Senator Leahy, Eileen Peltier, Nancy Owens and Congressman Welch
For the past 75 years, the apartments on the top two floors of Montpelier’s French Block have stood empty. That is changing. Downstreet Housing & Community Development and Housing Vermont are now working together to restore the building to its former glory while creating much-needed housing units in the heart of Montpelier.
Today, Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman Peter Welch joined the two nonprofits, municipal officials, funders, community members, and others to celebrate the start of construction.
“One of the reasons I work to increase the federal investments that help Vermont build new homes is because a stable and affordable place to live can make all the difference. They make a difference both to the person or family living in that home, but also to the entire community. Our communities are more vibrant when we ensure that people have the opportunity to live and work in a downtown,” said Senator Patrick Leahy. “Thanks to the hard work of Downstreet and Housing Vermont, that opportunity will be a reality for more of our friends and neighbors.”
Nancy Owens has announced that Beth Boutin has been promoted to serve as Vice President for Community Investments.
“Housing Vermont’s New Markets Tax Credit program has flourished under Beth’s direction,” Nancy said. “We look forward to Beth bringing her talents to this new position.”
As a member of the senior staff, Beth will be responsible for broadening and maintaining strong alliances with affordable housing and community development investment and business partners, identifying and securing resources, developing New Markets Tax Credit business opportunities, directing multi-investor and proprietary housing equity funds, and staffing Investment Committees and VRV boards.
The Vermont Housing Finance Agency awarded Housing Vermont and its local development partners a total of 2,287,000 in allocated (9%) Low Income Housing Tax Credits for four new construction developments.
“This is great news that will benefit four different housing markets across the state,” said Housing Vermont President Nancy Owens. “These developments respond in different ways to local needs and opportunities to increase the supply of affordable apartments by building new housing.”
Kenn Sassorossi, Housing Vermont’s long-time Vice President for Partner Relations, has announced that he will be retiring in mid-July.
“I’ve been fortunate to work closely with Kenn for more than 18 years,” said HV President Nancy Owens. “All the Housing Vermont staff and board will miss working with Kenn; his warmth, good humor and intelligence improve our lives daily,” Nancy said.
Kenn came to Housing Vermont in December 2000 when he was asked to concentrate on increasing communications with local, state, and investor partners. When HV created the multi-investor Green Mountain Housing Equity Fund in 2003, Kenn added fund manager to his public policy and communications work.
Housing Vermont’s capacity to provide equity for its strong pipeline of affordable housing developments has been improved substantially with the creation of a $15 million proprietary equity fund with People’s United Bank.
“People’s United Bank has a long-standing and successful relationship with Housing Vermont, and we are pleased to provide this major commitment of low-income housing equity in support of affordable housing in Vermont,” said Art Casavant, Vice President and Community Reinvestment Officer for People’s United. “This important extension of capital will allow us to meet community needs and support an important partner,” Casavant said.
On February 13, the Treasury Department announced that Vermont Rural Ventures, a subsidiary of Housing Vermont, was awarded a $60 million allocation of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) to continue its successful economic development work in low-income areas.
“This award will allow us to invest in expanding businesses which create or retain good jobs,” said Housing Vermont President, Nancy Owens. “Our economic development work has been incredibly successful and this investment will allow us to further that work in rural communities throughout the state.”
Under the NMTC program, investors receive federal tax credits in exchange for making investments in eligible economic development projects. These business and real estate investments provide more favorable terms and conditions than the market typically offers.
Competition for the NMTC awards was stiff. The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, the arm of Treasury that operates the program, received applications from 230 organizations requesting a total of approximately $16.2 billion in allocations. Only 73 applicants (32 percent of the total applicant pool) were awarded allocations that ranged from $15 million to $75 million. Continue reading
The TD Charitable Foundation has awarded Housing Vermont a $100,000 grant to create home ownership opportunities while improving neighborhoods through the rehabilitation of dilapidated or vacant homes.
In presenting the check, TD Bank Market President Phil Daniels congratulated Housing Vermont for its successful application to the highly competitive TD Charitable Foundation Major Grant program.
Housing Vermont will use the award to help finance its Neighborhood Housing Fund. This new initiative will serve two objectives: creating home ownership opportunities for lower income households, and improving neighborhoods through the rehabilitation of dilapidated or vacant homes.
Homelessness has serious implications for families and communities. Preventing homelessness by limiting evictions would avoid negative consequences to families and communities while reducing demand on scarce public resources for responding to homelessness.
Housing Vermont (HV), Vermont’s largest multi-family affordable housing owner/developer, has completed an eviction prevention study to better describe the frequency and causes of evictions in Vermont, including “negative exits” like abandonment and move-outs that occur before the formal court eviction process is completed. The objectives were to better understand the eviction landscape, and identify where practices could prevent evictions before individuals become homeless.
HOLLY PELCZYNSKI – BENNINGTON BANNER
A chamber of commerce, picture-perfect day formed the backdrop for the October 12 celebration of the completion of extensive improvements to Bennington’s Applegate Apartments.
The 104-unit Applegate Apartments is among the largest affordable housing developments in Vermont. It was also the highest residential fuel oil user in Bennington County, consuming an average of 50,000 gallons of heating oil annually. Annual fuel costs in recent years were as great as $175,000, equivalent to $140 per apartment each month.
“The rising cost of fuel oil posed a real threat to the financial viability of the development,” said Kenn Sassorossi, Housing Vermont Vice President for Partner Relations. “Shires Housing and Housing Vermont clearly understood that making energy efficiency the core of the rehabilitation scope of work was absolutely essential to the long term sustainability of Applegate Apartments.” Continue reading
Charlie Willner and Andrew Brown
Housing Vermont’s commitment to expanding services to our residents was underscored through the hiring of Andrew Brown as the program manager for HV Connections. Launched in January 2016, HV Connections works with property managers and our nonprofit partners at seven properties to build connections between area resources and our residents to address critical needs such as child care, food access, transportation and education. Continue reading