Seven non-profits get USDA grants to preserve affordable rural housing

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Seven non-profits get USDA grants to preserve affordable rural housing

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 2:55pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Monday  $314,084 in grant funding to assist 58 homeowners preserve their homes during a news conference at the Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL) in Montpelier. Seven Vermont and New Hampshire non-profits will use USDA Rural Development Housing Preservation Grants to make loans and grants to homeowners and rental apartment owners to make life-safety and other needed repairs. 

“Families are safer when their homes are weatherized, seniors with disabilities are safer when their homes are accessible, and our rural housing stock is safer when multi-family properties are well maintained,” said Ted Brady, USDA Rural Development Vermont and New Hampshire State Director. “The Housing Preservation Grant Program allows Rural Development to work hand-in-hand with local housing organizations to support Vermont and New Hampshire residents preserve and enhance the safety and quality of their homes.”

The USDA recipients include:

·        Vermont Center for Independent Living - $26,021 to support accessibility modifications and home repairs for Vermonters with physical disabilities.

·        Southeastern Vermont Community Action - $26,021 to support the Emergency Home Repair Program serving southeastern Vermont.

·        Gilman Housing Trust - $70,000 to correct health and safety hazards for residents of Vermont’s Caledonia, Essex and Orleans counties.

·        Northeast Employment and Training Organization - $70,000 to assist very low-income homeowners with energy conservation measures in Vermont’s Caledonia, Essex and Orleans counties.

·        The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board - $70,000 to provide assistance to developers undertaking multi-family rental rehabilitation projects in Vermont’s Caledonia, Essex and Orleans counties.

·        Southwestern Community Service - $26,021 to provide grants to low-income homeowners in New Hampshire’s Cheshire and Sullivan counties to perform eligible improvements.

·        Tri-County Community Action - $26,021 to assist low-income homeowners in New Hampshire’s Coos, Carroll, and Grafton counties remedy serious building deficiencies.

The USDA invested $3.87 million in Housing Preservation Grants nationwide in 2016 to improve nearly 10,000 units of rural housing stock.  In Vermont and New Hampshire, the recipient non-profits will use the grant funds to provide eligible homeowners with grants and loans to support home projects such as weatherization improvements, energy upgrades, accessibility renovations and essential repairs. Interested homeowners should contact the recipient non-profit serving their region to inquire about applying for support.

Three of the benefiting organizations received funding through USDA’s Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zone set-aside: Gilman Housing Trust, Northeast Employment and Training Organization and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. The funding is part of a set-aside of Rural Development funding authored by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy and supported by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch that is only available to REAP Zones in Vermont, New York and North Dakota. Vermont’s REAP Zone was created in 2000 and includes Caledonia, Essex and Orleans counties.

At the grant announcement, Brady presented VCIL Peer Advocate Counselor Coordinator and Barre resident Tyler Sweeten with a Gold Star Partner Award. Sweeten received recognition for her dedication to helping senior and disabled Vermonters access financial support for essential home repairs and upgrades through USDA Rural Development’s 504 Home Repair Program.  Sweeten, who has firsthand experience living with a disability, works tirelessly to ensure that peers can maintain their homes and continue to live independently within their communities. She has worked with VCIL since 2014.

USDA, through its RD mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of $214 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas. For more information on Rural Development visit the Vermont Rural Development website (www.rd.usda.gov/vt )

Source: MONTPELIER, VT. (September 6, 2016)- USDA