Thursday June 01, 2017
New England Federal Credit Union (NEFCU) President/CEO John J. Dwyer, Jr. presented a $1 million grant from NEFCU to Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) to address the critical need for affordable housing. The money will be awarded by VHFA over the coming year to several housing developments that have funding shortfalls.
The grant is a bold step toward helping Vermont’s 30,000 low-income renter households who receive no housing assistance but face rents that are out of line with their income. More than half of the state’s low-income renters live in Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille and Washington counties-the 6 counties served by NEFCU.
“We are delighted to help increase the number of homes that are affordable to those Vermonters who struggle the most,” Dwyer remarked. “We have also heard from area employers about lack of affordable workforce housing and look forward to using this money to support the local economy,” he continued.
Due to its long-standing role running the state’s largest affordable rental housing development programs, VHFA was given the million dollars and will underwrite and select projects to receive the funds.
Sarah Carpenter, VHFA’s Executive Director, explained that “the NEFCU funding will allow us to meet the immediate funding needs of two development projects in South Burlington and Montpelier.” Both projects are located in downtown areas and will house low-income renters facing extremely tight housing markets.
In South Burlington, approximately $275,000 will be awarded for the construction of “Allard Square,” located in the new City Center neighborhood. Allard Square will be a service-enriched residential building that includes 29 apartments for low income seniors and another 10 market-rate units. Cathedral Square Corporation (CSC) is developing the project with Snyder-Braverman Development Company. CSC, based on Farrell Street in South Burlington, is the most experienced developer of elder housing in the state.
Representative Helen Head, chair of the House committee on General, Housing & Military Affairs said, “NEFCU’s gift helps to close the funding gap for Allard Square, moving South Burlington one important step closer to making our first housing development in City Center a reality.”
Chair of South Burlington’s Affordable Housing Committee, John Simson, reflected on what the grant means to the city. “It was indeed an excellent day for South Burlington, City Center and our seniors in need of a better choice of housing. The grant from NEFCU to VHFA will in part enable the Cathedral Square senior housing project, called Allard Square, to meet its final financing goal and begin construction this summer on Market Street in City Center. Grants from the South Burlington Housing Trust Fund and numerous other funding sources are also part of that financing package. At the event it was clear from public comments and private conversations I had that the region regards South Burlington as a leader in our affordable housing efforts,” he said.