News

CHT and Steps to End Domestic Violence Announce New Shelter and Expanded Services

Posted on Wednesday, October 07, 2020, by Chris Donnelly

The Champlain Housing Trust and Steps to End Domestic Violence jointly announced plans to establish a new shelter serving those escaping domestic and sexual violence in Chittenden County. CHT acquired the property with Coronavirus Relief Funds made available in the CARES Act, which were allocated by the State Legislature through the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board.

CHT has hired J.A. Morrissey to renovate what had been the Handy’s Extended Stay Suites on Route 15 in Colchester, and will be leasing it to Steps.

A major driver of homelessness is domestic violence – people fleeing their homes, with or without children, to flee abusive relationships. Typically, Steps to End Domestic Violence supports 35 households per night in the State-sponsored hotel system because the current Steps shelter can only house seven in a congregate setting. When the pandemic hit, that number was further reduced to three or four that could stay there safely.

CHT purchased the property at the end of September and is currently renovating the property to provide Steps with increased capacity to serve up to 21 households, with capacity for both individuals and families with children. This work will be complete in the next couple of months.

“While we have recognized the need for a larger shelter facility to better respond to the need for trauma-informed emergency housing for years, the pandemic has only heightened this need and made it more urgent,” said Nicole Kubon, MSW, Executive Director of Steps. “This new shelter will provide us the ability to maintain social distancing, enhance the services we are able to offer and bring the work of ending domestic violence more visibly into the community.”

Compounding the space challenges are those relating to services: with people sheltering at home since the Covid-19 pandemic, domestic violence has skyrocketed. The number of people served by Steps to End Domestic Violence increased from 40 in March, 2019 to 62 this March – an increase of over 50%.

“The Champlain Housing Trust and Steps have been working towards finding a new home for Steps for a couple of years now. CHT was pleased to be able to step in and support this critical community organization that serves people in perhaps their time of greatest need,” said Michael Monte of CHT. “The State’s allocation of these resources through VHCB is helping address this significant need to address people’s safety and health in the midst of a pandemic.”

While the location of the current shelter was kept confidential for the safety of the people staying there, the new one takes a different approach. “The departure from a confidentially located shelter to a publicly located shelter and office space will require heightened security measures but will also provide us with an opportunity to bring the issue of intimate partner violence out of the shadows,” explained Kubon. “It encourages community engagement, support and collective responsibility for the safety of all people in our communities.”

Kubon also stressed that the new shelter “will allow for more dignity for people when their lives are uprooted by violence and can support some added level of normalcy by being able to have family or friends visit during the day, or ordering food delivery on a Friday night. It also means we can stay better connected to survivors once they've re-established their lives, free from violence, in the community.”

Building Homes Together Campaign Releases Progress Report

Posted on Monday, October 05, 2020, by Chris Donnelly

The Building Homes Together Campaign, formed in 2016 to encourage production of housing in Chittenden County, released its annual progress report that showed continued overall success in new housing being created, but a persistent lack of affordable homes.

“Over the first four years of the campaign, we have seen steady development of housing even as we have not kept pace building housing for those having trouble making ends meet,” said Charlie Baker, Executive Director of the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, which along with the Champlain Housing Trust and Evernorth (formerly Housing Vermont) leads the campaign.


The campaign, supported by over a hundred local and state officials, nonprofits, businesses, and individuals, set a five year goal of 3,500 new homes in Chittenden County with 20% of them permanently affordable. This amounts to an annual target of 700 overall homes with 140 affordable; the average over the first four years is 787 homes, and only 112 of them affordable.

“We did see a spike in 2019 of new affordable homes with 169 built, but that followed three years of missing our target,” added Nancy Owens, co-President of Evernorth. “The increase in 2019 demonstrates that new capital from the Housing for All Revenue Bond passed in the State of Vermont in 2017 was essential to meet this critical housing need, but it hasn’t been enough.”

