State must triple rate of new home construction, Scott admin says

Housing Commissioner Alex Farrell describes state’s current housing needs at today’s press conference – Page photo

by Guy Page 

Gov. Phil Scott today promised a big, bold new housing plan for the Legislature to consider when it reconvenes in January. 

The plan – details to come – would focus on Act 250 land use changes, regulatory streamlining, and tax credits, he told the press Wednesday, November 8.

Rate of new construction too slow 

Vermont needs 40,000 new housing units by 2030, Scott said. The rate of new housing starts would need to triple to meet that goal, state housing officials said at a press conference today. 

The rule of thumb considers a 3% home ownership and 5% rental vacancy rate healthy. By that standard, Vermont’s vacancy rate is unhealthy indeed: 3% for rentals and a microscopic .3% homes-for-sale. 

State of emergency on the table

A state of emergency – which, for example, would enable the governor to direct the National Guard to build temporary housing – is not off the table, Gov. Scott said. But he would prefer to see land use, regulatory and tax reform to enable more construction.

“This isn’t just about money,” Scott said. “One of the chokepoints is the regulatory system.”

To that end, Scott promised a “major regulatory and tax incentive package. It’s going to take all of us thinking big.”

Housing Commissioner Alex Farrell said Vermont can’t afford to continue the new low-income housing model at $600,000/unit. At that rate, Vermont could spend over $1 billion to build just 2000 new units. Instead, he prefers the Vermont House Improvement Program (VHIP) model of remodeling old urban Victorian homes into apartment houses at $30,000/unit. 

Building more hopes will help reduce homelessness, administration says

Increased homelessness is a byproduct of the statewide housing shortage, Dept. of Children and Families Commissioner Chris Winters said. 

“The challenge persists because people cannot move forward without housing,” Winters said. “The pace cannot keep up with the growing demand.” In particular, AHS hopes to establish emergency shelters to replace homeless hotels. 

Permitting would need to be streamlined to keep neighbors from quashing the shelters just because they don’t like living near them, administration officials said. 

The Scott administration hopes adding more housing to the market will lower one of the root causes of homelessness: exorbitantly high rental rates. The administration is seeking to build more recipient accountability into the current hotel/motel voucher system and has outreach workers offering assistance with substance abuse, workforce training, mental health, domestic abuse and other root causes of homelessness. 

Reporter James Dwinell asked whether building more homes for the homeless will increase the pool of homeless people: “if you build it, they will come,” he observed. Gov. Scott replied that if you build it, people looking for jobs and a life in Vermont will come, too. 

Categories: Housing

21 replies »

  1. Well this is because of the layabouts who don’t pay rents and ruin properties
    The state will have to build these homes and manage them😂😂😂😂

  2. Better to build under a streamlined regulatory process than go down the rent control rabbit hole.

  3. Hey anybody ever heard of Act 250? Nah that can’t be it….. So maybe it’s the all the green subsidy crap, Nah that can’t be it. Or maybe the laws that give renters the right to squat so nobody rents anymore. Nah that can’t be it. Or maybe all the 2nd homes that sit empty (#1 in the nation for that). Nah that can’t be it. Giving people anything other than knowledge will not get them to work.

  4. When you tax something you get less of it. Maybe someone will eventually learn that the burden of all the taxes on real estate are oppressive.

    • You nailed it. Taxes and other State fees are destroying home ownership and the red tape for landlords is ridiculous too. The when the tenants stop paying rents and it takes a year to evict with a year’s lost of rental income.

    • …and when you subsidize something, you get more of it. When you give something away for FREE, like the luxury and privacy of a motel room, junkies and vagrants will be drawn from afar, like birds to a feeder…

  5. Yurts cost between 7-10k apiece.
    Heated with wood, they are simple, warm, and spacioous enough to house any size family. They are more aethetically pleasing, and they can be put in rural scenes.
    Many of us can no longer live anywhere there is wifi — regulations are only a part of the problem.
    The construction materials give off vapors that are poisonous to homeowners in new houses — think radon but bigger and you are paying for it!
    NEW is NOT what Vermont needs. We’ve set urban standards for rural living, and I for sure will NEVER live in an apartment complex or urban or city housing.
    I’d rather die first.

    • This really is one of the answers and a good one.

      This will be a “Montpelier solution” that only benefits those in Montpelier.

      Remember Irene? They stopped the need for any permits, everybody with a backhoe got to work and we solved the problem.

