One year ago, two nonprofits and a county planning commission set out to add 3,500 new homes to Chittenden County’s housing stock within five years.
Since then, the county overshot the group’s goal of 700 new homes by 31 percent. This could help alleviate the region’s very low vacancy rates.
However, making those homes affordable didn’t go as well. To qualify as such, housing must cost less than 30 percent of household income for households earning under 60 percent of the median income. The coalition aims to have 20 percent of new homes be permanently affordable. This year they came in far short of that goal, at only 8 percent.
“The only thing that holds us back, says Brenda Torpy of the Champlain Housing Trust, ”is the lack of capital that we need at Champlain Housing to produce these affordable homes.”
Champlain Housing Trust, Housing Vermont and the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission formed the “Building Homes Together” campaign in 2016 to try to address a regional housing shortage.
The group is hopeful: a $35 million dollar housing bond was approved by lawmakers this year for low- and moderate-income housing projects across the state.