By: Chad Simmons

June 27, 2023

The Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) Board of Commissioners announced Monday the award of state and federal housing tax credits and loans to support the construction, rehabilitation or preservation of 139 permanently affordable apartments in four communities across the state. 

Reid Commons in St. Albans

“Our state continues to see numerous challenges in the construction and rehabilitation of housing combined with increasing rates of homelessness,” remarked VHFA Executive Director Maura Collins. “The Vermont development community and housing funders have joined together to make these projects possible and get more Vermonters into safe, decent and affordable homes, including those exiting homelessness.” 

In April, VHFA awarded $28 million in federal housing credits, supporting the construction of 112 homes in perpetually affordable apartment buildings. Monday’s awards provide an additional $18.0 million in equity through federal bond credits and $1.3 million in equity through Vermont Affordable Housing Tax Credits for developing affordable apartments. VHFA also awarded $15.8 million in construction loans, $360,000 in equity bridge loans and $650,000 in long-term loans to the projects Monday.  

VHFA also awarded nearly $600,000 in loans from its Vermont Housing Investment Fund (VHIF). The fund was established in 2020 to provide more flexible financing opportunities for affordable housing development. To date, the VHIF has raised over $9.5 million in public and private capital. 

The VHIF is instrumental in helping Vermont more effectively leverage state and federal bond credits. While the 9% or ceiling credits are capped for each state, the federal bond credits are not competitive in Vermont. However, these bond credits cover a smaller amount of projects’ total costs than the ceiling credits and have often been under-used in Vermont due to gaps in project budgets. Bringing together VHIF as well as federal ARPA pandemic relief funds awarded by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) has allowed VHFA to support more projects than ever before.  

Projects funded by VHFA on Monday include: 

  • Hospital Heights in Rutland, developed by Summit Properties, is a rehabilitation of 22 apartments, including 4 set aside for households experiencing or at risk of homelessness. VHFA awarded State and Bond Credits and a construction loan. 

  • Reid Commons is a new project in St. Albans developed by Cathedral Square and will include 33 apartments, 6 set aside for households experiencing or at risk of homelessness. VHFA awarded State Credits, Bond Credits, construction and permanent loans and VHIF. 

  • Salisbury Square Phase 2 in Randolph is a new project developed by Randolph Area Community Development and will include 12 apartments, 3 set aside for households experiencing or at risk of homelessness. VHFA awarded State Credits and a construction loan. 

  • Randolph House in Randolph is a redevelopment by Randolph Area Community Development and includes 48 apartments, 5 set aside for households experiencing or at risk of homelessness. VHFA awarded VHIF. 

  • Kelley’s Field 2 is a new project developed by Cathedral Square in Hinesburg and will include 24 apartments with 4 set aside for households experiencing or at risk of homelessness. VHFA awarded State Credits and an equity bridge loan. 

The projects include 22 apartments for households experiencing or at risk of homelessness. This is in addition to the federal housing credits awarded in April funding homes for those who were previously homeless. This comes as Vermont recorded a nearly 19% increase in persons experiencing homelessness in Vermont this year compared to last, likely due to continued pandemic-related challenges and an extremely tight rental market. These five projects will help provide safe, permanently affordable homes paired with supportive services to help households transition out of homelessness.  

In addition to the housing credits and loans awarded by VHFA, other funding sources for the new projects include grants and loans from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Vermont Community Development Program, Community Recovery & Revitalization Program, Rutland Revolving Loan Fund, Energy Incentives through Efficiency Vermont, Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, Downtown Tax Credit, Weinberg Foundation, Hinesburg Revolving Loan Fund, and Northern Borders.