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Groups Call For $175 Million Investment for Housing

Several people lined up with shovels of dirt for groundbreaking celebration.

In 2019, Governor Phil Scott, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, and housing and community-development officials kick off construction of Juniper House, a Cathedral Square affordable rental community in Burlington for older adults.

As an organization with the mission to create and maintain quality, affordable housing for older Vermonters and people with diverse needs, Cathedral Square is proud to join with many of our housing partners from across Vermont to urge the state to increase its investment in affordable housing by $175 million during the 2023 legislative session. (Related: See Cathedral Square's legislative priorities for 2023.)

Over the past two years alone, Cathedral Square has created 70 new homes in Burlington and 30 in South Hero, while preserving 44 homes in Williston. With more than 1,200 people on our waitlist, some of whom are currently unhoused, there is much more to do.

Recognizing that safe, affordable housing is the foundation of health, individual and community well-being, and economic, racial, and social justice, we urge incoming lawmakers to prioritize funding for affordable housing so that all Vermonters can thrive.

Joint statement issued Dec. 14, 2022 by the organizations signed below:

We need more homes. Of all shapes and sizes, for all of our neighbors.

We sorely lack enough housing that’s affordable, and we are at risk of losing some of what we have.

The State of Vermont allocated significant State and Federal resources to construct new homes in the last two years.

We are starting to see the benefits and results of these investments: since the pandemic 2,800 households experiencing homelessness have moved to permanent housing, this year about 1,000 homes will be either completed or under construction. That’s great progress, but without additional resources we won’t come close to solving our communities’ housing needs.

Over the next five years there is a need for 10,000 homes in all of Vermont, with half of these homes need to be deeply affordable for Vermont’s essential workers.

This Legislative session presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address the State’s housing shortage with available one-time general funds, ARPA, or other sources. Prioritizing housing with these resources will benefit future generations.

With an additional $175 million allocated to state agencies such as the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, Department of Housing and Community Development, and Vermont Housing Finance Agency, community partners will be able to:

  • Develop critically needed apartments across the State;
  • Invest in Vermont’s existing housing stock, especially in rural communities;
  • Prevent displacement of low-income Vermonters in communities large and small through preservation of existing housing;
  • Provide opportunities for homeownership;
  • Improve housing for farmworkers;
  • Stabilize manufactured home parks;
  • Repurpose buildings that are underutilized;
  • Enhance smart growth and climate friendly building practices and locations; and
  • Provide housing and enhance shelter capacity for the most vulnerable Vermonters.

We know there are other needed policy reforms and appropriations for programs to support vulnerable Vermonters. These should go hand-in-hand with continued investment in housing. Collectively, these are investments in the health of our citizens, businesses, economy, and communities.

Signed and endorsed by: