Sen. Bernie Sanders announced funding for the construction of 25 affordable rental homes for seniors in Vergennes, Vt., that will both address the shortage of affordable housing for seniors and utilize advances in green-building techniques and energy-efficient design.
The demand for affordable housing is strong. Although construction has just begun, more than 40 households have already signed-up for the 25 apartments.
The buildings will be equipped with Energy Star lighting and appliances in order to reduce both the cost of ownership and the impact of these homes on the environment. The affordable housing will also include solar panels and wood pellet boilers, which will be supplied by local pellet manufacturers.
"This is exactly the kind of housing we should be building - not only does it meet the significant need for quality and affordable senior housing, but it does it in a very energy efficient manner," Sanders said. "This project is much more than housing. It brings the elderly of the entire surrounding community together in their own senior center and enables them to continue to participate actively in the life of the community."
Sanders noted that there will be twice weekly senior luncheons at the site and the local Meals-on-Wheels program will be based there.
The funds, which were secured by Sanders, were supplemented by at least eight sources including a tax credit equity investment of $2,751,250 and construction financing from People's United Bank. Additional contributions came from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board; Vermont Housing Finance Agency; Vermont Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development; City of Vergennes; and the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation.
Sanders was joined at the ground breaking by HUD Regional Director Barbara Fields, representatives of Housing Vermont, the Addison Country Community Trust (ACCT), other funders and members of the community.