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Town, Housing Trust seek $715K grant

State block grant would fund home-repair loans and more

BRATTLEBORO—The Selectboard held a public hearing on April 4 on a $715,896 scattered-site grant that the Windham and Windsor Housing Trust hopes to get from the Vermont Community Development Program. The Board then voted unanimously to authorize the submission of the grant application.

Elizabeth Bridgewater, Director of Homeownership, and Bruce Whitney, Lending and Special Projects Manager, represented the Housing Trust at the hearing to answer questions and provide information on the block grant.

The grant will fund the Housing Trust’s home repair loans, housing counseling advocacy, and homeownership assistance. Some of the programs are income-dependent, and others are for all income levels.

The Housing Trust will partner with a sister organization, Downstreet Housing and Community Development, which will allow the grant funding to serve five Vermont counties, including Windham County.

Selectboard Chair Kate O’Connor noted “this is federal money,” which comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, then goes to the state. Then the town applies for it on behalf of the Housing Trust.

The Housing Trust and the town began working together on Vermont Community Development Program grants four years ago.

Assistant Town Manager Patrick Moreland said the grant partnership has been “very successful” and is “a good bang for the buck.” He expressed appreciation for the Housing Trust’s keeping the town’s administrative burden to a minimum.

Although Bridgewater said the state “has historically funded this type of program,” she noted the application process is very competitive.

Bridgewater said the grant application will get filed on April 18, and they should know in June if they were approved.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #403 (Wednesday, April 12, 2017).

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