Housing Vermont makes $3.3 million NMTC investment in new campus for Laraway Youth & Family Services
Housing Vermont, through its Vermont Rural Ventures affiliate, is providing nearly $3.3 million in low cost permanent financing to Laraway Youth and Family Services (LYFS) for its new, 39-acre campus in Johnson. The project allows the nonprofit youth services organization to increase enrollment by 30% and to add 10 to 12 new employees.
This is the third New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) investment made by Housing Vermont. Previous investments include financing a $40 million expansion of the WEIDMANN Technology facilities in St. Johnsbury and providing an $8.3 million loan to DEW for the construction of a new facility for the Community College of Vermont in downtown Rutland.
“The federal New Markets Tax Credit program enables Housing Vermont to extend our successful working relationships with the state’s financial institutions to create and retain jobs,” said Housing Vermont President Nancy Owens. “Through its NMTC investment in this project, the Community National Bank demonstrates its commitment to supporting Vermont businesses while increasing the resources available to our at-risk youth,” Owens said.
“This is a sound investment on two levels. Not only does it provide a fair rate of return to the Bank, but it also strengthens our community by helping our youth. Laraway Youth Services has an excellent track record working with the youth in our area, and we are very pleased to be a part of this great project” said Stephen Marsh, CEO of Community National Bank.
Located on Route 15 one mile west of Johnson village, the new LYFS campus includes a fully renovated farm house and a newly constructed 12,550 square foot school providing a total of 16,800 square feet of instructional and office space. LYFS leases some of the land to a neighboring farm and plans to develop agricultural work programs for its students.
Laraway serves youths in grades K to 12, offering individual special education, therapeutic foster care behavioral management, and therapy services. LYFS typically serves 90-100 youths and their families each year. With the new building they have the capacity to enroll additional youths and hire more staff as demand dictates.
Greg Stefanski, Laraway Youth & Family Services’ Executive Director, noted that “Laraway’s new financing structure, involving New Markets Tax Credits and coordinated by Housing Vermont, is reaping immediate and long-term benefits for Vermont’s most vulnerable youth and their families. We have significantly reduced our monthly mortgage payment and cut our loan from 25 to 20 years. This means more resources will be available for direct education and treatment services.”
Housing Vermont is a private, nonprofit development company founded in 1988 to produce permanently affordable rental housing for Vermonters through partnerships with communities and the private sector. Since its inception, Housing Vermont has raised more than $218 million in private equity to finance 144 affordable rental housing developments throughout the State. This equity has leveraged an additional $320 million in private financing and public investment. The 4,244 apartments created or renovated in these efforts serve low and moderate income Vermonters including seniors and those with special needs. Many developments also include commercial space.
In 2010, Housing Vermont launched its New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program to support investment in the economic, environmental, and social well-being of Vermont communities. NMTC funds are used to retain and create jobs for Vermonters by financing key community developments in downtown and village centers and in other concerted community efforts which demonstrate positive impacts on Vermont’s economic, health care, energy and food systems.
Laraway’s philosophy is to prepare youth for the future and much of that preparation involves getting ready for work or continuing education. Youth served by Laraway possess unique gifts and talents that, due to past trauma or disabilities, require extra attention and tenacity to nurture, to help them realize their full potential. Eighty-six percent of all the students qualify for free and/or reduced lunch per federal guidelines. Laraway provides opportunities for youth who may have been unsuccessful in public schools or may have been removed from their birth families to experience academic success and form positive bonds with caring adults.
“We are grateful to Nancy Owens and her staff at Housing Vermont for their efforts to improve the lives of young people in Vermont today and into the future,” Stefanski said.