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VHFA News

By: Leslie Black-Plumeau on 12/27/2018

Vermont’s economy is growing but not in every county, and its gains have disproportionately benefited higher income Vermonters, according to the 2018 update of “State of Working Vermont” from Public Assets Institute. Poverty is distinctly more prevalent among younger Vermonters and Vermonters of color, the report notes.

The northwestern part of the state accounted for all job growth in Vermont in the last decade, according to the Public Assets Institute report.  While employment grew in Chittenden, Franklin and Washington counties, the remaining counties lost 15,000 workers. 

Why are income trends so important for affordable housing programs?  Housing is affordable when income and housing costs are balanced.  Housing with associated costs that consume no more than 30% of a household’s income is typically considered “affordable.”  It is this connection that makes understanding the income side of the scale critical to most effectively building communities where residents have affordable housing.  The report finds that in 2017, nearly two-thirds of Vermont households with incomes under $50,000 were living in unaffordable housing.

By: Mia Watson on 12/20/2018

Earlier this week, VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter was honored by the VHFA Board of Commissioners with a resolution in recognition of her 20 years of service as head of the agency.

L. Randolph Amis, Chair of Board of Directors, praised Carpenter for her “grace, good humor, and dogged resolution” in her leadership of VHFA and her advocacy for affordable housing.

The resolution reads:

“WHEREAS, Sarah Carpenter has served Vermont’s housing community for over three decades as a developer, funder and financier impacting more than 10,000 households; and

WHEREAS, Sarah’s efforts and leadership transformed Vermont’s discussion of how to provide supportive housing for its most vulnerable citizens; and

WHEREAS, Sarah fearlessly took on NIMBYism in Burlington, Woodstock and other communities; and

WHEREAS, Sarah, through her work on the NCSHA Board, has provided national leadership helping to successfully expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit; and

WHEREAS, Sarah has been an effective mentor to the next generation of Vermont’s housing leaders; and

WHEREAS, Sarah led VHFA through both its best and most productive years and difficult times after the housing collapse of 2008 with grace, good humor and dogged determination;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the VHFA Board of Commissioners thanks Sarah for her extraordinary dedication and leadership and declares Sarah a friend of great distinction for Vermont’s affordable housing community and wishes here great joy and wonderful travel in her retirement.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true copy of the approved Resolution of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency Board of Commissioners meeting held on December 6, 2018 at Burlington, Vermont.”                                                   

                                                                                                                L. Randolph Amis

                                                                                                                Chair of Board of Directors

                                                                                                                Vermont Housing Finance Agency

 

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By: Mia Watson on 12/14/2018

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce recently named Leo O’Brien Jr. and Daniel J. O’Brien, founder of O’Brien Brothers real estate development, as the 2018 Citizens of the Year. Among their many other accomplishments, the brothers have a long history of investment in affordable housing in Vermont.

In the late 1970's, O’Brien Brothers was one of the first real estate developers to participate in the Section 8 program offered by the federal government through VHFA. At that time, the program was new, complicated, and considered risky by many. Country Park was one of the first projects built by the company with VHFA as a partner.  The South Burlington affordable apartment complex continues to serve very low income seniors today. The O’Brien brothers are responsible for much of the Burlington area’s affordable rental housing stock. 

As the company more recently shifted some of their development interest to workforce housing and decided to sell some of their affordable properties, they worked very closely with VHFA to responsibly transition those properties to owners to ensure long term affordability and protection of the residents who lived there.

VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter remarked, “I have worked with Leo and Dan for over 40 years and know what solid and caring business people they are and how committed they are to the Chittenden County community and to the State of Vermont. They have provided outstanding service to the community and continue to work on that through the values they have set for their family business.”

Photo from O'Brien Brothers

By: Mia Watson on 12/12/2018

Earlier this fall, VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Vermont Housing Managers Association (VHMA) for her lifetime of service in affordable housing.

Carpenter has worked in affordable housing management throughout her career. Prior to her role as Executive Director of VHFA, she led Cathedral Square Corporation as its Executive Director for 15 years and worked with the Champlain Valley Agency on Aging on housing issues. Sarah was a founding member of VHMA and has served in a variety of roles, including President and Treasurer.

VHMA supports a network of affordable housing management organizations across Vermont, offering advanced training about current regulations and best practices for housing service providers.  VHFA works closely with housing managers as part of its responsibility to provide oversight to state and federally funded housing developments. VHFA monitors housing projects for financial viability, property maintenance, program compliance, and long-term affordability.

Photo courtesy of Karen Pike Photography

By: Mia Watson on 12/12/2018

Once again, VHFA is hosting a virtual auction to benefit United Way. Online bidding is now live.  

The theme of this year’s auction is "Vermont Made". The auction features over 75 items from Vermont companies and artisans, donated by staff and local businesses. This is an amazing opportunity to support a worthy cause, highlight the work of talented Vermonters, and finish your holiday shopping stress-free. 

All proceeds from the auction will go directly to the United Way of Northwest Vermont whose mission is to build a stronger Northwest Vermont by mobilizing our community to improve people’s lives. United Way brings together individuals, nonprofits, businesses, and government entities to fight for the education, financial stability and health of every person in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties.

Now it is time to bid! The auction closes at 4:00 pm on Monday, December 17th.

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