land and home ownership."

At a meeting on January 26, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board Awarded $4.6 million in state funds and $5.82 million in federal funds to purchase, construct, and rehabilitate housing in Putney, Monkton, St. Albans, Essex, Williston, St. Johnsbury, and Bennington and to plan for housing development in West Brattleboro.

Support from the TD Charitable Foundation will help Champlain Housing Trust, Downstreet Housing & Community Development, and Twin Pines Housing expand housing-related services.

Landowner to donate land to create 100 new homes for sale, including 60 that will be permanently affordable

The Champlain Housing Trust has come to an agreement with a Vermont philanthropist and community leader to develop 100 new homes in Hinesburg. Jan Blomstrann, the former owner of NRG Systems, will donate approximately 46 acres south of the Champlain Valley Union High School to support the development of affordable, sustainable, and inclusive housing close to the town center.

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. The interest rate on the loans is 0%, and repaid loan funds will be recycled to other borrowers with a goal of providing loans for safety repairs and improvements to 20-30 properties. The loans will be forgiven after 10 years if the improved housing continues to be used for farmworker housing.

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.

ACCT Executive Director Elise Shanbacker is confident the project will have long-lasting impacts. “Lindale Mobile Home Park is a critical source of affordable workforce housing just a few miles from downtown Middlebury,” she said. “This investment will replace the ailing, 50-year-old septic systems and ensure that the 67 families residing at Lindale will have clean water and an affordable, sustainable place to call home for generations to come.”

At meetings on June 23 and July 8, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board committed $31,447,000 in state funding and $22,364,574 in federal funds to preserve, rehabilitate and create homes and to expand shelter capacity. A total of 389 homes will be created, with 221 reserved for previously homeless households and those at risk of homelessness.

Two public information sessions are scheduled for Monday, July 12 at 3:00 p.m. and Wednesday, July 14 at 5:30 p.m. to answer questions and gather comments on the American Rescue Plan Act Fiscal Recovery funds to be administered by VHCB for housing development.

The 2021 Legislative Session resulted in appropriations of $168.8 million in state and federal funds to the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board. Governor Scott signed the budget, allotting $14.8 million in base funding for VHCB and $154 million in supplemental funding including from the federal American Rescue Plan Act State Fiscal Recovery Fund (ARPA-SFR). VHCB will also receive $9.8 million in ARPA funding from HUD through the federal HOME Program targeted to housing those experiencing homelessness during the pandemic.

The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board is seeking proposals to design and implement a statewide racial justice initiative. The goal of the initiative is to examine how racial inequities impact Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Vermonters and identify actions to expand access to affordable housing for all Vermonters. Read the Request for Proposals for details about the scope of work and timeline.

At a meeting on March 26, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board awarded $846,500 in state funding and $2,588,327 in federal funds for projects in Windham, Windsor, and Lamoille Counties. The VHCB awards will help to create and rehabilitate 30 homes and apartments affordable to low- and moderate-income Vermonters and will conserve 270 acres of farmland.

Vermont has received more than $11 million in additional funding for affordable housing construction, under the American Rescue Plan Act, through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME).  HOME funds are used to construct rental housing for low- and very-low-income Vermonters, increasing affordability and improving housing security.  These new funds are targeted to people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated Vermont’s affordable housing crisis.

VHCB anticipates receiving $10 million to award competitively for capital expenses for the acquisition and rehabilitation of non-congregate housing for households experiencing homelessness. Letters of Intent to apply for these funds are due by noon, March 31, 2021.

In Vermont, there are only 49 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low-income households, with little income left over for other basic necessities. While this exceeds the national average and is a slight improvement from the previous year, the supply of affordable housing is only meeting less than half the need for extremely low-income renters. Because the market consistently fails to provide adequate, affordable housing for these renters, the government has an essential role to play to correct for this failure. The crisis created by COVID-19 has made it clearer than ever that stable, affordable housing for all is an imperative for public health and individual well-being. 

