On September 27, 2023

State announces $55.5 million investment in new housing


State Treasurer Mike Pieciak joined Governor Scott and state housing leaders to announce $55.5 million in housing investments from the Treasurer’s Office’s ”10% in Vermont” local investment program.

The Treasurer’s Office awarded $50 million to the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA), $5 million to the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA), and $500,000 to the Northern Forest Center. It’s the largest housing investment ever made under the “10% in Vermont” program. It will leverage an estimated $340 million in additional capital to support the construction of over 1,100 housing units.

“Our lack of housing is holding back the full potential of the Vermont economy. By leveraging our state’s strong balance sheet to support over 1,100 new housing units, Vermont will reap economic dividends for decades to come,” said Treasurer Pieciak. “More housing means critical occupations like nurses, teachers, and first responders will be able to find homes in the communities they serve, and businesses will be able to hire new workers to expand their businesses.” 

Governor Scott said, “Housing has been a top priority for my Administration since day one. Even though we’ve seen record investments and construction over the past seven years, we know there’s much more work to do, which is why initiatives like this are so crucial. I want to thank Treasurer Pieciak for his work and focus on this, as well as all our partners for their collaboration and commitment.” 

The “10% in Vermont” program allows the Treasurer’s Office to invest up to 10% of the state’s cash deposits for economic development and job creation in the form of low interest loans. The state’s average daily cash balance has grown substantially in recent years, which allowed the Treasurer’s Office to significantly increase the amount available for investment. 

The cash balance stands at $2.1 billion today. Before the pandemic it would run upwards of $300 million. Pieciak said they took a conservative approach and assumed a $1 billion cash balance now, which allows for $100 million in total economic development investment. The balance has increased as federal funds have poured in over the last few years and as state revenues and the budget have also grown.

The $50 million loan to VHFA will help fund a variety of housing initiatives to support a broad spectrum of new housing development, specifically: 

$14,000,000 for traditional new affordable housing;

$14,000,000 for economic impact housing focused on supporting Vermont’s economic and employer housing needs;

$6,000,000 for small and emerging developers who are creating housing in underserved communities, while also building capacity in Vermont’s builder and developer network;

$6,000,000 for flood resilience and sustainable innovation focused on homes and buildings impacted by the July Flooding;

$5,000,000 for homeownership through the missing middle-income homeownership program; and 

$5,000,000 for manufactured home communities in the form of below-market interest rate loans for both construction and longer-term permanent debt.

“By investing in affordable housing, the state can further the work of communities, while supporting the workforce, which will strengthen the state overall,” Maura Collins, Executive Director of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency said. “10% in Vermont is a model for other states. This substantial investment will support over 1,000 for-sale, rented, and manufactured homes. We are excited to work with builders and developers across the state to meet these housing needs.” 

The $5 million loan to VEDA will support the expansion of the Vergennes Grand, an assisted living community in Vergennes, serving low and middle income retirees. The project will create an additional 65 assisted living beds for seniors and 45 full time jobs. VEDA Chief Executive Officer Cassie Polhemus said the facility is critical for providing a continuum of housing options for all Vermonters. 

“The undersupply of housing in Vermont impacts everyone, including our senior citizens, who need personalized support and medical services,” said VEDA Chief Executive Officer Cassie Polhemus. “The funds awarded to VEDA from State Treasurer Mike Pieciak’s office through the 10% in VT program will help develop an affordable long-term care facility in downtown Vergennes housing residents in a convenient location where their unique needs are met while remaining close to family and friends in Vermont.” 

The $500,000 loan to Northern Forest Center will support the redevelopment of the 560 Railroad Street Project in downtown St. Johnsbury, creating nine new high-quality market rate rental apartments and two prominent commercial storefronts.  

“The state’s investment allows us to redevelop a historic, but largely unused, downtown building into quality apartments and commercial spaces,” said Rob Riley, president of the Northern Forest Center, “We look forward to catalyzing additional investment in downtown St. Johnsbury and building on the incredible community vibe and pride.” 

Treasurer Pieciak also highlighted the social benefits of investing in building more housing. 

“Earlier this summer our office hosted a forum on homelessness that discussed how low vacancy rates and high median rents are two primary drivers of homelessness,” said Treasurer Pieciak. “Vermont’s housing vacancy rate is one of the lowest in the country and our median rents are some of the highest, so more permanent housing is critical to reducing homelessness and supporting Housing First policies for effective mental health and substance use disorder treatment.”    

Additional awards under the 10% in Vermont program will be considered on a rolling basis.



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