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VHFA News

By: Mia Watson on 6/19/2019

Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) will be holding a series of outreach meetings to seek comments on the draft 2020 Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP). The QAP is a compilation of IRS mandates, national best practices and state housing priorities that sets eligibility and criteria for awarding state and federal tax credits to developers of affordable housing.

VHFA’s proposed changes to the QAP include significant formatting changes to improve the structure and readability of the document. Among the major policy changes proposed are income averaging in LIHTC projects, updated green building standards and changes to compliance requirements and credit allocation amounts for supportive housing for homeless households. The draft 2020 QAP as well as a memo summarizing the changes are available on VHFA’s website. Following the outreach meetings and consideration of public feedback, the draft QAP will be presented to the Joint Committee on Tax Credits and eventually the VHFA Board of Commissions.

VHFA invites the public to join staff to discuss the proposed changes at a series of outreach meetings on the following dates:

  • June 28, 2019

         11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

   Manchester Town Offices, 6039 Main Street, Manchester, VT

  • July 10, 2019

         11 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

   VHFA offices, 164 St. Paul St., Burlington, VT

   (VHFA will have a conference line available for this meeting only. Please call 802-652-3415 for details.)

  • July 24, 2019

   10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

   Randolph Town Offices, 7 Summer Street, Randolph, VT

  • July 24, 2019 (same day)

   2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

   St. Johnsbury Academy, 1000 Main Street, St. Johnsbury, VT

   The Charles Hosmer Morse Center for the Arts, Stuart Black Box Theatre

 

Please RSVP a week prior to the meeting you'd like to attend by emailing Victoria Johnson at vjohnson@vhfa.org.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about the QAP and you cannot make a meeting, please do not hesitate to contact Seth Leonard or Josh Slade at (802) 864-5743.

Pictured: French Block in Montpelier. French Block was developed using state and federal housing tax credits awarded by VHFA

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By: Mia Watson on 6/10/2019

The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) is now accepting applications for 2019 for two different programs that promote development and revitalization of Vermont’s downtowns.

The Downtown and Village Center tax credit program has $2.6 million in state income tax credits available for projects that enhance the historic character and improve building safety of older commercial and community buildings in Vermont’s designated downtown areas and village centers. Multifamily rental housing is an eligible use. These credits can be combined with the Federal Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit (RITC).

Among the 2018 tax credit recipients was the historic Woolson Block in Springfield, which is being rehabilitated by Springfield Housing Authority and Housing Vermont to provide affordable apartments to low-income renters and formerly homeless youth. The project also received separate funding from VHFA.

Instructions on how to apply for the Downtown and Village Center tax credits are available on ACCD’s website.

The Vermont Sales Tax Reallocation program allows municipalities and the developer of qualified projects to jointly apply to the Downtown Board for a reallocation of sales taxes on construction materials. Qualified projects must be located within a designated downtown district and reallocated taxes must be used by the municipality to support the qualified project. Multifamily rental housing is an eligible use. Instructions on how to apply are available on ACCD’s website.

Applications for both of these programs are due Monday July 1, 2019.

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By: Mia Watson on 5/28/2019

Newly released data from the 2019 Point-in-Time Count showed 1,089 people experiencing homelessness in Vermont on a single evening this winter, which represents a 16 percent decrease from last year. However, the number of chronically homeless Vermonters increased substantially from 2018 to 2019, prompting concerns that existing services may be inadequate to support homeless households.

The data comes from the Point-in-Time (PIT) Count on January 23rd conducted by the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness and the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance. The annual survey attempts to count homeless individuals and families, including people in shelters, transitional housing, hotel rooms purchased using public funding or living outdoors. It does not count those at risk of homelessness or temporarily living with friends or family. Although the PIT count is the one of the best sources available, it inevitably underrepresents the total extent of homelessness in our state. In 2017, the total number of homeless individuals who received services throughout the calendar year was roughly three times the number counted in the PIT count.

