At South Burlington City Hall Friday, March 10, Governor Scott announced a community development grant, which will be used to support new, affordable housing for seniors. Photo: tim barritt

Governor Scott Presents Community Development Grant

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Thursday March 16, 2017

Governor Phil Scott held a press conference at South Burlington City Hall Friday, March 10, to announce a $525,000 grant from the Vermont Community Development Program, which will be used to support new, affordable housing for seniors. The grant, awarded by the state using federal Community Development Block Grant funds, will help the city and developers move forward with the first component of a downtown for South Burlington, a 39-unit affordable residence for seniors being developed by the nonprofit Cathedral Square Corporation in partnership with Snyder Braverman Development Company LLC of Shelburne and People’s United Bank. Decades after a city center was first envisioned for South Burlington, the city is gearing up for construction to begin as early as this summer.

A number of state and local leaders, including representatives from Vermont’s three-person congressional delegation, former state senator and current chair of the South Burlington City Council Helen Riehle and City Manager Kevin Dorn were on hand to receive the award. Cathedral Square CEO Kim Fitzgerald noted the urgency of the project, citing Vermont’s growing senior population, the shortage of affordable housing and the fact that the organization currently has more than 800 people on its waiting list in Chittenden and Franklin counties.

In addition to praising the South Burlington project and affirming that his administration will be “pushing back hard” against severe cuts in affordable housing and community development proposed by the Trump administration, Governor Scott used the opportunity to discuss the value of TIF, the funding mechanism known as tax-increment financing, which will play a major role in making South Burlington’s City Center a reality. Scott wants to expand the use of TIF to bring similar development to towns throughout Vermont.

Pending Cathedral Square’s anticipated receipt of tax-credit financing from the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, construction of City Center Senior Housing would begin this July, with occupancy slated for June 2018.

“This is an ideal location for senior housing,” Fitzgerald said of the South Burlington location. “It’s near medical services, public transportation, and shopping, and will have the award-winning, care coordination model SASH on site.”

SASH, or Support and Services at Home, was developed by Cathedral Square. It brings together nonprofit housing providers, social service agencies and community health providers to coordinate care and provide individualized supports to seniors, enabling them to age in place safely and healthfully. A federally commissioned evaluation of SASH showed that it reduced growth in annual Medicare expenditures by $1,536 per participant while measurably improving health outcomes.

A nonprofit organization founded in Burlington in 1977, Cathedral Square Corporation owns and/or manages 28 senior housing communities in Vermont and administers the SASH program statewide as part of Vermont’s Blueprint for Health.