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VHFA News

Posted by: admin on August 24, 2006 - 3:17am

BURLINGTON—Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) Executive Director Sarah Carpenter received an Honorable Mention in the 2006 NeighborWorks® Government Service Awards. Carpenter received the honor at a ceremony held at the NeighborWorks® Training Institute in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 14. Vermont State Senator and South Burlington City Council Chairman Jim Condos also received an Honorable Mention at the event. “I’m flattered by the mention and proud of VHFA’s accomplishments,” Carpenter says. “In recent years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of exciting new mortgage innovations like our Cash Assistance rate option, helping borrowers with downpayment and closing costs; significant policy initiatives, including creating and increasing the Vermont Affordable Housing Tax Credit; and award-winning outreach and education projects such as the Vermont Housing Awareness Campaign and Vermont Housing Data Web site.” The NeighborWorks® Government Service Awards recognize public officials and other leaders who’ve made significant contributions to improving the lives of the people in their communities and/or expanding the supply of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families. It’s given to one individual at each level: local, state and federal. “Sarah Carpenter has shown an unwavering dedication to, and support for, public policies that advance community revitalization goals,” said Ken Wade, CEO of NeighborWorks® America. “With so many Americans struggling to afford housing, the commitment demonstrated by Sarah at the state government level is ever more important. Her leadership has helped transform Vermont, and we are proud to honor Sarah for her invaluable service to affordable housing.” Carpenter has been a prominent and effective advocate for affordable housing in Vermont for more than 20 years. Under her tenure, VHFA has become known for its creativity and effectiveness in its programs; for its leadership in housing policy and advocacy; and for its many contributions to improving the state’s housing delivery system, including its support for Vermont’s NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Centers. Carpenter, a native of Burlington, Vt., was appointed VHFA Executive Director in December 1998. From 1983 to 1998, she served as Executive Director of Cathedral Square Corp. in Burlington. She received a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science in social work from the University of Vermont, graduating cum laude. NeighborWorks® is a national nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to provide financial support, technical assistance, and training for community-based revitalization efforts. Vermont’s network of six NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Centers provides homebuyer education, credit and budget counseling, financial assistance for homebuyers and more. Learn more at www.getahome.org. VHFA was created by the Vermont Legislature in 1974 to finance and promote affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since its inception, the Agency has helped more than 25,000 Vermont households with affordable mortgages and financed the development of almost 7,000 affordable rental units. Learn more at www.vhfa.org.

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Posted by: admin on August 17, 2006 - 5:28am

BURLINGTON—Executive Director Sarah Carpenter announced that Tom Connors of Underhill Center has joined VHFA as Chief Financial Officer. VHFA Senior Financial Analyst Scott Baker of Essex Junction has been promoted to Investment Manager. Connors was Vice President of Finance and Operations at Trak Sports USA Inc. in Burlington. He was responsible for the financial and operations activities of that $20 million ski and snowboard manufacturer and distributor since January 2005. Before that, Connors spent 11 years as Director of Revenue Accounting at IDX Systems Corp., now GE Healthcare, in South Burlington. His resume also includes finance positions at Information Resources Inc. and Wang Laboratories, both in Massachusetts. For five years, Connors has served on the board of ReCycle North, a Burlington nonprofit organization working for waste reduction, job-skills training and poverty relief. He currently serves as the organization’s Treasurer. “Tom’s an accomplished financial professional with a solid track record,” says Carpenter. “We’re excited to welcome him to the Agency.” Baker has been with VHFA nearly two decades. He joined the Agency in 1988 as Investment Officer, and for the past six years has served as Senior Financial Analyst. “Scott’s promotion is a reflection of his expertise with bond-related activities and the management of the Agency’s investment portfolio, as well as his ongoing commitment to the Agency for the past 18 years,” according to Carpenter. VHFA was created by the Vermont Legislature in 1974 to finance and promote affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since its inception, the Agency has helped more than 25,000 Vermont households with affordable mortgages and financed the development of almost 7,000 affordable rental units.

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Posted by: admin on August 7, 2006 - 4:14am

