State Announces $1.3 Million Housing Grant To Burlington


BURLINGTON, Vt. – October 30, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — The state has awarded more than $1.3 million to the City of Burlington to purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed homes and convert a New North End building into affordable housing.

In a ceremony at City Hall, Lt. Governor Brian Dubie presented the $1,330,600 Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant, funded by the federal government in response to the mortgage foreclosure crisis that gripped the country last year, to city officials.

“This money will help create new housing as well as preserve much-needed affordable housing,” Dubie said. “And it will help the economy in the short-term by creating jobs for local contractors and others.”

“With this grant, Burlington will be able to convert the tragedy of home foreclosures into opportunities for new low-income families to become homeowners with affordable and stable financing,” Mayor Bob Kiss said. “Our partnership with the Champlain Housing Trust ensures that the homebuyers not only have affordable financing, but also the education and support to sustain their homes for future generations.”

About $1 million of the money will be used to acquire foreclosed single family homes that will be rehabilitated to code standards – including energy efficiency upgrades – and resold to eligible buyers.

The purchase price may be discounted in some cases up to 50 of the cost of the acquisition and rehab expenditures to make the homes affordable to households up to 120 of area median income.

The subsidy will remain with each of the properties to provide affordable homeownership for years to come.

The balance of the grant, $330,600, will be sub-granted to the Cathedral Square Corporation to assist in the redevelopment of the former Thayer School property.

This project aims to transform this large, vacant and under-utilized property in the heart of Burlington’s New North End into a mixed-use residential and commercial community providing new affordable rental housing to both seniors and working Vermonters.

Earlier this summer, Governor Jim Douglas announced the state will sell the building, which currently houses a Department of Motor Vehicles office, to Cathedral Square.

“Having the NSP funds allows us to jump-start the creation of 100 new affordable housing units for seniors and low income families on the old Thayer School site on North Avenue,” Kiss said. “This represents an important step in the ongoing efforts to relieve a chronic housing shortage in the Burlington area.”

The state Department of Motor Vehicles now occupies only part of the Thayer School site, which consists of the original 1947 building and an addition put on in 1967.

The state acquired the school in 1982 after the city no longer needed it, and it housed both DMV and the Agency of Human Services, which later relocated to other offices in the Burlington area.

Cathedral Square intends to demolish a portion of the vacant building and build up to 100 new units of senior affordable housing.

The DMV will retain office space through a condominium purchase arrangement while the rest of the property will be a mixture of commercial and retail space.

Late last year the federal government authorized Vermont to distribute $19 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to be used to buy and resell foreclosed homes and to refurbish or even demolish other buildings as part of the response to the mortgage crisis.

The state’s plan for distributing the funds called for providing $7 million to the Vermont Housing Finance Agency to buy and re-sell foreclosed homes to low- and moderate-income Vermonters.

$3.1 million of the funds were made available to municipalities that were able administer their own such Neighborhood Stabilization plans.

$8.9 million has gone to non-profit or private developers for specific projects, with $3 million of the money administered for housing funding by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and $5.9 million administered by the Vermont Community Development Program.

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