      Just allow homes to be built, we can have them delivered in 3 weeks. They can be Yurts, Log Cabins, Manufactured Housing, Modular….

      See you can’t order apartment buildings, but that is the plan of build back better, you will own nothing and be happy. They want us all tenants, slaves to Montpelier.

      Just tell every town, to build 24 homes next year for homeowner ship for less than $250k otherwise the town gets a bill for $2,000,000 dollars. And if they dont’ get it done by the following year the bill goes upto $4,000,000 and keeps climbing.

      Let them solve the problems, THEY created.

      How about Zero fees for any house under $5ook
      HOw about zero tax on any house under $500k?

      There are so may easy ways to do this…we just don’t want it.

  6. Let’s be honest, isn’t this really just building houses so as to invite the mob of homeless non white illegals crossing the United States southern border? What exactly is the economic engine here in Vermont that will employ the people living in these new houses? My gosh the economy now is not able to support the people already here and I believe it is true that the State along with the sum of local governments are the biggest employers. Is this just a never ending spiral into unsustainable debt and destruction of the middle class?

    • Exactly! Scott and the rest of the progressive democrats could care less about Americans.

  7. Every time the Government subsidizes anything taxes go up and increased taxes are passed on to tenants. The Government is its own worst enemy and is the prime reason for rent increases.

  8. “Housing Commissioner Alex Farrell said Vermont can’t afford to continue the new low-income housing model at $600,000/unit.”

    This quote shows how clown planet-y this state is. This describes current state policy. So how does a low income Vermonter who makes less than 50k a years pay for a $600k house. Sanity is out the door.

  9. “Increased homelessness is a byproduct of the statewide housing shortage.” I realize this follows a simple mathematical formula: number of people to be housed minus available housing equals number of houseless people. But, I fail to see any causal relationship. Help me commissioner Winters.

  10. Being it is selection season, time to rev up the chicken dance, empty platitudes, and pandering machine full blast! Governor Scott, “if you build it and they will come.” Genious response Governor Empty Suit.

    First, define “affordable housing” in an economic climate that has unemployment, interest, and inflation rates so high the middle class is cratering.

    Second, where is the line of credit coming from for builders and suppliers? From what I hear, banksters are throttling credit lines due to their balance sheets so out of whack they can’t default swap, the bond market seizing, and the repo window is stacked up with beggars, but no one tending the window, the FDIC is busted, and Grammy Yellen is funding wars, not economic growth. The supply chain is snapping as the Panama Canal has serious issues, trucking companies going belly up, the war mongering and climate change screeching is crippling shipping and trade bigly. The real numbers don’t lie, but the politicians do reading from the script. Avoid bank runs at all costs is the marching order.

    Third, once a person is housed, how do they maintain the cost of living thereafter? If they could maintain the cost before, they wouldn’t be homeless – duh! Those in housing now can barely afford the increasing costs of taxes, utilities, and insurance. It’s all going up and no change in site for it to go down one red cent.

    As the Legislature convenes in a few months, sit back and watch the lies and deception increase tenfold. My bet is they will create more programs with pretend funding that they can skim 10% or more off for themselves. They will appoint more task forces and committees to study how much of a failure their policies are and create more nonsense lawfare to cover it all up.

    Vermont is a failed State. The corporation of the United States is bankrupt. No amount of blathering from the podium will change that fact. Much more pain to come so be prepared for it. Unless you are an illegal alien, there is no help and no assistance whatsoever for American citizens, working or otherwise. Disgraceful and corrupt to the core.

  11. Melissa is on-point.
    Buckle up. We have succeeded in being psy-op’d by the leadership everywhere. That day of reckoning is getting closer. They’re merely timing it to something that will keep them from getting punished when the financial SHTF.
    The social justice thing was all projection and gaslighting. Most of us knew that. But some of us also knew that it’s near impossible to stop since that train has left the station a long time ago. This literally has nowhere else to land.
    If there was ever a time to be civil, have mercy, and make friends and peace locally among ourselves, it is now. And be careful. For all the survival reasons.

  12. Check out the Abundance Sun website and the work the organization does in Vermont. Xusanna Davis from the state equity office is working with them to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This is actually posted on the website. The equity programs and SEL programs are part of the UNESCO Global Education 2030 Agenda. The UN has defacto control of this nation. It is the entity blaming all unequal outcomes on systemic racism.

  13. Drop the regulations and let the free market do what the free market does best. Housing will be built for far less than 600K per unit. That is a recipe for bankruptcy.