Governor Phil Scott Signs Historic Housing Legislation Into Law
S.226 and S.210 Dedicate More Than $45 Million to Address Vermont’s Housing Shortage
State Has Committed $250+ Million to Housing Over the Last Two Years
Randolph, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott gathered with members of the Legislature and local housing partners at the Salisbury Square, a planned affordable housing neighborhood, in Randolph today to sign two historic housing bills. The bills, S.226 and S.210, dedicate substantial state investments to bolster Vermont’s housing stock.
“Investing in housing has been a top priority of my Administration since day one, and these bills take significant steps forward to bolster Vermont’s housing stock,” said Governor Scott. “I want to thank the many people who were involved in passing these bills, from those in the Legislature, my teams across the Administration, community partners, as well as our Congressional Delegation for their work securing much of this funding. Today’s action is a great example of how people of different parties can agree on a fundamental problem, put differences aside, and work together to find solutions that will benefit our state for decades to come.”
The two bills are funded with both state funds and federal American Rescue Plan Act funds and will deliver more than $45 million to housing programs. These funds add to the $200 million allocated last fiscal year and in the Budget Adjustment Act, as part of the Governor’s $250 million housing package.
The bills will provide additional funding for downtown and neighborhood revitalization and reforms to Act 250, all of which will pave the way to more housing of all types across the state.
- $20M Vermont Housing Improvement Program (VHIP) providing property owners with grants or forgivable loans of up to $50,000 to rehabilitate rental units that are out of compliance with applicable building, housing, and health laws and once rehabilitated, to rent the units at affordable rates, making more rental units available.
- $15M Missing Middle Income Home Ownership Development Program providing incentives and support to developers to build modest homes to be sold at prices affordable to middle-income Vermonters.
- $4M Manufactured Home Replacement and Park Improvement Program to allow manufactured home communities investment in improvements and continue to provide an affordable, safe housing options for thousands of Vermonters.
- $2.45M Downtown and Village Center Tax Credit Expansion to expand the tax credit benefit to neighborhood development areas, creating new housing opportunities and a new flood mitigation credit to help offset the costs of making vulnerable buildings flood-ready.
- $1M First-Generation Homebuyer Program is intended to support households historically sidelined from home ownership and the opportunities it provides to build wealth through down payment grants.
- $1M Neighborhood Development Partnership will bring representatives from the Department of Housing and Community Development the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB), the Agency of Natural Resources Vermont Department of Public Service, Vermont Agency of Transportation , Regional Development Corporations, VHFA, Regional Planning Commissions, and other stakeholders to pilot a model partnership to develop and re-develop new neighborhood infrastructure and build needed homes.
- Act 250 reforms to include increasing the unit cap for a priority housing project to qualify for Act 250 exemption from 24 to 49 dwelling units, for small municipalities with populations less than 6,000. The legislation also simplifies qualification as a priority housing project on lands subject to Act 250 permit by eliminating the requirement for a permit amendment.
“People often ask how we will solve the housing crisis in Vermont and there is no simple answer to that question,” said Commissioner of Housing and Community Development Commissioner Josh Hanford. “The recipe requires a comprehensive, coordinated and strategic approach addressing the problem from multiple angles. These two housing bills tackle the key areas we can address now to create more housing of all types and makes regulatory progress to allow more housing to be built in the future.”
“There is no one entity or organization that can address this statewide crisis alone,” said Governor Scott. “We are grateful to our housing partners who will be crucial in our ongoing work to address this issue head on. We hope these new programs signed into law today will deepen and strengthen our partnership in the years ahead.”
More program details, requirements, applications, and information are expected in the coming months.