10.05.18

Leahy Announces $2.5 Million Investment In Northeast Kingdom Affordable Housing

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Friday that RuralEdge, a regional housing nonprofit based in Lyndon, will receive a $2.5 million loan package from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to preserve and rehabilitate three housing properties in Newport, West Burke and Ryegate. The projects received funding as part of the USDA’s Northeast Kingdom Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zone and will provide quality affordable homes for 46 families.

Leahy was instrumental in enacting the REAP Zone program and Northeast Kingdom’s designation as a leading member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and in continuing these annual investments through his role as Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Leahy said:  “I congratulate RuralEdge for taking on three bold projects that address the local need for affordable housing and spark economic development.  These federal loans will allow them to expand the great work that they do, and this is an example of how important REAP Zone funding is to our rural northern communities.  I worked hard to create the REAP Zone and to make this on ongoing priority for the Appropriations Committee because these are direct investments in the vitality of Northeast Kingdom communities and in the Vermonters who call the Kingdom home.”

The USDA awarded three loans totaling $2.5 million to RuralEdge, a Lyndon based nonprofit housing developer that oversees a portfolio of more than 500 units across the Essex, Orleans and Caledonia counties.

“With these funds, we will be able to renovate and restore three properties including 39 apartment units and 7 single family homes, housing that is so needed in the Northeast Kingdom,” said RuralEdge Interim Executive Director Patrick Flood.  “We are very grateful that Senator Leahy and USDA have worked to obtain this funding and help so many Vermonters.”

The federal funding comes through the USDA Rural Development Multi-Family Housing Program that provides low interest loans for up to 30 years for the preservation of multi-family housing properties in rural areas. The USDA loans will support the following projects:

  • Governor Prouty -- Newport, Vermont: $1,300,000 loan to complete renovation on a 24 unit property in Newport and to refinance existing debt to ensure the future affordability for residents.
  • West Burke Housing -- Burke, Vermont: $900,000 loan to purchase a 15 unit property. By guaranteeing continued affordability, RuralEdge will maintain the property’s associated Department of Housing and Urban Development subsidy through the acquisition.
  • Lind Homes -- Ryegate, Vermont: $300,000 loan to rehabilitate seven single family homes to help increase housing options for local families and invest in community development. 

The Northeast Kingdom REAP Zone, which was reauthorized through Leahy’s work in the 2014 Farm Bill -- and which he made sure is also in the Senate’s 2018 Farm Bill -- awards additional USDA Rural Development funding to community development initiatives in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.  In fiscal year 2017, REAP Zone funding brought an additional $5.5 million in grants and loans to housing, community and business projects in the Kingdom.  On the Appropriations Committee, Leahy led in preserving REAP Zone funding, including funding for rural affordable housing.

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