Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board has committed $3,953,500 to develop, rehabilitate and preserve 220 affordable homes in settings ranging from shared elderly housing in Rochester, to new construction in White River Junction, redevelopment of deteriorated public housing in Rutland, energy retrofit and rehabilitation of apartments in Bennington, Bradford, and Wilder, and mobile home parks in Hardwick and Ludlow. The VHCB commitments of state funding will leverage $32.6 million in other public and private funds.
VHCB Executive Director Gus Seelig said, “These investments will create 57 new, energy efficient homes in tight rental markets and rehabilitate and increase the energy efficiency of 163 apartments, renewing valuable housing resources for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. In addition to improving quality of life for renters and homeowners, these developments employ construction workers, excavators, plumbers, electricians, architects, engineers, and landscapers in communities around the state.”
White River Junction - Highly energy efficient apartments will be constructed at the intersection of Bridge and Main Streets in a downtown lot that has been vacant since 2005 following a fire. Railroad Row LLC, a private development corporation, will receive $500,000 in federal HOME funds awarded by VHCB to subsidize seventeen apartments. Project-based rental assistance provided by the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program through the Vermont State Housing Authority will make the apartments affordable to very low-income residents. The pedestrian-friendly site is in close proximity to public transportation options, shopping, services, and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. There is a high demand for housing in the White River Junction area, where the vacancy rate hovers at 1%.
Bennington – Housing Vermont and Shires Housing will complete rehabilitation and energy conservation work and refinance Applegate Apartments using $1,549,631 in VHCB and federal HOME funds in the $9.6 million redevelopment. Planned improvements will increase energy efficiency, affordability and accessibility and reduce operating expenses. A biomass heating system will be installed to serve the 104-unit apartment complex. Buildings will receive new windows, doors, siding, roofs and exterior insulation. Additionally, there will be repairs to sewer lines, upgrades to water lines, electrical upgrades, accessibility and code upgrades, improvements to roadways, sidewalks and parking areas.
Rutland – In the final phase in the redevelopment of Hickory Street (a former public housing project that was known as Forest Park), Housing Vermont and the Rutland Housing Authority will demolish 27 dilapidated apartments and construct 22 new apartments heated by a wood pellet system. The developers will use $265,000 in VHCB funding for the last phase of this 78-unit development. Installation of sewer and water, storm water and electric service for three single-family homes to be built by Rutland Habitat for Humanity on the east end of the development is included in the budget. In the course of redeveloping Forest Park, severe health threats have been addressed, the neighborhood has been revitalized, the number of homes has increased and the income mix has been altered to integrate households of various income levels, consistent with state housing policy.
Bradford – In a $2.45 million redevelopment using $350,000 in VHCB funds from the State of Vermont and $410,000 in federal HOME funding, Downstreet Housing & Community Development will rehabilitate four buildings at Colonial Village, a 21-apartment development with project-based rental assistance. Rehab will include new sidewalks and paving, new windows and energy efficiency upgrades including a wood pellet heating system. Accessibility improvements, new flooring, kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, new appliances, smoke detectors and water saving plumbing fixtures will be added, along with a new sprinkler system. Located within walking distance of the town center, Colonial Village provides housing for seniors, families, and individuals with disabilities.
Hardwick – In a pilot project, the Lamoille Housing Partnership (LHP) will use $578,000 in VHCB funds and a $1.3 million loan from USDA Rural Development to place 13 energy efficient modular homes at Evergreen Manor Mobile Home Park. LHP will rent the homes, which are built by VerMod in Wilder, Vermont, to eligible households. Solar photovoltaic panels will produce electricity and air source heat pumps will heat and cool the units, resulting in net-zero energy use.
Wilder - Twin Pines Housing Trust and Housing Vermont will rehabilitate the Briars, a 24-unit complex, using $345,000 in VHCB funding and a HOME award of $365,000. Constructed in 1988, the buildings require new roofs, furnaces and weatherization. Paving of parking areas, site drainage and grading, installation of water-saving showerheads and faucets, new handicap railings and attic venting are included in the scope of work. Addressing the capital needs of the buildings and reducing the energy usage will serve the buildings for many years to come. The number of affordable units will be increased as well. In a partnership with the Upper Valley Haven, Twin Pines leases two units to formerly homeless households.
Rochester – Park House is a shared housing residence for 14 seniors located in the center of the village that will use $250,000 in VHCB funds to address health and safety code requirements including installing a sprinkler system and upgrading fire alarm and elevator. Park House was developed in 1990 and has housed 140 frail elders since that time. Future work will address energy efficiency needs.
Ludlow – Using $85,000 in VHCB funding, the Housing Trust of Rutland County will subsidize two new homes to be located on vacant lots in the Tuckerville Mobile Home Park. One home will be a conventional, Energy Star-rated home and one will be an energy efficient modular home built by VerMod.
Other commitments made at the meeting were $225,500 to the Upper Valley Land Trust to conserve 60 acres of farmland in Norwich, support for the Support and Services at Home (SASH) program that coordinates health care services for elders at housing sites ($35,000), and feasibility funding for projects in the early stages of development ($45,000).