Innkeepers are a busy bunch. To save you time, VLA attends Governor Scott’s press conferences and takes notes for you. Below is the summary from 9/21/22.
Governor Phil Scott held his weekly press conference in West Rutland at NeighborWorks of western Vermont to highlight the investments made this year in the Vermont Housing Improvement Program (VHIP). (Please note that event was streamed only on Facebook and was held outside next to a road, so audio was poor – some questions were inaudible.)
- Governor Scott: (see Governor’s Press Conference 9.21.22)
- Commissioner Hanford: (see Governor’s Press Conference 9.21.22)
- Heather (?)
- Neighbor Works in West Rutland – Home repair work and homebuyer education. Added Heat Squad program for energy efficiency work.
- Through VHIP now engaging with renters and landlords. Can now serve entire housing spectrum. Critical to invest in housing stock that we already have. VHIP will allow us to do just that. Have brought on more than 80 units in past two years. Now have more in pipeline. In three county service areas. Will serve those living without housing stability.
- Angus Cheney, ED of Homeless Prevention Center
- Work with families, individuals who are dealing with homelessness.
- Doing work for almost 20 years – been involved in many programs designed at getting Vermonters housed.
- VHIP program here to help landlords update property to increase housing stock. Taken off in the form of recovery grants.
- Since summer 2020, rehoused 210 households in Rutland county that were homeless – Recovery Housing Grants that Neighbor Works was operating.
- Ryan (?) (landlord)
- Objective is to end evictions. Community suffers. Always better options, but tenants see the eviction as an opportunity and landlords have to file in order to get the process started. Think that there’s an opportunity to start a tenant organization to create different options.
- Have worked with VHIP for two years – renovated 3 units – working on 4th and 5th now.
- Average rent for units after repair?
- Josh – Requirement that rent be affordable to family with 80% of median income or below. Minimum 20% match from landlords. Have seen average investment of under $25k per unit.
- Labor and lumber challenges?
- Josh – Have heard that workforce, materials, inflation, supply chain are still a problem.
- How much of $20 million has been granted this far?
- Josh – Just starting – previous awards were from CRF funds and other sources. Full $20 million still allowed.
- Will it be enough and quickly enough?
- Scott – Never going to be enough. Still going to have to continue making investments. $37 million housing bond – thought that was gigantic – and that leveraged another $200 million of private assets. We will probably see .5 to $1 billion in housing over a few years. I think we’ll truly transform Vermont in a positive way.
- Josh – Last few years have been a net up in residential building permits. $300 million in relief put towards housing construction – it’s helping. Calculating about 2K units have been built to date, predict another 2k with these funds. Unfortunately we were 5k short before that. Requires easier permitting too to solve problem.
- In Massachusetts, officials are coming up with ways to house undocumented migrants – do we have any sort of plan if any planes or buses arrive in Vermont?
- Scott – We want to welcome anyone in the state, but would like to have lead time. We are working on contingency plans just in case. Don’t believe that they’ll target Vermont in that way – but we’re putting plans together to be prepared. Have a number of different areas that we are looking.
- Did you discuss ArriveCon requirement when you visited Canada?
- Scott – I do believe it’s hurt visits from Canadian visitors – (their policy) – told them I thought it was counterproductive. So obviously they listened to me and I’ll take the credit for that. (laughing) (Canada just made it optional.)
- Geographic spread of rehabbed units?
- Scott – Decided to pilot in different areas – didn’t pilot in Chittenden area. Have been working on this a number of years – didn’t think that it was going to get across the finish line. Thank Sen. Sirotkin and his committee for getting it done. Thought Rutland would benefit from this greatly – eventually Barre and other areas of the state.
- Josh – Only one unit in Burlington, but nine in Colchester. VHIP was meant to bring units that were offline back online – with shortage in Burlington, not as many opportunities. Last housing needs assessment – dropped in 2020 – identified over 19K housing units that were sub-standard. Of poor quality. Are also other housing programs that support rehabbing units.
- Accidents on 22A in Rutland – has become big speedway after paving. Please put state troopers out there.
- Scott – One of the concerns that we had. Had heard concerns from people in that area about paving. It’s on our radar screen – it’s a workforce issue as well. We’re down state troopers.
- The Burlington Police is joining with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, eight local police departments, four state agencies, and other federal authorities including the FBI, Homeland Security, and U.S. Marshals to form The Chittenden County Gun Violence Task Force – comment?
- Scott – Have had troopers in Burlington area recently due to illicit drug activity and other criminal activity. We know there’s a problem there in Chittenden County – but know that there’s problems in other parts of the state, so don’t want to ignore those.
- Average rent for units after repair?
Links of interest:
Vermont’s Unemployment Rate Holds At 2.1 Percent In August
Fall Job Fairs Scheduled As Department Of Labor Continues Efforts In ‘Year Of The Job Fair’
Fall Job Fest in Bennington and Rutland.
Burlington City Council Green-Lights Four Cannabis Businesses .
Doctors Recommend Vermonters Get Flu Shots Sooner Rather Than Later
Another Big Interest Rate Hike Is Coming, As The Fed Battles Stubborn Inflation