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) applauded the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s announcement that the National Housing Trust Fund will receive a record $711 million this year to build, preserve and rehabilitate affordable rental housing for extremely low-income families. This is more than double the funding allocated for the Trust Fund in 2020, which Sanders helped create. Vermont will receive a $3 million allocation from the trust fund, which will be disbursed later this year.

At meetings in December and January, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board awarded $6,360,027 in State funding and $4,341,136 in federal funds to projects in 17 towns that preserve, rehabilitate and create 91 affordable homes, protect 2,412 acres of agricultural and recreational land, forestland, natural areas, and restore historic resources.

While there are significant challenges facing Vermont’s service delivery system for Vermont’s most vulnerable residents, there are also opportunities to realize savings through strategic statewide investment in community-based service delivery and housing retention services. This RFP is intended to identify a consultant who will translate the collective experience of housing and shelter providers into an actionable policy agenda.

In his Fiscal Year 2022 budget address delivered today, Governor Scott proposed a $20 million increase in funding to the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board. The funding would support the well-documented need to create more housing across the state and to accelerate Vermont’s economic recovery while also addressing community needs highlighted by the pandemic.

When the Vermont Legislature turned to the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board to manage $34.25 million in CARES Act funding appropriated in June and July, it came with a very short timeline: all the money had to be spent by the end of December. The federal funds, from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, were targeted to secure and rehabilitate permanent housing for homeless households and to make improvements to shelters in communities around the state.

At meetings in September and October, VHCB committed Cornoavirus Relief Funds to the Champlain Housing Trust to purchase the Ho Hum Motel in South Burlington for a COVID isolation site, to Lamoille Housing Partnership to purchase two modular homes to be placed at Evergreen Manor in Hardwick, and to ANEW to purchase the Champlain Inn in Burlington to establish a year-round, low-barrier shelter.

Organizations secure property with CARES Act funding to comply with CDC guidance to prevent spread of Covid-19

Affordable housing production picks up in 2019, but the need persists;
Coronavirus has an impact, and future housing development looks anemic.

On Friday, September 25, the Vergennes community celebrated the official grand opening of Vergennes Community Apartments with socially-distanced property tours and live music. The Addison County Community Trust (ACCT) and Evernorth partnered to develop this highly energy-efficient, multi-family apartment building located on Armory Lane in close proximity to downtown Vergennes. 

Learn about recent VHCB awards, new housing under construction statewide, recent conservation projects, COVID programs providing assistance for renters, homeowners, and landlords, updates from Viability, VHCB AmeriCorps, Healthy & Lead-Safe Homes, staff changes, and more...

More than 200 New Homes and Improvements to Shelters Statewide to Keep Vulnerable Vermonters Safe and Stably Housed
On August 6, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board committed more than $30 million in federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to secure and rehabilitate housing for homeless households in 18 communities around the state. New apartments and emergency beds will be created for 212 households statewide in areas of greatest need. Thirteen homeless shelters that together provide 251 beds will receive support for improvements that will reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus and enable compliance with current public health protocols.

State Joins with National Organization to Encourage Housing Access and Affordability

A new how-to manual, Enabling Better Places: A Zoning Guide for Vermont Neighborhoods, promotes practical, small steps that Vermont’s cities, towns, and villages can take to address widespread regulatory barriers that limit the choice of homes available to Vermont residents at prices people can afford. 

Brenda Torpy to Step Down as CEO at Champlain Housing Trust
Board announces leadership transition with Michael Monte taking over in January

Burlington, Vermont – The Champlain Housing Trust’s Board of Directors announced today that CEO Brenda Torpy will step down at the end of 2020 after leading the organization for nearly 30 years, and that current Chief Operating and Financial Officer Michael Monte will be hired as its next CEO beginning in January, 2021.

Renters, Landlords, and Homeowners experiencing hardships can apply for Coronavirus Relief funding under two programs:
Vermont COVID Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, administered by VHFA, and the Rental Stabilization Assistance Program, administered by the Vermont State Housing Authority. Applications for both programs accepted on a rolling basis, beginning July 13, 2020.

