Proposed bill would empower minority land ownership

A coalition of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color) leaders, including Windham County NAACP President Steffen Gillom, tomorrow will announce one of the first bills in the Vermont State Legislature this upcoming biennium to address systemic racism and BIPOC land ownership – the Vermont BIPOC Land Access and Opportunity Act.

According to a Windham NAACP statement, “the bill intends to acknowledge and address systemic racism by creating new opportunities for individual and collective land ownership for Black, Indigenous and other People of Color in every town across the State of Vermont.”

If passed into law, it will create a BIPOC Land Access Opportunity Fund with a BIPOC-led board empowered to budget money as needed for down payments for single family homes, owner occupied rental units, and for land and farms through sliding scale grants. It will also institute a BIPOC-led “Every Town” committee to create permanent land access for BIPOC in every town in the state in collaboration with Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust.

Finally, it will expand financial education and resource management programs, provide mortgage assistance for BIPOC land owners, and fund anti-racist mutual aid organizations that support BIPOC or are BIPOC-led.

The statement does not address a funding mechanism.

The bill will be introduced through a virtual press conference on Wednesday, December 23 at 9:15AM. 

Categories: Legislation

12 replies »

  1. Unreal. As a single mom it wasn’t easy for me to buy a home. I worked and saved and did without and started out with something that wasn’t even habitable(outhouse, no plumbing, no running water, no power etc). I didn’t have family help. I didn’t get government help. But I guess as a white person I’m somehow considered to be privileged? If POC want to buy land or a home, they can do so by doing exactly what I did; work and save and start low. Lots of white people in VT can’t afford a home either; nothing to do with color. Don’t raise my already high taxes to pay for this nonsense!

    • It will be interesting to see about the funding mechanism. They mentioned a northeastern land trust. Perhaps out-of-state land trust money flowing into Vermont? We will be following this. Vermont’s housing situation is such a mess – it’s very hard to build, housing stock oldest in nation, and (among other things) energy-efficiency requirements already making rehabbing old Victorian buildings in urban downtowns financially prohibitive. We are becoming what author Joel Kotkin calls “housing serfs” – people who work for the right to spend more than half of their income on barely adequate housing. This is wrong. I don’t know if the BIPOC proposal would make that better or worse and certainly there are a zillion funding programs out there, what’s the harm of one more. It just bothers me that this very serious problem with Vermont quality of life gets kicked down the road, like the pension problem and the school funding problem. It’s just too big for the Legislature to deal with, and too contrary to the desires of special interests, they just….. go on to something easier.

      • Yes. I just think there is zero reason to create a new funding program for POC as supposedly due to “systemic racism”, they are unable to purchase homes in VT. As you noted, housing affordability impacts many here, most of whom are white.

      • The harm of just “one more” special interest fund is? = one more special interest – costing other peoples money!
        All the other comments are spot on = Vermont’s “leadership” doesn’t want any affordable housing !!

  2. Interesting @VTIndependent. Where are you coming from? It is currently 8:35am Dec. 23, 2020. Your post supposedly hasn’t been written for another 2 hours and 20 minutes.

  3. I suppose this reverse racism is some sort of punishment for the left’s imagined transgressions of the past. I can picture these people sitting around and plotting revenge. It’ so pathetic and unproductive.

  4. The State of Vermont has to stop creating new programs that tax the hardworking and retired citizens of this state. Let the private sector and individual citizens work together.
    Laws creating programs that force taxpayer subsidization of electric cars ,solar panels and more have to cease. Enough is enough.