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Vergennes Community Housing receives funding awards to move forward, ACCT holds its Annual Meeting, and staff get muddy on Green Up Day!
It's been a busy spring at ACCT. In development news, Vergennes Community Housing received two major funding awards that will allow it to break ground later this year and open in 2020. In early April, the Vermont Community Development Program awarded $400,000 to the City of Vergennes to be put toward the project. Several weeks later, Vermont Housing Finance Agency made Vergennes Community Housing a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit award that will result in over $4 million in equity for the project. These awards build on funding of over $2 million already allocated by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, including Housing Revenue Bond funds that will allow for the creation of seven market-rate units serving households making up to 120% of Area Median Income (AMI), in addition to the 17 apartments for households making less than 60% of AMI.
Vergennes Community Housing will bring much-needed affordable housing to downtown Vergennes, which has a 0% vacancy rate and average rents of around $1200 according to Craigslist data. For more details on the project, check out this Info Sheet.
Annual Meeting: ACCT held its Annual Meeting on April 30th at the Middlebury Inn. The Board elected new and returning members, and a presentation of the 2018 Annual Report was made.
ACCT Greens Up: ACCT celebrated Green Up Day on Friday, May 10, despite the rain. Intrepid staff members groomed the parking lot and cleaned up the landscaping around our office, while a small team was dispatched to 14 S Maple St to build raised bed community gardens for the residents.
Upcoming Events: For those who want to join in our efforts, we have a couple of events open to the public this summer:
ACCT will hold its 2019 Annual Meeting at the Middlebury Inn on April 30th at 4pm with a light reception to follow from 5-6. For more information and the agenda, please visit www.addisontrust.org/annual-meeting.
The meeting will include a presentation of our 2018 Annual Report. In the meantime, we're happy to share a summary of our 2018 Highlights. Hope to see you on the 30th!
Did you know April is child abuse prevention month? To mark the occasion, DCF is sharing the below resources that can help support stronger families:
In April and throughout the year, we encourage communities, individuals and organizations to play a role in making Vermont a place where children are safe and families thrive.
We can all do our part to support parents, strengthen families and help prevent child abuse!
Follow the links below to learn about specific programs and services.
HELP PAYING FOR CHILD CARE:
If your family needs child care and you meet income guidelines, you may qualify. A family of four can earn up to $6,275 per month and qualify. https://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/ccfap
HELP PUTTING FOOD ON YOUR TABLE:
If you meet income guidelines, you may be eligible for a monthly benefit you can use to buy food and your school-age children may qualify for free meals at school. https://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/3SquaresVT
HELP FINDING A GOOD PAYING JOB:
- If you get 3SquaresVT, you qualify for help through the Individual Career Advancement Network (ICAN). This includes help to conduct job searches, connect to employers who are hiring, enhance your job finding skills and more. https://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/ICAN
- If you are the custodial parent or guardian of a child under 14, you may be eligible for help finding a good paying job in Vermont's manufacturing sector through the Strengthening Working Families Initiative (SWFI). https://dcf.vermont.gov/dcf-blog/4/8/19
HELP WITH CHILD SUPPORT:
The Office of Child Support can help you get and pay child support, get a court order updated if things change and help make sure the court order is doable and fair. We can also help you find and keep a good paying job so you can meet your child support obligations. Services are free if you apply! Get an application at https://dcf.vermont.gov/ocs/parents/application or by calling 1-800-786-3214.
BEING THE BEST PARENT YOU CAN BE INVOLVES TAKING STEPS TO STRENGTHEN YOUR FAMILY AND FINDING SUPPORT WHEN YOU NEED IT. YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO IT ALONE!