Other economic, social and public health factors are in play. “While 2020 has been consumed by the coronavirus and calls for racial justice, it’s also been a year where safe, decent and affordable housing has been even more obviously lacking in our communities. We need to do better,” said Brenda Torpy, CEO of the Champlain Housing Trust, noting that at one point this summer there were 2,000 homeless Vermonters living in hotels and motels.


In fact, projections on the number of homes that will become available in 2020 look grim, according to data compiled by Allen, Minor and Brooks. They estimate 255 apartments will be completed, though these projections were made before CHT’s planned motel conversion into 68 apartments was understood, and do not include single family homes. Still, the total of 323 is significantly below the average number of homes added over the past four years.

“While housing production has been steady, we are still not at a good vacancy rate and must build even more housing to get to a healthy housing market in Chittenden County. We call upon all policy makers – local, state and federal – to make housing, especially for low-income households, a priority as we move forward. For the future of learning, health, the economy, racial justice, and more, housing must be at the center of a response as we look to 2021 and beyond,” the three organizations said in a joint statement.


The Building Homes Together campaign was initiated by the Champlain Housing Trust, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and Housing Vermont, now Evernorth, in 2016. The campaign’s goal is to increase the production of housing, setting a target of 3,500 new homes created over next five years, with 700 of them permanently affordable. Over 100 local and state officials signed on to the campaign. More information can be found at http://www.ecosproject.com/building-homes-together/.

Opening of Garden Street Apartments in South Burlington Celebrated

Posted on Monday, January 13, 2020, by Chris Donnelly

New Apartments, Located Midway Between Al’s French Frys and
Healthy Living, Help New City Center Take Shape

South Burlington, Vermont – City and State leaders clipped the ribbon on 60 new apartments in South Burlington as part of a long-planned – and now coming to life – new City Center.

The apartments, named Garden Street Apartments, were developed by Snyder Braverman Development Company with an agreement to sell the building to the Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont. The apartments will remain affordable forever.

“It’s great to be here halfway between Al’s French Frys and Healthy Living celebrating these new apartments,” said City Council President Helen Riehle. “We’ll keep getting together to celebrate the progress in City Center because this has taken a number of years, involving countless South Burlington residents, committees and boards, and all South Burlington tax payers. This new affordable housing another important step in the culmination of a long-dreamed center that will demonstrate and reflect the community’s inclusive values.”

Nearly a quarter of the funding for the development – $3.9 million – came from the proceeds from Housing for All revenue bond proposed by the Governor and enacted by the Legislature in 2017.

The apartments were built at the corner of Market Street, which was recently completed, and a yet-to-be constructed extension of Garden Street. “We’re so pleased to be able to provide new affordable housing options at this new vibrant center near amenities and jobs and in the core of the county,” added Brenda Torpy, CEO of Champlain Housing Trust. “We are especially appreciative of the people of South Burlington for pushing this vision and creating resources to make it happen.”

The City of South Burlington established one of only a few affordable housing trust funds in the State, and has contributed $150,000 in addition to sponsoring an application for state funds through the Vermont Community Development Program.

Other funders include NeighborWorks® America and the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, which administers the Housing for All bond and also added federal HOME funds for the housing. The largest source, though, is the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, administered by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency. TD Bank is the investor providing $6.9 million in equity in exchange for the credits flowing from the development. VHFA also provided a construction loan for the project.

“Thanks to a great team and a superior location near jobs, transportation and services, we were able to raise private equity and public capital to create beautiful new homes for people who cannot otherwise afford to live in South Burlington, said Nancy Owens, President of Housing Vermont.  We’re excited to be part of an inclusive community project which offers economic stability and new opportunities for residents.”

People started moving into the 60 apartments in the last month. There are 26 one-bedroom, 20 two-bedroom, 11 three-bedroom, and three four-bedroom apartments. Rent includes heat and hot water, and are targeted to be affordable to wide range of incomes:

1BR apartments                            $713 to $1,080/month

2BR apartments                            $861 to $1,375/month

3BR apartments                            $990 to $1,750/month

4BR apartments                            $1,230 to $1,950/month

For more information on renting, visit the Champlain Housing Trust website at https://www.getahome.org/garden-st.

