Leahy, Sanders, Welch: Vermont Nets $350,000 For Housing Condition Improvements

U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) Thursday announced $350,000 in grants awarded to four organizations across Vermont to improve housing conditions for limited income rural residents.

Nearly $300,000 of the grants were designated to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont – Caledonia, Essex and Orleans Counties – as a Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zone, a USDA Rural Development designation recognizing the unique rural nature of a region that prioritizes the regions’ grant applications. 

In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch said:   “These lifeline investments in housing improvements will make lives and communities better.  The Northeast Kingdom’s REAP Zone standing is the key to three of these grants.   Again and again, the NEK’s REAP Zone has been a catalyst for growth, for progress and for helping to build a durable rural economy.  It’s a program that works, and it deserves to be renewed in the pending Farm Bill.”

In the 2013 Senate Farm Bill, Leahy fought to continue the REAP Zone authorization that has been so successful in establishing collaborative and citizen-led efforts to enhance economic development.  As the senior most member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a conferee in the 2013 Farm Bill conference, Leahy will continue to fight for a balanced Farm Bill that preserves the REAP Zone authorization.  

The grants are part of the $3.8 million released by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development’s Housing Preservation Grant program Tuesday.  Vermont’s allocation of nearly 9 percent of the total grant awards make it the second largest recipient in the country and will be used to make general repairs, energy and weatherization improvements and code updates to more than 130 households in Vermont.

The grant recipients are listed below:

Vermont Center for Independent Living:                   $100,000 for repair and code compliance of very low income homes

Southeastern Vermont Community Action Program: $50,000 to resolve serious health and safety issues and weatherization

Rural Edge:                                                                   $100,000  for repair  and compliance to housing standards

Northeast Employment and Training Organization:   $100,000 for repair, weatherization and compliance to housing



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