02.07.08

Leahy Announces $1.2 M. In Grants To Vermont’s NeighborWorks Centers To Sustain Their Affordable Housing Development And Ownership Counseling

As Foreclosure And Affordable Housing Crisis Spreads…

 

. . . Leahy Helped Create 1st NeighborWorks Organization In Vermont In 1993 

 

WASHINGTON (Thursday, Feb. 7) – Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Thursday that Vermont’s five NeighborWorks organizations are getting $1.2 million in NeighborWorks America grants.  According to NeighborWorks America, a federally funded nonprofit housing organization, their partnership with the Vermont NeighborWorks organizations will help invest $46 million into Vermont communities this year to stimulate economic development and bring more affordable housing opportunities to Vermonters. 

The five Vermont NeighborWorks organizations receiving grants are:

  • Central Vermont Community Land Trust in Barre: $144,725
  • Champlain Housing Trust in Burlington: $412,296
  • Gilman Housing Trust of Newport and Lyndonville: $207,428
  • NeighborWorks of Western Vermont in West Rutland: $265,000
  • Rockingham Area Community Land Trust in Springfield: $215,000

Leahy, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and of its Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, which handles the Senate’s work in writing the annual budget bills that fund NeighborWorks America, helped establish Vermont’s first NeighborWorks organization in 1993 through a grant to Rutland West NHS, currently NeighborWorks of Western Vermont.  Leahy said Vermont organizations depend on annual NeighborWorks grants to provide a wide variety of housing-related services from affordable housing development to homeownership counseling and the establishment of revolving loan funds or alternative mortgage solutions for Vermonters struggling to purchase homes.

Despite increased demand for affordable housing options for low to moderate income Americans, Leahy said the Bush Administration has essentially level-funded the NeighborWorks America program nationwide below $120 million during each of the past three years.  And despite the nationwide housing foreclosure crisis and housing slump, the President actually seeks to cut $155 million from the program in his budget proposal submitted to Congress this week.  Earlier this year, in the budget for the current fiscal year, Congress more than doubled the NeighborWorks America budget to address the national home foreclosure crisis.  That new funding, unrelated to Wednesday’s announcement, will be competitively awarded to housing organizations later this year.

“Over the last 15 years, since we established Vermont’s first NeighborWorks organization, we have expanded the number of nonprofit housing organizations eligible for these grants and brought millions of dollars into Vermont to house the most vulnerable Vermonters and to make homeownership a reality for many others,” said Leahy, who has led an effort to increase funding for housing programs within HUD and for the NeighborWorks program.  “We could do much more to stimulate this economy and fend off recession if the Bush Administration focused on the urgent housing needs of Americans instead of pumping tens of billions of dollars every month overseas for the misguided war in Iraq.  I will continue to fight for affordable housing assistance for Vermonters, who are struggling all the more as the economy worsens.  As far as the federal budget is concerned, this is the kind of high priority here at home that the war in Iraq is not.”

NeighborWorks was established in 1978 by Congress.  According to NeighborWorks America, over the last five years the NeighborWorks network has helped leverage nearly $15 billion in America’s urban, rural, and suburban communities; assisted more than 80,000 Americans become homeowners; and developed and managed more than 70,000 units of affordable, high-quality multifamily housing.  This year, NeighborWorks America will provide more than $76 million to its network of more than 230 community-based nonprofit organizations. 

 

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