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2011 Annual Report to the General Assembly - Vermont Housing ...

2011 Annual Report to the General Assembly - Vermont Housing ...


AWARDS AND RECOGNITION • The State of Vermont HOME Program, administered by VHCB, won a HUD Doorknocker Award for capacity building among community-based, nonprofit housing development organizations. • LeadingAge, a national organization, honored Nancy Rockett Eldridge, executive director of Cathedral Square Corporation, for bringing people together to tackle the issues of affordable housing and health care and for her leadership in pioneering Support And Services at Home (SASH), a program linking housing and health care services. • The Champlain Housing Trust and the City of Burlington won a HUD HOME Doorknocker Award for their model of sustainable, affordable housing at 88 King Street. • AIA VT awarded Duncan Wisniewski Architects and Naylor & Breen Builders with an Honorable Citation for Public Housing for Hickory Street in Rutland; Bob Duncan received the People’s Choice Award for Canal Street Veterans’ Housing in Winooski. • Tom Bachman of Gossen Bachman Architects was honored by the Boston Society of Architects with the John M. Clancy Award for Socially Responsible Housing for Union Square Apartments in Windsor. Above: On North Avenue in Burlington’s New North End, the Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont are developing 33 new affordable homes for families as part of an infill development with senior and market rate housing. The $7.6 million development, which is close to services and served by public transportation, will have solar hot water and will be highly energy efficient. residential communities for seniors in Vergennes and Burlington and for families in Newport, Essex, Burlington, Bennington and Guilford. Additionally, grants were provided to increase the energy efficiency in developments undergoing relatively minor rehabilitation. vhcb continued to support affordable homeownership both the through the buyer-initiated Homeland Program as well as by subsidizing homes in condominium or subdivision developments. hud Economic Development Initiative funds were used to create a land bank to secure sites in prominent downtown or village center locations for future development as affordable housing. The Board also awarded money to facilitate the acquisition of the assets of the former Rockingham Area Community Land Trust by the Windham Housing Trust, now known as the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, as well as to help the state’s five homeownership centers provide assistance to Vermonters who suffered significant damage to their homes from Tropical Storm Irene. vhcb also continued to focus on increasing the energy efficiency of the state’s non-profit owned affordable housing stock in order to position those properties for a sustainable future. A number of the activities in the MacArthur Foundation grant support these efforts along with supplemental funds from the High Meadows Fund and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Federal arra State Energy Program funding for 725 apartments in 88 buildings will result in energy savings averaging 37% and as high as 69% in some cases. The majority of these retrofits include installation of solar domestic hot water and many include installation of more energy efficient mechanical systems as well as insulation and air sealing. arra State Energy Program funding across the 88 buildings will result in annual savings of over 2.3 million cubic feet of natural gas, over 100,000 gallons of oil or propane and approximately 485,000 kilowatt hours per year in electrical savings. In addition, on-site solar domestic hot water systems installed under this program will generate the equivalent of 350,000 kilowatt hours per year of energy. All of these projects were highly leveraged through successful partnerships with the Vermont Fuel Efficiency Program and regional weatherization programs, with a dollar of funding from vhcb’s arra State Energy Program leveraging over $4 in other funding. vhcb-funded developments are located in all corners of the state, from Bennington to St. Albans and from Guilford to Derby. In keeping with the vhcb mission, nearly all are located in downtown, village center or growth center locations, or create logical extensions of residential neighborhoods; many are in historic buildings. 4 Champlain Housing Trust photo

CONSERVATION PROGRAMS During the past 18 months, VHCB committed funds to conserve 53 farms in 11 of Vermont’s 14 counties. VHCB investments also protected 18 conservation properties of statewide or local significance, and contributed to the purchase and/or restoration of three historic buildings. Over this same period, VHCB’s strong public/private partnerships leveraged an additional $15.5 million in federal funding, private foundation funding, bargain sales and local fundraising, multiplying the impact of the state’s investment. Weather events in 2011 brought multiple challenges for Vermont farmers and homeowners, beginning with spring flooding and followed by the momentous Tropical Storm Irene in late August that affected thousands of acres of Vermont’s farm fields and over 700 homes. Governor Shumlin has identified Irene as an event that may be linked to climate change. If this is so, then we need to prepare for future storms by limiting development in key areas, and by maintaining healthy forests, wetlands, and floodplains, so that more surface water runoff can be slowed and absorbed. VHCB has been working closely for several years with the state’s River Management Program and other partners to include river corridor protections in farm easements where it makes sense and landowners are interested; in light of the extreme flooding of 2011, we will focus even more effort on protecting river corridors and floodplain areas, as part of both our farmland conservation and our natural area/public recreation work. AGRICULTURAL LAND CONSERVATION Despite the weather-related challenges of the past year, Vermont’s agricultural economy is in the midst of a renaissance, fueled by creative agricultural entrepreneurs working to meet the growing consumer demand for healthy, locally produced food. The Farm to Plate ten-year vision for Vermont’s food system and the Working Landscape Action Plan have engaged hundreds of citizens and multiple partners in a collaborative and concerted effort to strengthen our agricultural and forest economies while stepping up the conservation of the working landscape. VHCB and its farmland conservation partners assist increasingly diverse types of farm operations, ranging from conventional and organic dairies, to orchards, vineyards, beef farms, diversified livestock and vegetable operations, crop farmers and CSA (community supported agriculture) operations. Farmers sell conservation easements to help facilitate transfers, both within the family and to new farm buyers (more than one-third of all projects), to pay down debt, and to expand and/or diversify their operations. The federal Farmland Protection Program, administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, continues to provide a key source of matching funds for all of VHCB’s farmland conservation projects, providing roughly half of the funding for every conserved farm. 5 Above Farm fields; The Lawton family worked with the Vermont Land Trust to conserve 410 acres of farmland in Bridport abutting their conserved, 400-acre home farm. Fiscal Year 2011 CONSERVATION State Funding Commitments Agricultural Land: $2,769,186 27 farms; 4,697 acres Natural Areas, Recreational Lands, & Historic Properties: $1,139,856 10 projects; 682 acres; 2 historic properties Federal FundS USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Farm and Ranchland Protection Program: $3,429,500 Bob Eddy photo Vermont Land Trust photo

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