Commerce and Community Development: 2. Vermont’s Housing Programs

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There are four organizations providing investment and/or financial assistance for low and moderate income housing in Vermont, which are generally organized around underlying federal housing grant programs.

The first is the Department of Housing and Community Development, the largest department in the Agency. It administers the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Program.

This program provides grants to communities for low-income housing, renovations, restoration and historic preservation. Burlington has a direct relationship with HUD under this program. All the other towns in the state are administered through this department. In fiscal-year 2016, Vermont received $22 million of grants from the Community Development Block Grant Program.

The current administration in Washington proposed to eliminate the Community Development Block Grant Program in its proposed budget. The House version of the 2018 budget cut it’s appropriation, but did not eliminate the program.

The second organization involved in housing is the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. It provides grants for home purchases and loans for low-income housing developments.  It made over $17 million of grants and loans in 2016.

Federal funding is provided by HUD’s “HOME” Investment Partnership Program and the National Housing Trust Fund. This organization also provides business planning and technical assistance to Vermont farmers with some funding provided by the USDA. It also administers the AmeriCorps program.

The administration in Washington proposed to eliminate the National Housing Trust Program (which is aimed at the lowest income Americans).  The House version of the 2018 budget preserved this program and cut appropriations for the HOME Investment Partnership Program.

The third key housing organization is the Vermont Housing Finance Agency. It’s basically a state sponsored bank that provides single and multi-family mortgage programs for low and moderate-income housing.

In 2016, it had $544 million of assets (loans outstanding) funded in part by $407 million of bonds issued without any recourse to the State of Vermont.  It originated over $95 million of new mortgage loans in 2016.

The last entity is the Vermont State Housing Authority.This group administers low-income rental housing assistance (via vouchers) under the HUD Section 8 program and  federal and state housing tax credit programs.

HUD Section 8 represents one of the major federal welfare programs in the country providing rental assistance to low income tenants.  In fiscal year 2016, Vermont received in excess of $58 million of HUD Section 8 rental assistance funding.

 

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