CHT Opens New Affordable Apartments on Burlington’s Waterfront

Posted on Monday, October 07, 2019, by Chris Donnelly

Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman, Senate President Tim Ashe, and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger were among the elected officials that celebrated the opening of 76 new affordable apartments in Burlington Monday.

“Too many Vermonters struggle with housing costs, the largest piece of most families’ budgets. I am pleased to celebrate this opening and recognize its part in meeting our statewide goals of affordable and inclusive housing,” said Lt. Governor Zuckerman.

The building was developed by Housing Vermont and Champlain Housing Trust, with the Housing Trust leasing up and managing the building. The first tenants moved in September 20; as of Monday, virtually all the apartments were taken.

“These new apartments are literally in my neighborhood, so I know how desperately needed they are. More than a hundred people will have a high-quality, affordable new home once the moving trucks have come and gone. I know first-hand as someone who has developed affordable housing how important this is. It’s just what we hoped for when we passed the state housing bond,” added Senator Ashe.

The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board provided close to $2 million, or close to 10%, of the overall cost of the development, including funding from the Housing for All Revenue Bond of 2017 and the National Housing Trust Fund. A significant piece of the funding came from the Low Income Housing Tax Credit allocated by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, with People’s United Bank as an investor. Several other funders such as NeighborWorks® America contributed to the financing, and the City of Burlington committed funds through their Housing Trust Fund federal HOME Program resources.

“Housing impacts everything that we want and need to do in our city. Even as we continue to work on policy reforms that will make homes more available and affordable for Burlingtonians, it is so exciting to see these 76 new, permanently affordable homes open up at the Laurentide Apartments,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “I am proud that the City has been a partner in creating this new mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood from the beginning. I can’t wait to meet the Burlingtonians who have already moved in to these apartments, and to see this become a home for many.”

Laurentide Apartments is part of a larger, mixed-use, mixed income neighborhood under development along with a new public park on 28 acres along North Avenue. In all, about 800 new homes will be constructed over the next several years. With Burlington’s inclusionary zoning ordinance, a quarter will be permanently affordable. The average rent for a two-bedroom, income-restricted apartment is about $1,000 including heat and hot water – which is more than $500 lower than the Fair Market Rent in the region.

People with a range of incomes have moved in or are moving in to the new apartments, including 14 households who are moving out of homelessness and several apartments that are set aside for those earning above what federal programs are normally allowed to serve, yet cannot find an affordable apartment in the tight Chittenden County housing market.

Building Homes Together campaign: Homes built, affordability lags

Posted on Monday, September 09, 2019, by Chris Donnelly

A campaign to encourage housing production in Chittenden County is keeping apace of its overall production goals, but the gap between housing costs and wages is growing housing leaders announced today.

There were 620 homes developed and ready for occupancy in 2018. Over the first three years of the campaign an average of 758 homes were built each year ahead of the pace needed to meet the campaign’s goal of 3,500 homes over five years.
“While overall housing production is strong, we know that we need to build more affordable housing to sustain truly inclusive communities and we’re just not doing that,” said Brenda Torpy of the Champlain Housing Trust. With over 2,200 homes built in the county in the last three years, only 280, or 13%, became permanently affordable. That’s well shy of the campaign’s goal of 20%.
The Building Homes Together campaign was launched in 2016 by Champlain Housing Trust, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and Housing Vermont, and is supported by over 100 public officials, business and nonprofit leaders. The organizations combine public education, advocacy and training in efforts to increase the amount of housing stock for people of all incomes in the County.
“The campaign has succeeded on one front, and that’s good news,” added Charlie Baker of the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, “but we still see anemic vacancy rates which demonstrate a pent-up need and an ongoing need to continue this rate of building.” The long-term vacancy rate in Chittenden County is 1.8%. Experts consider a vacancy rate between 3 and 5% to better balance the needs of renters and owners.
“We are heartened by the understanding in local communities to address the needs of low wage workers and those priced out of the market,” said Nancy Owens of Housing Vermont. “The State’s Housing Revenue Bond is adding some new affordable homes to our region already, with more on the way. Adding to and sustaining this type of investment over several years is the best way to address workers’ housing needs.”
Since the campaign launched, many initiatives to address affordability have started on the municipal level in Chittenden County communities, including active housing commissions or tasks forces in several towns or cities, adoption of additional planning tools like inclusionary zoning are being used or explored, and housing trust funds have been created or expanded by communities to encourage more affordable housing. 
More information about the campaign, including the data collected over the first three years, is available at http://www.ecosproject.com/building-homes-together



