NEWS: Sanders Announces More Than $3 Million in Federal Funds for Affordable Housing in Vermont

WASHINGTON, May 10 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced today that Vermont will receive more than $3 million from the National Housing Trust Fund.

Sanders first introduced legislation to create the National Housing Trust Fund in 2001, based on the success of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Trust Fund. Sanders succeeded in establishing the program nationwide in 2008. This year’s more than $3 million award is the second largest for Vermont in the fund’s history. The purpose of the fund is to build, preserve, rehabilitate, and operate affordable housing for low-income people in Vermont and across the country.

“Simply put, a decent, safe, and affordable place to live is a fundamental human right, not a privilege” Sanders said. “And yet, here in Vermont and across the country, we are in the midst of a housing crisis that is completely unacceptable. Built from Vermont’s own model, the National Housing Trust Fund plays an important role in addressing that crisis by putting federal funding to work to ensure safe, affordable, and accessible housing for Vermonters most in need, including the nearly 3,000 people experiencing homelessness across our state. But it is not enough. We must do more to make sure all Vermonters have a place to call home.”

One in five Americans spend at least half of their incomes on housing and utilities. The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual Out of Reach report has Vermont ranked as the 19th most expensive state in the country overall – and the 9th most expensive for state nonmetropolitan areas – when comparing the cost of a modest two-bedroom apartment with wages. Today, a minimum wage worker in Vermont must work 75 hours a week to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.

Gus Seelig, Executive Director of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, which administers the National Housing Trust Fund in Vermont, said: “National Housing Trust Funds play a large part in helping to create and rehabilitate housing serving Vermont’s most vulnerable households, especially for the many individuals and families that are experiencing homelessness. We appreciate Senator Sanders’ leadership over many years in helping to establish and ensure continued funding under the program.”

Over the last year, Vermont’s share of the National Housing Trust Fund has helped jumpstart important projects across the state, including transforming a historic 1920s era building in Bellows Falls into 27 high-quality and affordable homes, and redeveloping a three-story residential building with apartments and a shared community space in Windsor. The Windsor project also received a Congressionally Directed Spending award through Sanders.