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By: Mia Watson on 10/29/2018

Governor Phil Scott joined state legislators, Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, and VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter in Brattleboro last week to celebrate the groundbreaking of Snow Block apartments. The project will create 18 affordable apartments for low-income Vermonters as part of a 23-unit mixed-income building. The affordable units will be rented permanently at well below market rates. The project was funded in large part by federal low-income housing tax credits awarded by VHFA.

Snow Block will be constructed to achieve Passive House certification, which means it will use much less energy than comparable buildings. The building will feature a rooftop solar array, with no fossil fuels used for everyday heating and cooling. Governor Scott praised Windham & Windsor Housing Trust for their innovation and leadership in developing the project.

The building is also intended to serve as a vehicle for community development, replacing a vacant lot on Flat Street and bringing tenants within walking distance of stores, the library, and transportation. Youth Services will have an office within the building to provide resources to children and families.

Among the funding for the project were $574,000 in federal housing credits awarded by Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA), which will be sold to investors to raise an estimated $4.9 million in equity for construction. VHFS also awarded the project a construction loan. In total, the $7.4 million project will receive nearly two thirds of its funding from VHFA. Other funding partners included the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, which awarded $1.5 million from the state's Housing for All Revenue Bond, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME and Housing Trust Fund programs, and NeighborWorks.

The apartment building will be managed by Windham & Windsor Housing Trust and is expected to be completed by next fall, 2019.

Photo courtesy of Windham & Windsor Housing Trust

By: Mia Watson on 10/26/2018

Vermont Resident Service Coordinators (VRSC) is hosting a training on “Smoke-free Housing Now: Checking in on the Challenges and Successes” on November 28, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the Royalton Academy Building, in South Royalton. This training is sponsored by Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA), Vermont Housing Managers Association (VHMA), and Burlington Housing Authority (BHA).

In the training, Burlington Housing Authority will share its experience as the first public housing authority in Vermont to implement a smoke-free policy. Staff from BHA will provide an overview of their implementation plan, resident engagement in the roll-out process, resident resources, and enforcement strategies.  The training will include a problem-solving session with attendees and facilitate discussion to support successful smoke-free housing policy development and compliance. 

The session is open to the public. Admission is $10 per person, payable at the door with cash, check or money order. VRSC and VHMA members are admitted free. Lunch is included for everyone. After the training, VRSC will hold its fall meeting from 1:00-2:00 pm.

Registration is required for this event. Contact Doug Hemmings at dhemmings@maloneyproperties.com with any questions.


By: Mia Watson on 10/24/2018

Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) is seeking a Managing Director of Community Development. Named a “Best Small Place to Work in Vermont” for the past three years in a row, VHFA is looking for an individual who will help us to maintain our great reputation, and who demonstrates a strong work ethic, is creative, puts customers first, and works well both independently and as a team player.

In collaboration with Executive Management, this position will provide leadership in the development and implementation of the strategic goals and objectives of the Agency, develop and implement successful business plans for each program area of responsibility, monitor program risks and provide Agency-wide leadership.

VHFA offers a competitive salary and an excellent benefits package. The full position description and a summary of benefits is available at www.vhfa.org/careers. Please send cover letter, resume and references to HR@vhfa.org by 4:00 pm, November 9, 2018. Position will be open until filled.

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.

By: Mia Watson on 10/23/2018

Taking place shortly after the midterm and statewide elections, the 2018 Vermont Statewide Housing Conference on November 13 and 14 will provide many opportunities to get your questions answered about how the election results will affect Vermont.

A legislative breakfast reception on Wednesday the 14th will allow conference attendees to network with state legislators as well as staff from the offices of all three Vermont federal legislators. The winner of the Vermont governor's race has also been invited to address the audience on their vision of housing in Vermont.

During the breakfast, the conference committee will announce the winners of the Housing Hero Awards. The Legislative Housing Hero Award is awarded to a state legislator who has demonstrated a commitment to affordable housing. Recent recipients have included former state representatives Helen Head and Martha Heath, and former state Senator Susan Bartlett.

Afterwards, a series of snap interviews will offer a detailed analysis of the likely direction of housing policy in the wake of the elections. At the federal level, Washington DC insiders Stockton Williams of the National Council of State Housing Agencies and David Lipsetz of the Housing Assistance Council will share their assessments of the impact of the midterm election on the political landscape and what, if any, major messages were made clear by the voting. At the state level, Rebecca Ramos of the Necrason Group will interview Mitzi Johnson, Vermont Speaker of the House, and Katie Buckley, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development, to discuss not only who won statewide office but also what the makeup of the Legislature will mean for top issues in 2019. 

You won't want to miss this opportunity to learn about the big topics for the coming legislative sessions and how they relate to housing, so register to attend today.


By: Mia Watson on 10/23/2018

Earlier this month, Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) joined Downstreet Housing & Community Development in celebrating the completion of renovations of the Winooski River Apartments in Montpelier. The project was funded in part by VHFA, which awarded both state and federal tax credits as well as construction financing. This renovation allows Downstreet to preserve affordable, historic apartments while significantly improving the energy-efficiency and accessibility of the buildings.

Winooski River Apartments consists of three buildings at 11 Bailey Avenue, 15 Baldwin Street, and 37 Barre Street. The three buildings form part of the Montpelier Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The project earned over $400,000 in equity from federal historic preservation tax credits. The properties were originally purchased and renovated by Downstreet in 1998, which was also financed by loans and tax credits awarded by VHFA. This new renovation project improved the buildings’ structural stability, weatherization, energy efficiency, and ADA compliance, while preserving their historic character.

The three buildings will offer 15 mixed-income apartments, 13 of which will be reserved for low-income households.  The buildings’ downtown location will provide tenants with convenient access to transportation, services, and recreation. 

The $4.5 million renovation received over a quarter of its funding from VHFA, including $95,000 in federal 4% housing tax credits and $95,300 in state credits, which were sold to investors to raise an estimated total of $1.2 million in equity for construction. This project also received funding from Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) HOME program, the Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP), and Neighborworks.

Photo courtesy of Mike Rama, Downstreet Housing & Community Development