I recently had the opportunity to be with Vermont’s two Senators. Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Bernie Sanders.
The conversation with Bernie was with other housing leaders across the State, where we discussed the range of issues impacting housing and the possible responses that were underway and that were needed, including the importance of shared equity homeownership and permanent affordability. Bernie recalled his role in the creation of the Burlington Community Land Trust. As always, Bernie’s perspective was sharp and to the point.
With Senator Leahy, I was able to introduce him to the leaders of NeighborWorks organizations from across the country who were gathered In Washington. Senator Leahy has been a strong supporter of NeighborWorks funding for some time now, and the leaders of NeighborWorks were recognizing his retirement. Here is what I said as my introduction:
“If you were to walk out of CHT World Headquarters on King Street in Burlington Vermont, and walked a few blocks west, you would run into Lake Champlain, the country’s sixth Great Lake, and you would find the Leahy Science Center for Lake Champlain. If you walked a few blocks north to Burlington’s downtown, you would find the Church Street Marketplace, one of the country most successful pedestrian areas, and find Leahy Way. And if you walked into Burlington’s neighborhoods, you would find house after home supported by CDBG and Home program and NeighborWorks funding. All of these programs have endured because of the Senators support.
But if you were to go a little further out of the City and explored Vermont’ agriculture scene, you would find the Farm to Lunch program. And if you visited our Villages, you would find Paul Bruhn grants made to support the historic villages and our way of life. And then there’s the Five NeighborWorks organizations that serve all of Vermont and the great work that they do throughout the State…
And that’s just Vermont. If you wandered throughout the United States, both in urban area, and rural areas and in our inner cities, you would see the impact of the work of hundreds of NeighborWorks organizations and you would know the incredible support that Senator Leahy has given NeighborWorks for so many years.”
As I introduced him and thanked him, the crowd rose and applauded. It was a proud moment to be a Vermonter.
We truly have a great congressional delegation that understands the importance of creating permanently affordable housing.