Governor Phil Scott gathered with members of the Legislature and local housing partners at the Salisbury Square, a planned affordable housing neighborhood, in Randolph today to sign two housing bills. The bills, S.226 and S.210, provide funding to bolster Vermont’s housing stock.
The bills will provide additional funding for downtown and neighborhood revitalization and reforms to Act 250, all of which state officials believe will pave the way to more housing of all types across the state.
S.210 includes $20M Vermont Housing Improvement Program (VHIP) providing property owners with grants or forgivable loans of up to $50,000 to rehabilitate rental units that are out of compliance with applicable building, housing, and health laws and once rehabilitated, to rent the units at affordable rates, making more rental units available.
- $15M Missing Middle Income Home Ownership Development Program providing incentives and support to developers to build modest homes to be sold at prices affordable to middle-income Vermonters.
- $4M Manufactured Home Replacement and Park Improvement Program to allow manufactured home communities investment in improvements and continue to provide an affordable, safe housing options for thousands of Vermonters.
- $2.45M Downtown and Village Center Tax Credit Expansion to expand the tax credit benefit to neighborhood development areas, creating new housing opportunities and a new flood mitigation credit to help offset the costs of making vulnerable buildings flood-ready.
- $1M First-Generation Homebuyer Program is intended to support households historically sidelined from home ownership and the opportunities it provides to build wealth through down payment grants.
- $1M Neighborhood Development Partnership will bring representatives from the Department of Housing and Community Development the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB), the Agency of Natural Resources Vermont Department of Public Service, Vermont Agency of Transportation , Regional Development Corporations, VHFA, Regional Planning Commissions, and other stakeholders to pilot a model partnership to develop and re-develop new neighborhood infrastructure and build needed homes.
Act 250 reforms include increasing the unit cap for a priority housing project to qualify for Act 250 exemption from 24 to 49 dwelling units, for small municipalities with populations less than 6,000. The legislation also simplifies qualification as a priority housing project on lands subject to Act 250 permit by eliminating the requirement for a permit amendment.
“People often ask how we will solve the housing crisis in Vermont and there is no simple answer to that question,” said Commissioner of Housing and Community Development Commissioner Josh Hanford. “The recipe requires a comprehensive, coordinated and strategic approach addressing the problem from multiple angles. These two housing bills tackle the key areas we can address now to create more housing of all types and makes regulatory progress to allow more housing to be built in the future.”