In general, the State of Vermont is in the midst of a housing shortage, particularly moderate-priced housing. Quality hosing is an important component of economic development. Part of the answer involves building more housing, and doing it in a way that respects our state's character and environment. See the Housing Chapter of NVDA's Regional Plan for suggested strategies to support housing development across the income spectrum.
Beyond the creation of additional housing, NVDA supports Fair Housing practices in the region. The U.S. Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3604) and the Vermont Fair Housing Law (9 V.S.A. Section 4503) were established to eliminate discrimination in housing. The U.S. Fair Housing Act and the Vermont Fair Housing Law together prohibit discrimination based upon race, color, religion, gender, family status, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, reception of public assistance, or disability in the sale, rental, or advertising of housing.
Role of Planning & Zoning with Housing
Planning and zoning are effective tools for addressing affordable housing issues. The Town Plan provides direction for future development and facilitates the provision of affordable housing. Vermont Statutes (24 V.S.A. 4382) requires the Town Plan to include a housing element that shall include a recommended program for addressing low and moderate income persons' housing needs as identified by the regional planning commission.
Local zoning can have a significant impact on affordable housing by regulating the type and location of development. Every town should provide for areas in town that can accommodate multi-family housing and mobile home parks. In addition, accessory apartments are considered a permitted use wherever single-family homes are permitted. (24 V.S.A Section 4412)
There are several methods of writing zoning that encourages affordable housing development. Builders could be required to include a percentage of affordable units in their development, or pay a fee in lieu of providing affordable units to supplement local funding for housing programs. Other zoning methods are to establish a maximum sales price/rent to be charged in the units and to ensure that the housing remains affordable for a minimum number of years.
If you would like to discuss this further, please contact staff at NVDA. We would like to assist you.
Local Housing Organizations
Rural Edge - Serving Caledonia , Essex , and Orleans Counties. (802) 535-3555.
State & Regional Services & Programs
- Vermont Housing Finance Agency
VHFA supports a number of initiatives that address a wide spectrum of housing needs in Vermont. VHFA provides low cost homeownership financing, finances the construction or rehabilitation of affordable apartments, issues bonds and allocates housing tax credits to assist low- and moderate-income Vermonters with the purchase and production of housing. It also assists housing developers and lending partners in providing long-term affordable housing in their communities.
- Housing Division, VT Dept of Housing and Community Affairs
Dedicated to the goal of increasing and maintaining safe and affordable housing for all Vermonters.
- NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Center of Vermont
With six centers in Vermont , provides education, financial assistance, and continuing support for successful homeownership.
- VT State Housing Authority
The statewide housing authority which pursues opportunities to make housing more accessible and affordable for Vermonters. Serving more than 7000 families in almost every community, the affordable housing initiatives reach many Vermonters, from senior citizens, young families, those with special needs to residents of mobile home parks.
- Elderly and Subsidized Housing
HousingData.org, a site maintained by VHFA, has a searchable database of affordable rental housing, including those reserved for the elderly and disabled.
- VT Housing and Conservation Board
An independent, state-supported funding agency providing grants, loans and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, municipalities and state agencies for the development of perpetually affordable housing and for the conservation of important agricultural land, recreational land, natural areas and historic properties in Vermont.
- Housing Vermont
A nonprofit syndication and development company creates permanently affordable rental housing for Vermonters through partnerships with local organizations, public agencies and the private sector.
- National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials
NAHRO is the leading housing and community development advocate for the provision of adequate and affordable housing and strong, viable communities for all Americans, particularly those with low- and moderate-incomes. Our members administer HUD programs such as Public Housing, Section 8, CDBG and HOME.