CHT Sells Burlington Building to Turning Point Center

Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, by Chris Donnelly

The Champlain Housing Trust and Turning Point Center of Chittenden County jointly announced transfer of ownership of 179 South Winooski Avenue in downtown Burlington, a building which Turning Point Center of Chittenden County has leased for several months with the intent to buy. The purchase Tuesday for $850,000 allows for the programs and nonprofits operating in the building to continue to thrive.

The building has a rich history in providing service to the community. In 1993 several nonprofits came together with the support of the City of Burlington, state and federal agencies and hundreds of donors to create office and program space for their organizations. The Champlain Housing Trust, one of the original nonprofits, stewarded the building for this use over the years. Its facilitation of the transfer of the property to Turning Point allows for a continuation of this commitment to the community.

“We have been so excited to be here,” said Gary De Carolis, Executive Director of Turning Point Center of Chittenden County. “Being able to own this facility, at this location, is helping us achieve our mission and gives us security down the road. We very much appreciate working with the Champlain Housing Trust on this purchase.”

As a celebration of the missions of the two organizations and to mark the Champlain Housing Trust’s 35th anniversary, artist Tara Goreau has been commissioned to create a mural on the building’s south wall illustrating the community bonds that are reflected in the groups’ missions of housing and recovery. The housing trust and the Turning Point Center will be organizing volunteers – no experience needed or expected – to assist with the painting of the mural on the afternoon of Friday, August 16. Those who are interested should contact Jack Commo at 861-7399.

Turning Point Center of Chittenden County is a peer run recovery center for those in recovery from alcohol and/or drug addiction. The Center wants to thank the over 100 donors who made this dream become reality. Special recognition to the Stiller Family, The Hoehl Family Foundation and the University of Vermont Medical Center, Community Investment Fund for their significant contributions. 

Champlain Housing Trust offers affordable apartments to rent and homes to buy throughout Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties in northwest Vermont. It also owns and manages several community and commercial buildings, offers financial education and counseling programs, affordable loans and a range of other services to help residents succeed.

Pecor Family makes $500,000 gift to Old North End Community Center Campaign

Posted on Friday, April 05, 2019, by Chris Donnelly

A $500,000 gift has been pledged by Trey & Dominique Pecor to the Old North End Community Center Campaign, campaign committee Chair Peter Clavelle announced today.

“This is a very significant pledge of support – the largest in the campaign. This generosity will support generations of people from Burlington and beyond gain access to programs that build community and support our basic needs,” said Clavelle, a volunteer leading the campaign.

HERE'S HOW YOU CAN GIVE.

The Champlain Housing Trust purchased the former St. Joseph School on Allen Street in Burlington to create Old North End Community Center in July, 2017. The organization has secured funding to make initial improvements to the building – such as adding an elevator to make it accessible, the installation of a new commercial kitchen and expanded parking – while seeking permanent financing and capital campaign contributions to make more significant renovations to the Center.

“For me, supporting such a great community building was a no-brainer,” explained Trey and Dominique Pecor in a statement. “Our family has enjoyed the benefits of this City and region immensely and for the two of us it’s really a privilege to be in a position to give back in this way.”

With the pledge from the Pecors, the campaign has raised $2 million and is turning to the community to raise the last $200,000. The gym in the center of the building will be named “The Pecor Family Gymnasium and Performance Hall.”