Did you know www.housingdata.org has a trove of information on housing in Vermont as well as every county and town in the state? In addition to a recent overhaul of the website that now can produce beautiful infographics for a wealth of data points, the website is constantly adding new data to its reporting features. The most recent update allows users to view median rents by bedroom size, for a much a richer picture of housing affordability. This is what housing affordability looks like in Addison County:
ACCT recently conducted an assessment of the housing environment in Addison County as part of its strategic planning process, and gleaned the following information from this helpful resource:
As helpful as this data is, it is still only a statistic, and with the small sample size of our rural areas, sometimes the data doesn't seem to match reality. Take the median rents shown above--have you gone on Craigslist recently to try to find an apartment? If so, you probably know that finding a one-bedroom apartment for less than $800/mo including utilities feels about as likely as finding a unicorn. Here's what we found when we took a snapshot of Craigslist in January 2019:
At ACCT, we try to use our own internal data to track our own impact as well. Our median apartment rent is $805 always including heat, and sometimes including electricity as well. For a one-bedroom, average rent is $725. Of our 227 renter households, 29% pay the contract rent amount while the reminder have either a project-based subsidy or a tenant-based voucher like Section 8. Of those with a subsidy, the average tenant portion of rent is $318. That is considered "affordable" to a household earning $12,720 a year.
Finally, it's always good to complement data with real live stories. Brave Little State this month tackled housing affordability in Vermont, and the episode is definitely worth a listen! Check it out at bit.ly/BLShousing.
Since mid-2018, Addison County has been participating in Coordinated Entry (CE), a HUD initiative to streamline how people in need of housing access various kinds of resources for housing assistance including rental assistance vouchers. Agencies in Addison County that provide these resources, including Charter House Coalition, John Graham Housing and Services, HOPE, CVOEO, Pathways, the Parent Child Center, CSAC, and WomenSafe, participate in data sharing so that applicants for housing don't have to fill out new forms at each provider through which they may be eligible for resources. This data sharing results in a "Master List" of applicants for housing resources, who then receive resources according to their need and priority on the list.
While CE has experienced many implementation issues, there are some preliminary results worth celebrating. In particular, 41 households out of 75 who were placed on the Master List between May and December of 2018 obtained permanent housing. 37 of those 75 households were homeless.
We still have our work cut out for us, and more resources are needed to reduce wait time on the list. Over 40 households still remain to be housed. Additionally, the average length of time a household on the Master List was waiting for housing was 103 days. A survey of CE customers suggests that a lack of available units is the biggest contributor to the length of time it takes to become housed.
ACCT participates in CE as a referral partner, meeting monthly with local agency leaders via the Addison County Affordable Housing Coalition and weekly with the Housing Review Team, which allocates housing resources off the priority list. In 2020, we hope to add 24 permanently affordable apartments to Addison County's rental inventory, including four units for formerly homeless households through a partnership with John Graham Housing and Services and WomenSafe.
Come visit this adorable 2br/1ba affordable condo in Middlebury!
When: Sunday, February 24 from 1-3pm.
14 Evergreen Lane
Middlebury, VT 05753
Market Value: $168,000
ACCT/VHCB Grant: $39,500
Net Price to Buyer: $128,500*
This beautifully maintained condo, set in a desirable Middlebury location, is move in ready. A stones throw from Middlebury, this condo has hardwood floors in the spacious living room and a galley kitchen. The fenced in back porch allows for private and safe enjoyment of the outdoors. The second floor consists of two bedrooms and a full bath. Worried about storage? Don't be! The front bedroom has two closets while the back bedroom has three. This unit is a must see!
HOA fees: $191.00; includes building maintenance, yard maintenance, trash and snow services.
*Income Limits Apply
For more information on ACCT's Shared Equity Program including eligibility guidelines, visit http://www.addisontrust.org/shared-equity-program.html
The Addison County Community Trust is embarking on a strategic planning process to guide our work over the next few years. This will influence the kind of housing that gets developed in Addison County. As part of this process, we solicited community feedback on Front Porch Forum. Thank you to the 64 individuals who have responded so far! The survey is still open and can be taken here, but preliminary results are in. Overall:
Those are the high-level takeaways from the survey; check back for more data and analysis as we parse the results!
ACCT staff members share news and information about upcoming events.