The Vermont House today fast-tracked a $93 million Coronavirus Emergency Economic Recovery Grants package. The only remaining step is the Governor's signature to get this relief money in the hands of Vermonters and their businesses.

The bill includes $23 million to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board for grants to nonprofit housing partners and service organizations as well as for shelter facilities necessary to provide self shelter and assistance for persons who are, or are at risk of, experiencing homelessness, in order to mitigate COVID-19 effects. 

The national trauma that is the murder of George Floyd at the knee of a police “training” officer has horrified us. In the weeks preceding this awful event we saw the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. What is more troubling are the many, many incidents of racism that American society and culture has for generations too easily accepted, either without notice or without sufficient outrage to demand and result in change.

Corona Virus Update

In the face of the growing Corona Virus pandemic, and with the health and well-being of our staff and community our main concern, the VHCB office will be closed to the public, and staff will be working remotely until further notice.

The goal of the Point-in-Time (PIT) count is the have an annual “snapshot” of all the individuals and households in Vermont who are literally homeless (persons who are staying in shelters or places such as the streets, cars, and places not meant for human habitation) on one night in the community on a single night during January.

Following a conference hosted by the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board on October 10, awards were presented to several individuals and organizations during a reception at Barre’s Old Labor Hall,

At a meeting on May 10, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board awarded $6,656,970 in VHCB funding, Housing Revenue Bond funds, and federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service for the construction or rehabilitation of 72 affordable homes and to conserve 5,650 acres of natural areas and public recreational lands and 617 acres of farmland.

At a meeting on March 15, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board awarded $731,500 in VHCB funding, $127,500 in federal funds, and $1,130,000 in Housing Revenue Bond funds for the development of 24 new homes in St. Albans, pre-development work on a neighborhood revitalization project in Windsor, and a pilot program to support the development of accessory apartments in Burlington. Additionally, 250 acres of farmland will be conserved in Orange and Chittenden Counties, and 287 acres of forestland in Dummerston with public access for hunting and walking will be conserved.

At a meeting on January 22, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board committed $5,129,478 for the construction of 126 new apartments in St. Albans and Burlington and the rehabilitation of 22 condominiums and older homes in Montpelier and in Windham and Windsor counties. The Board awarded $740,000 in state funds for these efforts, along with $3.5 million in Housing Revenue Bond funds and $1.58 million in federal funds for affordable housing from the National Housing Trust Fund and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME Program.

On Thursday, September 20, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board awarded $5,838,948 in state and federal funds to create and preserve 146 affordable homes and to conserve 577 acres of forestland with provisions for public access and water quality protection.

VHCB Executive Director Gus Seelig said, “We are excited to support investment in nine towns that will result in new affordable housing options, increased recreational opportunities, improved water quality and support for agriculture. The projects funded this month are made possible by the Housing Revenue Bond and other public resources that leverage private investment in order to improve Vermont’s communities, our economy, and our quality of life.”

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.

At a meeting on March 15, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board awarded $2,955,197 to create new homes in a downtown Bennington development, to conserve 440 acres of farmland in Rutland and Orleans Counties, and to protect public access to water in Calais, Burlington and Bolton.

In January, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board committed $9,359,800 for the construction and rehabilitation of 133 homes and for the conservation of 152 acres of land. The Board awarded $6,795,000 in Housing Revenue Bond funds, $1.45 million in federal HOME Program funding, $478,000 in federal farmland protection funds, and $636,500 in state funding to nine applicants.

VHCB Executive Director Gus Seelig said, “These funding awards will help address the very low vacancy rates in the housing market, providing new homes in downtown locations around the state. Two farmland conservation awards will keep farmland in aictive agricultural use and allow the farmers to expand their operations, while providing water quality protections in the easements.”

The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board will use $35 million in new funding for the creation of rental housing and home ownership opportunities for 550-650 low- and moderate-income Vermonters over the next two to three years. The bold, new initiative represents the largest state investment in housing in more than a decade.  It was first proposed by Governor Phil Scott in his January budget address, gained strong support in the legislature, and was signed into law today.