“The Old North End Community Center is a wonderful new resource for the Old North End and the entire city. I have believed in this project from the start, and I am excited to see the next phase in its evolution. Thank you to Trey and Dominique for giving a critical boost to this community effort,” Mayor Miro Weinberger added.

While the building is solid, CHT must invest in upgrading heating and cooling, new wiring, windows, and water systems, including sprinklers. The building serves an estimated 4,000 people a year through the programs of the tenants including The Family Room, Robin’s Nest Children’s Center, AALV and the Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department – as well as a variety of community events in the building. The Parks Department also runs senior center activities and leases space to others such as Very Merry Theatre and the City and Lake Semester program.

“We now turn our sights to raising the remaining $200,000 and closing on our permanent financing,” added Brenda Torpy, CHT’s CEO. “I thank Trey and Dominique, the many other donors that have already supported this vision, and all the volunteers that have made gifts and given their time thus far. The community has been so generous so far, and I know they’ll be there with us to finish up the campaign for such a great community resource.”

For more information about giving, call Chris Donnelly at the Housing Trust at 861-7305.



Building Homes Together Campaign Releases Results of First Two Years

Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, by Chris Donnelly

Chittenden County housing leaders, joined by Congressman Peter Welch, Vermont Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, announced today that one of two housing production goals was being met for the county, indicating mixed results for the second year in a row. The Building Homes Together campaign, supported by over 100 local and state leaders, stayed on pace to create 3,500 new homes over five years but is falling short of a target of 700 new permanently affordable homes by the end of 2020.

“Every Vermonter should have the peace of mind that comes with a safe and affordable home. The Building Homes Together campaign has brought us a few steps closer to that goal. Today, we celebrate its success and recommit to the work ahead of us,” Congressman Peter Welch told the assembled crowd.

“Over the first two years of this five year campaign we’ve seen an uptick in housing production with over 1,600 net new homes added to our housing stock,” explained Charlie Baker, Executive Director of the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, one of the three groups coordinating the campaign. “The homes are being absorbed by the market and it is clear to us that we must continue to build at this pace or greater to satisfy the housing needs of the region.”

Vacancy rates remain below what is viewed as a healthy market, with the latest report pegging vacancy at 1.7% in July, 2018. Market analysts usually look for a rate closer to 5%.

While the overall construction goals being met demonstrate a strong housing market, the inability to meet the affordable targets concerns many. “There’s a tremendous, pent up need for housing that is affordable to low-income individuals and families,” said Brenda Torpy, CEO of Champlain Housing Trust, another leader in the campaign. “We need to increase the affordable production if we want communities that are inclusive to all.” There have been 191 permanently affordable homes created over the past two years – well shy of 140 per year needed to reach 700 in five years.

Representative Mitzi Johnson, Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives, added, “Every Vermonter deserves the opportunity of a home they can afford. A stable home is critical for children to learn, for workers to hold down jobs, for people to succeed in addiction recovery, and to build strong, healthy communities. We’re making good progress through such efforts as the Housing for All bond passed by the Legislature last year. But we can’t rest – we have much more work ahead to ensure all Vermonters have access to safe, affordable housing.”

“The lack of housing supply remains our largest regional challenge. Robust housing growth in the cities and towns of Chittenden County strengthens our schools, makes us more equitable, and reduces our climate impact by allowing people to live closer to neighbors, services, and workplaces rather than farther out into Vermont's hills and pastures,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “If we are serious about making housing a human right, we must continue to work to break down the barriers to building new and affordable housing.”

The overall production numbers include all new apartments, condominiums, single family homes, and accessory dwellings that received their certificate of occupancy in 2016 or 2017. Homes that have been demolished – and there were nearly 100 in 2017 – were subtracted from the total. Not included in the count was the impact of student housing. Over this period, the University of Vermont demolished two dormitories (391 beds), but replaced them with a new dorm (695 beds) for a net gain of on campus housing.

Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe reflected back over the last couple of years. “We set an ambitious new housing target when we got together for the kick off of this initiative. We’ve made good headway, and the Senate is committed to keeping up the momentum. As someone with a housing development background I know how many hurdles any housing project needs to get over. So the progress we’ve all made together is worth celebrating.”

Nancy Owens, President of Housing Vermont, the third organization leading the Building Homes Together campaign, expressed some hope for the future. “The impact of Vermont’s $37 million Housing for All revenue bond will soon start to be felt. New senior housing is wrapping up in South Burlington, and CHT and Housing Vermont are under construction with 136 new apartments that will be completed in 2019. But,” she cautioned, “It’s still not enough.

The campaign called for increased investment through local trust funds at the community level and full funding of state sources like the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, offered support for zoning changes in communities that want to address the shortage of housing, and said that planning for a second housing bond – the original proposal by the groups included a $70 million version – should begin now as the benefits and needs are clear.

The Building Homes Together campaign was initiated by the Champlain Housing Trust, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and Housing Vermont in 2016. The campaign’s goal is to increase the production of housing, setting a target of 3,500 new homes created over next five years, with 700 of them permanently affordable. Over 100 local and state officials signed on to the campaign. More information can be found at http://www.ecosproject.com/building-homes-together/.

Construction Underway for Garden Apartments

Posted on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, by Chris Donnelly

City and State leaders used ceremonial shovels to mark the beginning of construction of 60 new apartments in South Burlington as part of a long-planned new City Center. On hand were South Burlington City Council President Helen Riehle and Senator Tim Ashe, President of the Vermont Senate.

The apartments, named Garden Apartments, are being developed by Snyder Braverman Development Company, who have an agreement to sell the building to the Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont. The apartments will remain affordable forever.

“This is just the latest in a number of celebrations here in South Burlington’s new City Center marking our progress,” said City Council President Helen Riehle. “We’ll keep getting together to celebrate because this has taken a number of years, involving countless South Burlington residents, committees and boards, and all South Burlington tax payers. This new affordable housing another important step in the culmination of a long-dreamed center that will demonstrate and reflect the community’s inclusive values.”

Nearly a quarter of the funding for the development – $3.9 million – came from Vermont’s recently passed Housing for All bond. Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe, a leader in the effort to pass the $37 million bond, said, “This is exactly what we envisioned when we committed to investing in communities, in places to live for low and moderate income people, and our economy. Seeing this new housing get underway and spurring additional economic development is exactly what Vermont and Chittenden County needs right now.”

The apartments will be built at the corner of Market Street, which is also under construction, and a yet-to-be constructed extension of Garden Street. “We’re so pleased to be able to provide new affordable housing options at this new vibrant center near amenities and jobs and in the core of the county,” added Brenda Torpy, CEO of Champlain Housing Trust. “We are especially appreciative of the people of South Burlington for pushing this vision and creating resources to make it happen.” The City established one of only a handful of affordable housing trust funds in the State, and has contributed $75,000 in addition to sponsoring an application for state funds through the Vermont Community Development Program.

Other funders include NeighborWorks® America and the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, which administers the Housing for All bond and also added federal HOME funds for the housing. The largest source, though, is the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, administered by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency. TD Bank is the investor providing $6.9 million in equity in exchange for the credits flowing from the development. VHFA also provided a construction loan for the project.

“It really does take multiple partners and institutions to pull together, agree on a common vision and see it to the point where we can get under construction,” said Nancy Owens, President of Housing Vermont. “We’re excited to come back next fall and welcome people moving in.”

The sixty apartments will be a mixture of sizes, with an understanding of the needs of the regions. There will be 26 one-bedroom, 20 two-bedroom, 11 three-bedroom, and three four-bedroom apartments. Occupancy is expected in the fall/early winter of 2019. For more information on renting, visit the Champlain Housing Trust website at www.getahome.org.