There were many signs of progress in the 2019 PIT results, with a decrease from 2018 in the number of homeless children, families, veterans and households fleeing domestic violence. At the same time, the number of both chronically homeless households grew from 152 to 170 and the number of unsheltered households increased from 63 to 102. Chronic homelessness describes people who have experienced homelessness for at least a year while struggling with conditions including serious mental illness, substance use disorder, or physical disability.

Permanent supportive housing, which pairs affordable housing with case management and supportive services, is essential for addressing chronic homelessness. The number of new apartments built to provide permanent supportive housing has been increasing in Vermont over the past several years, but funding for supportive services has not kept pace. Since 2012, Vermont has missed out on approximately $1.4 million in rental assistance for homeless and at-risk households, due to the inability to match households with local service providers, many of whom lack the capacity to serve additional households.

Completely ending homelessness in our communities will require increased investment in social services to support vulnerable, high-needs households.

 

 

By: Mia Watson on 5/22/2019

Vermont’s population has grown by just 0.1 percent since 2010, with a net increase of 555 people, according to the latest Census Bureau estimates. Vermont had the 48th smallest population increase among states in the nation, both in absolute numbers and percent increase.

Some Vermont counties have experienced steady growth over the last few years and are likely to continue growing. However, the U.S. is currently experiencing its lowest rate of growth since 1937, the result of declining birth rates and an aging population. By 2035, the Census Bureau estimates that people over the age of 65 will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history. Going forward, Vermont is likely to experience overall population decline unless it attract residents from outside the state.

Most of the states that have experienced any substantial population growth in recent years are also states that have higher levels of net domestic immigration, with more residents moving into the state than moving out. States in the Southeast and Southwest have tended to gain residents and overall population, while states in the Midwest and Northeast have tended to lose residents and to have very low rates of population increase.

However, many of the states with the highest rates of net domestic out-migration also had the highest per capita rates of international immigration. Some Northeastern states including Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Connecticut would have had negative or near-negative population growth if not for international migrants. Increasing racial diversity also helped these states, which saw losses in their non-Hispanic white populations but modest gains among minority populations.

Vermont can grow by attracting immigrants or residents of other states, and by increasing its racial diversity. This will require greater investment in services for New Americans, as well as affordable housing, childcare, and job opportunities for everyone.


By: Mia Watson on 5/15/2019

VHFA is seeking applicants for two immediate job openings: Director of Information Technology and Community Development Underwriter.

The Director of Information Technology is responsible for managing all aspects of the Agency’s Information Technology department and resources, including the network, websites, hardware, and software. VHFA is seeking a proven leader who will act as a strategic advisor to the Agency’s business units and Executive Management team, and an innovative thinker who is able to clearly communicate Agency-wide, and concurrently prioritize and manage large and small projects involving IT and/or software implementation. This position is also responsible for the design and testing of the Agency’s IT disaster recovery process, maintaining effective working relationships with Agency partners regarding technology and the identification and selection of IT vendors and consultants whose contributions would benefit VHFA’s operations.

The Community Development Underwriter is responsible for comprehensive underwriting and analysis of prospective multifamily housing and single-family developments being considered for VHFA financing, tax credits and special initiatives. The position will underwrite and analyze Housing Credit applications and administer the Federal and State Housing Credit Programs. This position administers real estate development programs in coordination with the Managing Director of Community Development and actively participates in initiating and conducting outreach to the development community and partners. This person will assist in the development of policies and procedures, will administer programs in accordance with all applicable federal regulations, VHFA statutory requirements and Community Development rules and underwriting guidelines, and will manage loan requisitions. Finally, this position is responsible for maintaining and submitting requisite reporting and tracking project performance.

Named a “Best Small Place to Work in Vermont” for the past three years in a row, VHFA offers a competitive salary and an excellent benefits package. The full description for both positions and a summary of benefits are available at www.vhfa.org/careers. Please send cover letter, resume and references to HR@vhfa.org by Friday, June 14, 2019.

VHFA is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to a diverse workplace. We highly encourage women, persons with disabilities, and people from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds to apply.

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