Low-income housing tax credits will support the development of 156 affordable homes in five Vermont communities.

iQoncept/Adobe Stock
iQoncept/Adobe Stock

The Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) announced its annual federal housing credit awards, which will yield an estimated $40 million in funds to cover about 60% of the total development costs.

VHFA leaders noted that this year’s awards come at a time when the cost of developing a rental housing unit in the state has increased by approximately 50% since 2020. In addition, the number of people experiencing homelessness in the state has also more than doubled since 2020, according to officials.

To help address this issue, 27 of the recently funded apartments will be “service-supported homes for people exiting or at risk of homelessness.”

The projects receiving awards are in Middlebury, Rutland, St. Johnsbury, Waterbury, and Woodstock.

· Stonecrop Apartments will comprise approximately 35 new apartments in Middlebury’s Neighborhood Development Area. The site is part of a 33-acre parcel, of which 14 acres will be a planned 218-unit master-planned community. Of the 35 units, 22 will be housing credit units affordable to households at or below 60% of the area median income (AMI). The development will feature 12 studio, 15 one-, six two-, and two three-bedroom apartments. Ascend Housing Allies will provide on-site supportive services for six formerly homeless or at-risk households. Summit Properties will be the property manager.

· The 133 Forest Street development will create approximately 30 new apartments in the southwest neighborhood of Rutland City, in proximity to the city’s Designated Downtown District. Twenty-four apartments will be housing credit units. The Housing Trust of Rutland County (HTRC), the property manager, will employ a resident service coordinator to provide on-site services. Additionally, in collaboration with the Homeless Prevention Center, the sponsor will designate six apartments to address the needs of chronically homeless individuals. Finally, eviction prevention and housing retention services will be provided by HTRC.

· Packard Court is a proposal for the new construction of 26 apartments for seniors on Main Street in St. Johnsbury’s Designated Downtown. Developed by RuralEdge and Evernorth, Packard Court will provide services to residents through RuralEdge’s three resident services programs: Support and Services at Home (SASH), community building and engagement, and eviction prevention. The sponsors will designate six apartments for households exiting or at risk of homelessness. The project site consists of contiguous parcels owned by RuralEdge. The property has been vacant following a 2009 fire that destroyed three mixed-use, multi-story buildings and the demolition of a fourth building in 2016.

· Marsh House will be a 26-unit development in the center of Waterbury's Designated Downtown on a site that’s been an underutilized parking lot. The mixed-income project will serve 26 households at or below 80% of the AMI. The project is pursuing the Efficiency VT High Performance energy standard with a solar array included on the building's main roof. Two apartments will be fully American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, and an additional ADA apartment will include audiovisual accessibility, with all other units visitable/adaptable. The sponsor will set aside three apartments for residents with intellectual or developmental disabilities. To respond to the unique needs of these individual residents, the sponsor, Downstreet Housing, will partner with Upper Valley Services to provide overnight staff located in an on-site support services office, transportation, training, medication administration, budgeting, and meal planning and preparation. Downstreet will also set aside five apartments for people exiting homelessness, partnering with Good Samaritan Haven to provide intensive case management for these households.

· Mellishwood will be three buildings of approximately 39 apartments for seniors in the village of Woodstock managed by Twin Pines Housing Trust. Thirty-seven homes will be housing credit units affordable to households at or below 60% of the AMI. All 39 units are eligible for support from Twin Pines’ Supportive Service staff. The development will include units targeted for formerly homeless/at risk of homelessness individuals.

In addition to the housing credits awarded by VHFA, other funding sources for these developments include grants and loans from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the federal HOME program, the American Rescue Plan Act, the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program, and key local contributors.