Mixed Results in first year of Building Homes Campaign

Posted on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, by Chris Donnelly

Governor Phil Scott joined municipal officials, nonprofit leaders, lawmakers and housing developers Wednesday to applaud progress toward meeting residential building targets in Chittenden County, while acknowledging that more needs to be done to increase the number of affordable apartments and for-sale homes available to working people.

The Building Homes Together (BHT) campaign, launched by the Champlain Housing Trust, Housing Vermont and the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission in 2016, set a target of 3,500 new homes to be constructed over five years, with 20% of them being permanently affordable. The campaign goals are supported by over 100 community leaders and public officials.

In 2016, Chittenden County saw a net increase of 916 new homes including accessory dwellings, assisted living apartments, apartments and homes for sale. This is nearly twice the average annual production of homes during the past five years. Despite this increase, there were only 69 new affordable homes added in 2016, or 8% of the total.

“The construction of new homes is an important part of our efforts to increase availability of affordable housing statewide, and is great for our economy, employers and citizens. I am pleased to see progress made in Chittenden County, but we have more work to do here and across Vermont,” said Governor Phil Scott. “This data illustrates our continued need for more moderately priced homes to ensure Chittenden County is affordable for low and middle-income Vermonters. I believe the $35 million Housing for All bond I proposed, and the legislature passed, this year will help us make more progress in Chittenden County, and across the state.”

The BHT campaign uses certificate of occupancy data collected directly from municipalities as the basis for the reported numbers. Looking ahead, it appears there will be approximately 360 new rentals added to the market in 2017 with 52 of them affordable. There are no accurate data available to project the number of new homes for sale that will be occupied in 2017.

In 2018, the first affordable homes will be built using the innovative bond funding authorized by the Legislature this year. Nonprofit organizations described willingness to build over 300 affordable homes almost immediately.

“The data show us that, yes, there has been a building boom in Chittenden County this year,” said Charlie Baker, Executive Director of the CCRPC. “However, the July vacancy rate of 2.5% is still lower than we’d like to see for a healthy housing market. Rents also continue to rise at almost 4% a year.”

“There’s an imbalance in the market. We really need an influx of capital if we are truly going to make Chittenden County more affordable,” added Nancy Owens, President of Housing Vermont.

“We get more than ten applications for every available apartment,” said Brenda Torpy of the Champlain Housing Trust. “If we are going to house our workforce or eliminate homelessness and protect the most vulnerable, the time is now to invest.”

The BHT campaign held their announcement on Market Street in South Burlington, site of the long-planned City Center. Multiple buildings are planned by developer Snyder Homes over the next several years. The first to be built is Allard House, senior housing that will be owned and managed by Cathedral Square. Ground breaking is expected in the next two weeks.

For more information on Building Homes Together, or to sign on to the campaign, please visit: http://www.ecosproject.com/building-homes-together/ or contact Chris Donnelly: chris@champlainhousingtrust.org or (802) 310-0623.

What other officials are saying about the progress and mission of the Building Homes Together campaign:

Vermont Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe

“It takes many strategies over many years to make progress on the big stuff like our chronic housing shortage. Several years ago, Ginny Lyons and I worked hard with the South Burlington City team to enable the creation of South Burlington's TIF district. We applaud them for making the vision a reality. Despite criticism from some partisan groups, the Legislature maintained funding for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board when it was under threat, steadily expanded the Downtown and Village Credit program, funded an innovative down payment assistance program at VHFA, and so much more. Without this foundation in place, the goal of 3,500 new homes would be a pipe dream. It’s important to recognize the critical role public investment plays in meeting community needs.”

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger

“The road to greater housing affordability and remaining an equitable, diverse community requires both increased housing opportunities for our most vulnerable and getting our land use policies right to encourage much greater production of new homes overall. Burlington is committed to this dual strategy and is grateful for its partnership with the Building Homes Together coalition pushing for the same solutions countywide. With the passage of last year’s Housing For All bond, major projects underway throughout the county, and growing awareness of the importance of increasing Chittenden County homes, this crucial effort has exciting momentum.”