Washington, D.C. – May 25, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Vermont received national recognition for award-winning affordable housing programs on May 3 when the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development announced the Doorknocker Awards at the 20th anniversary of the HOME Program. The HOME Program is a block grant to states and cities used to fund housing affordable to lower-income Americans. The Green Mountain State took home two awards and an honorable mention in the competition, with only 14 awards presented nationally.
Senator Patrick Leahy, who has been a leader in securing federal funds from HUD to create affordable housing in Vermont, said, “For almost 20 years, Vermont has made terrific use of HOME funding to develop affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households. For many families, stable, affordable housing is a stepping stone to economic independence. Our affordable housing programs are well coordinated, productive and nationally known.”
The State of Vermont HOME Program, administered by The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB), was the only winner recognized for capacity building among community-based, non-profit housing development organizations. VHCB provides annual operating grants, technical assistance and training to the network of affordable housing developers serving every county in the state. These organizations have created and preserved more than 10,000 affordable homes in Vermont since 1987. VHCB has administered nearly $60 million in HUD HOME Program funds for the state of Vermont since 1992.
VHCB’s Executive Director, Gus Seelig, said, “”It is truly an honor for Vermont to be recognized for all the ground work that has made our affordable housing delivery system a national model. Vermont’s system has benefited from federal funding since the inception of HUD’s HOME Program. The combination of HOME funds, state funding and private equity investments make it possible to serve very low-income households at a greater rate than the national average, bringing housing security to the most vulnerable Vermonters.”
The City of Burlington’s Community & Economic Development Office (CEDO) was selected as one of four winners in the category that recognized permanently affordable housing. CEDO partners with the Champlain Housing Trust to deploy HOME funds in the development of housing, and used a new building on King Street in the City as an example of the effectiveness of the partnership. The Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont completed the LEED-certified building at 88 King Street in January, 2009, to serve as its headquarters and to provide twenty new apartments in downtown Burlington. Overall, CEDO has committed HOME funds to more than 1,200 affordable rentals in Burlington.
“I’m pleased that the City of Burlington has been able to partner with the Champlain Housing Trust to create perpetually affordable housing through the use of HOME funds,” said Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss. “Working together, this investment has helped us build a more sustainable and equitable community. It’s a 20-year partnership that has clearly paid off.”
The Housing Trust of Rutland County (HTRC) received an honorable mention for their development of 25 affordable apartments in previously deteriorated buildings on Cottage and Pine Streets. Using a combination of demolition, new construction and rehabilitation, HTRC transformed seven buildings, greatly improving downtown neighborhoods.
Elisabeth Kulas, Executive Director of the Housing Trust said, “We are excited that a small project in Rutland, Vermont received national recognition for its green design, community impact and commitment to permanent affordability. These small infill redevelopments can turn our struggling neighborhoods around. The Housing Trust’s permanent commitment to own well-managed affordable housing in Rutland’s hardest hit neighborhoods can be seen as another positive turning point for the City.”