Senator Patrick Leahy announced Tuesday, June 20, that Vermont will receive more than $11 million in new affordable housing and community development funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Earlier this year, as vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Leahy successfully negotiated the fiscal year 2017 Appropriations Act, which included funding for HUD, the department responsible for administering the nation’s affordable housing programs, including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs. Vermont will receive approximately $7 million in CDBG funds, $3.4 million in grants from the HOME program and more than $635,000 for homelessness assistance grants.
“Affordable housing and community development are priorities for Vermonters and for Americans from coast to coast, and they deserve to be priorities in annual appropriations bills” Leahy said. “The Appropriations Committee is where we set priorities, and where those priorities become real. I am proud that we were able to renegotiate investments in programs as important as CDBG and HOME this year, so that communities may retain the flexibility to make investments where their communities need it most.”
Leahy continued: “But we must redouble our efforts, because the President’s abysmal budget for next year does nothing to address existing and future affordable housing and community development needs in our states and neighborhoods. Vermont faces a housing shortage in nearly every corner of the state, even while the cost of living increases, and wages fail to keep pace. Now is the time to invest in our nation’s infrastructure — not to abandon it.”
President Trump’s 2018 budget proposes eliminating funds for the CDBG and HOME programs. Over the course of CDBG’s 43-year history, Vermont has received more than $400 million in CDBG funds to invest in rural infrastructure needs, leveraging more than $4 billion in additional investment. The CDBG program is administered by the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development, as well as the City of Burlington’s Economic Development Office. These entities support communities to identify and address local needs in the areas of housing, economic development, public facilities, public services and handicapped accessibility modifications. The program is designed to predominantly benefit persons of low- and moderate-incomes.
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said: “CDBG and HOME funds help us provide vital services to those in our community who need it most. Over the years, these funds have benefited thousands of Burlington residents by helping companies grow jobs, expanding access to health and social services, providing affordable housing, shelter for the homeless, and services to those at risk of becoming homeless. Thank you to our Congressional delegation for pushing back on the attempt to cut these funds and securing increased funding for these valuable programs.” Burlington will receive approximately $1.3 million in CDBG and HOME funds, Leahy announced.