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Progress update on first year of Building Homes Together campaign

Posted by: Will White on September 29, 2017 - 4:05pm

Vermont Governor Phil Scott speaks at press conference

Vermont Governor Phil Scott joined legislative and housing leaders in a press conference last week to update the public on the first year progress of the Building Homes Together campaign.

Goal

In an effort to increase the availability of affordable homes in Vermont, Champlain Housing Trust teamed up with Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and Housing Vermont to set a goal of 3,500 new homes within 5 years, with 20% of them being permanently affordable.

Progress

Building 3,500 homes in 5 years would require building an average of 700 homes each year. Chittenden County exceeded that goal with 916 new homes last year. This is almost twice the average annual production of homes for the past 5 years. However, only 8% of homes built in 2016 meet the Campaign's threshold of being considered "affordable."

Brenda Torpy, CEO of Champlain Housing Trust, explains that the affordability target wasn’t met because there was not enough capital to fund additional development projects. This comes as no surprise in light of statewide support for the new "Housing For All" program to increase capital investment in affordable housing development.

Charlie Baker, Executive Director of Chittenden County Regional Planning Committee, noted that he personally believes 3,500 new homes in Vermont would not be enough to fully meet the county's need for housing.

Moving forward

There are still expected to be 360 new rentals built in Chittenden County by the end of this year, with 52 of them being affordable. Moreover, various nonprofit organizations have said they would like to start developing 300 more homes at the start of next year.

“[There is] a new bond, an opportunity with $35 million to build more housing and to increase the production that we’ve been able to have. We’re very excited and hope that maybe at this time next year we’ll be able to invite you back and be celebrating that we’ve closed that gap in our need to produce affordable housing and also closing the gap for more workers.” – Brenda Torpy, CEO of Champlain Housing Trust.

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