October 26, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — A new report on the Vermont’s non-profit affordable housing providers says the state should consider consolidating them and introducing performance measures to increase efficiency and accountability.
The report – prepared by the Weidner Group, a firm specializing in finding efficiencies in government – recommends combining three non-profit quasi-governmental entities as well as the state’s affordable housing program into one agency, and setting specific goals and performance standards to be met.
“All of state government has taken steps to increase efficiency and move towards performance-based measures and contracts with our partners,” said Kevin Dorn, Secretary of Commerce and Community Development. “Given the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on affordable housing, and the revenue shortfalls the state is facing, Vermonters expect and deserve wise stewardship of their money, and clear indicators of whether they’re getting what they pay for.”
The report, which was commissioned as a result of the “Tiger Team” efforts by the Douglas administration to find efficiencies and savings in state government, recommends combining the Vermont State Housing Agency; the Vermont Housing Finance Agency; and the affordable housing programs of the Vermont Housing Conservation Board and the Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development into one agency.
Noting that the non-profit agencies duplicate many functions and each has their own board of directors, offices, and staff, the report estimates conservatively that the annual savings of consolidation would be $450,000, which could be used to build more affordable housing.
“In addition, there is the savings in both money and time that would result from developers not being required to apply to each board for financing approval, which is what happens now,” Dorn said. “This is a common-sense recommendation that warrants strong consideration.”
Consolidating the functions of the non-profits would also increase accountability for achieving results, Dorn said, which is currently difficult because each has only a partial role in many projects.
The report has been sent to the governor’s office for consideration. To view the report please visit: http://www.dhca.state.vt.us/10-13_Housing_Report_FINAL.pdf
Source: Agency of Commerce and Community Development