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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.

By: Mia Watson on 12/7/2018

Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) has issued a Request for Proposals to provide underwriter services for VHFA’s bond issuance.

The details of the RFP can be found on our website. The deadline to submit a proposal is Friday, January 4, 2019.

Proposals and questions should be directed to finrfp@vhfa.org. We will be posting your questions related to the RFP, and our answers, on the RFP page.

By: Mia Watson on 12/5/2018

New estimates from the ACTION Campaign demonstrate the significant impact that the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit has had in Vermont, including creating and preserving over 7,000 affordable homes since 1986 and supporting nearly 8,000 jobs per year.

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit is the largest source of funding for publically-assisted housing development. These federal tax credits are awarded by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) to developers, who sell the credits to raise capital for construction. In exchange, developers set aside apartments for low-income households. These apartments are roughly affordable to households earning less than $40,000, for a family of four. The program has created over 3 million affordable housing units nationwide since it began in 1986.

The program is also an important source of economic development for Vermont, generating $296 million in local income and $754 million dollars in tax revenue stemming from the construction of the homes.

However, 39,000 Vermont households still pay over half their income towards housing costs. This makes it extremely challenging to afford other basic necessities like transportation, healthcare, childcare, and food. Most of the low-income households in Vermont do not receive housing assistance, from this or other housing programs. 

The ACTION Campaign (A Call To Invest in Our Neighborhoods) has released a fact sheet providing these figures. VHFA is a proud member of the campaign, which is a national coalition of over 2,200 national, state, and local organizations and businesses that have joined to call on Congress to protect and expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.

Currently, ACTION is supporting the bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, which would expand the program by 50% over five years, as well as by providing states with additional flexibility in tax credit allocation, streamlining financing, assisting development in rural communities, and supporting the preservation of existing affordable housing. According to ACTION, a 50% increase to the program would allow 903 additional affordable homes to be built in Vermont over the next ten years.

In addition to state fact sheets, ACTION provides a variety of resources to support advocacy, including letter-writing campaign materials, reports on pending legislation, and a list of other campaign members in Vermont.

By: Mia Watson on 12/3/2018

VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter joined affordable housing partners in South Burlington last week to celebrate the completion of Allard Square. The project, developed by Cathedral Square Corporation and Synder-Braverman Development Company, created 39 one and two bedroom apartments for seniors, 29 of which will be rented at rates affordable to low income Vermont seniors. The project was funded in large part by federal tax credits and a loan awarded by VHFA.

Allard Square is named for Doris Allard, a 94-year old who has lived Cathedral Square’s original apartment building for over 40 years. Allard cut the ceremonial ribbon to mark the new building’s official opening.

As part of the opening ceremonies, the activity room in the new building was dedicated to VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter who is retiring after decades of leadership in Vermont’s affordable housing industry. A plaque on the wall reads, “Sarah Carpenter dedicated over 40 years of her career to advancing affordable housing in Vermont. She served as the Executive Director of Vermont Housing Finance Agency for 20 years, and before that she was the Executive Director of Cathedral Square for 15 years. A Burlington native, Sarah recognized that housing is a critical foundation for stability, health, and wellness.”

“It has been such a joy to support Cathedral Square in their creation of much-needed apartments and the SASH program for seniors throughout the state,” said Carpenter.

All residents at Allard Square will have access to SASH (Support and Services at Home), a care-coordination program that helps residents live safely, comfortably, and independently. The energy efficient and accessible building features several community spaces and is within walking distance to shops and services in South Burlington’s emerging downtown center.

Primary funding for the project was provided through federal housing credits awarded by Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA), which were sold People’s United Bank to raise $6.7 million in equity  and a $1.6 million long term loan to the project. Other funding partners included the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) with funding from the recent Vermont Housing Revenue Bond, the Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP), federal HOME program funds, the South Burlington Housing Trust, The TD Charitable Foundation, and the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

Pictured (above): VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter and Kim Fitzgerald, Chief Executive Officer of Cathedral Square Corporation 

Photos courtesy of Karen Pike Photography,