News Releases

July 08, 2009

Douglas Administration Announces $5.9 Million in Housing Grants

Funds will create, restore housing in Springfield, Johnson, Bellows Falls

Bellows Falls, Vt. – Douglas administration officials announced three major affordable housing grants on Tuesday that will create or restore housing in Springfield, Johnson, and Bellows Falls.

At a ceremony at the Rockingham Canal House in Bellows Falls, Deputy Commissioner of Housing and Community Affairs Tayt Brooks presented a grant for $3.5 million to Stewart Property Management, which will be used to assist in the purchase and rehabilitation of Rockingham Canal House, a 41-unit affordable senior housing property.

“Foreclosed properties of this nature are exactly what the Neighborhood Stabilization Program was designed to help,” Brooks said. “This property, which also provides affordable housing for disabled residents, was foreclosed on and was at risk of being lost, including the federal rental and operating assistance provided to the property. That is why I am so excited to be here today to announce that because of this grant we will preserve important affordable housing units for Vermonters who really need them.”

Late last year the federal government authorized Vermont to distribute $19 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to be used to buy and resell foreclosed homes and to refurbish other buildings as part of the response to the mortgage crisis.

The state’s plan for distributing the funds calls for providing $7 million to the Vermont Housing Finance Agency to buy and re-sell foreclosed homes to low- and moderate-income Vermonters. $3.1 million of the funds will be made available to municipalities that can administer their own such Neighborhood Stabilization plans. $8.9 million will go to non-profit or private developers for specific projects, with $3 million of the money administered for housing funding by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and $5.9 million administered by the Vermont Community Development Program.

A grant for $1 million was also awarded to Springfield Housing Unlimited and Housing Vermont, which will be given as a deferred loan to help restore the historic Ellis Block building, which was almost completely destroyed by a fire on July 8, 2008.

The partnership has already begun work on the building, which including the movie theater which premiered the Simpson Movie and 9 affordable apartments on the upper stories.

“This is an important project for Springfield,” Brooks said. “The Vermont Community Development Program provided a $165,000 grant to seal the building and prevent further damage last winter.”

The final grant is for $1.4 million to Lamoille Housing Partnership and Housing Vermont for a deferred loan to Johnson Community Housing to redevelop the contaminated, vacant and blighted former Vermont Electric Cooperative building in downtown Johnson into 24 new affordable rental units, known as Johnson Community Housing.

“This property is located just blocks away from stores, banks, restaurants and the elementary school making it an ideal location for housing,” Brooks said.

Governor Jim Douglas praised the staff at the Vermont Community Development Program for its work on crafting the NSP plan and committing all of the NSP funds which it controlled.

“Not only did this team help craft the mechanism for disbursing this money, but only weeks after receiving approval from the Legislature they have succeeded in getting all of the money out the door, where it can begin creating jobs,” Douglas said. “These projects will put Vermonters to work redeveloping these sites and creating affordable housing opportunities for Vermonters in need.”

To view the complete plan visit: www.dhca.state.vt.us/VCDP/NSP.html

Source: Office of the Governor
Last Updated at: July 08, 2009 15:54:37