BURLINGTON—Governor Jim Douglas joined with Vermont Housing Finance Agency today to announce VHFA’s new $10 million mortgage loan initiative to help consumers find affordable homeownership, and the Agency also rolled out two new insurance products being provided to VHFA borrowers by the Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC). The announcements were made at a press conference attended by the Governor, VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter and MGIC Account Manager Jon Korpela. A detailed description of the new programs is attached. “Vermonters are still facing very high housing costs, despite evidence the housing market may not be as super-heated as in recent years,” Douglas said. “The concern over housing affordability on the part of consumers, employers and the housing industry remains high, which is why we still need the kind of creative and effective thinking that goes into programs like the ones we’re announcing today.” Carpenter said the Agency’s new mortgage program — a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with a 4.75% interest rate — will be offered to qualified borrowers purchasing new homes in developments that have been approved by the Agency. Approved housing developments will be located in areas designated by communities for housing growth. “This is another way of helping people realize their dream of affordable homeownership,” Carpenter said. “We’ll be working with Vermont’s NeighborWorks® Homeownership Centers to find potential customers and provide homebuying education. We feel this program also helps encourage the development of affordable housing in areas where Vermont communities have decided they want housing built.” Korpela said MGIC has worked with VHFA to offer two new insurance programs that should give VHFA borrowers new peace of mind. The first is a job-loss protection benefit, offered at no cost to VHFA borrowers. That product would provide a limited measure of protection against involuntary unemployment. It would pay up to $2,000 per month for up to six months if the involuntary unemployment occurs during the first two years of the loan. The second product is low-cost mortgage insurance to qualified borrowers that carries a premium that is approximately 25 percent below conventional programs. "MGIC understands the important role that homeownership plays in the American dream, Korpela said. “MGIC has been helping make the dream of homeownership a reality for nearly 50 years, and we are pleased to partner with VHFA to bring affordable home loan options to the people of Vermont. “Through these programs, qualifying VHFA borrowers can save as much as $100 per month on their mortgage payments,” Korpela said. “And Job Loss Protection helps safeguard borrowers against losing their homes if they become involuntarily unemployed or disabled." Carpenter said the new insurance products are another way VHFA works with its partners to offer more and better options for consumers. “Our Agency and our partners are focused on providing the best service we can to consumers,” she said. “Any time we can offer a new product or service like this, consumers win.” Vermont Housing Finance Agency was created by the Vermont Legislature in 1974 to finance and promote affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since its inception, VHFA has helped more than 25,000 Vermont households with affordable mortgages and has financed development of almost 7,000 affordable rental units. More information about VHFA and its programs is available at www.vhfa.org.

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Posted by: admin on May 22, 2006 - 4:35am

BURLINGTON—Vermont Housing Finance Agency launched a Web site for the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness (www.helpingtohouse.org). The site went live May 16. The site is home to two parallel efforts in Vermont to curb homelessness — Vermont's Continuums of Care and the Vermont Interagency Council on Homelessness — and offers: meeting minutes and agendas for both groups; searchable databases of the 13 regional Continuums of Care in the state and Vermont homeless shelters and providers; an events calendar; publications, reports and Web links; and Legislative priorities for the two groups. VHFA Policy and Planning Coordinator Maura Collins oversaw development of the site. VHFA Communications Coordinator Craig Bailey designed the graphical user interface and coded the backend database applications that drive the site. "If we're going to end the growing homeless crisis in the next 10 years, coordination among homeless providers, housing advocates and local communities is crucial," Collins says. "This site provides the public link between organizations and citizens all helping to house homeless Vermonters." The site includes a custom-built content management system that allows any coalition administrator to maintain the site without the assistance of a Web developer. With extensive use of Cascading Style Sheets, the site passes conformance level Triple-A of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, the W3C's highest level of disability accessibility standards. With the launch of helpingtohouse.org, the number of sites VHFA has developed for outside nonprofit housing organizations comes to four: Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness, Vermont Housing Awareness Campaign (www.housingawareness.org), Vermont Housing Data (www.housingdata.org), and Vermont Resident Service Coordinators (www.vrsc.org).

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Posted by: admin on April 13, 2006 - 8:27am

BURLINGTON—More Vermonters will be able to purchase homes using Vermont Housing Finance Agency’s low-interest mortgages thanks to new income and purchase price limits approved by VHFA’s Board of Commissioners. “VHFA is always working hard to respond to Vermont’s housing market and its constantly-growing prices,” explained Executive Director Sarah Carpenter. “The new limits mean more Vermonters and Vermont properties have become eligible for VHFA financing, but homeownership in our state will continue to be a challenge as wages don’t keep up with the rising price of homes.” Income and purchase price limits vary by county and help determine which homebuyers and properties are eligible for VHFA financing. Income limits are ceilings on what households can earn and still qualify for VHFA mortgages; purchase price limits are the maximum price a home can sell for and still be eligible for VHFA financing. VHFA raised the limits on April 10. While each county’s limits are unique, the maximum eligible purchase price for existing homes rose by $30,000 or more throughout the state. The maximum eligible purchase price for newly constructed homes rose by at least $25,000 in most counties. Current limits are available at www.vhfa.org, or by contacting a participating VHFA lender. A complete list of lenders is available at the web site. VHFA offers a variety of mortgage loan programs for qualified borrowers. The Agency’s 30-year 0- point interest rate is 5.75%. For buyers who need cash for downpayment and/or closing costs, VHFA offers a cash assistance rate option at a slightly higher rate. All rates are subject to change. VHFA was created by the Vermont Legislature in 1974 to finance and promote affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since its inception, the Agency has helped more than 25,000 Vermont households with affordable mortgages and financed the development of almost 7,000 affordable rental units.

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