On State’s Plan For Leahy-Sanders Funding To Meet The Needs Of Vermonters And Communities Stricken By The Foreclosure Crisis

U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Monday urged the State of Vermont to use the $19 million in federal funds the two senators secured for the state in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008 to ensure that Vermonters stricken by foreclosure are not left homeless and that communities have access to much-needed community development funding. 


Leahy and Sanders coauthored legislation in April that ensured Vermont, and other small states with relatively lower foreclosure rates than other parts of the country, would receive a minimum of .5 percent of nearly $4 billion in Community Development Block Grants included in HERA.  The Leahy-Sanders legislation passed the Senate by unanimous consent during Senate consideration of the measure that became law earlier this year.  On Monday the State of Vermont announced completion of its draft spending plan for the $19 million.  The plan now goes to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for review.  Leahy and Sanders said they hope the State will work with nonprofit housing organizations and others who regularly work with troubled homeowners to ensure the funds are targeted to those families and communities most in need.


Leahy said, “Though Vermont’s foreclosure rate is one of the nation’s lowest, the crisis continues to spread and more and more Vermont families are being forced out of their homes.  Senator Sanders and I worked to make sure that every state suffering from the nationwide foreclosure crisis had funds available to help rebuild stricken neighborhoods, provide additional housing opportunities to those facing homelessness and offer communities much-needed resources to combat blight often affiliated with economic downturns.  Getting the most out of these funds is the best help for Vermonters needing it the most.”


Sanders said, “This $19 million will help Vermont deal with the foreclosure crisis that is sweeping the country.  With this funding, it is my hope that Vermont’s cities and towns will be able to provide immediate assistance to the struggling middle class trying to hold onto their homes and improve communities hit hard by foreclosures.  Clearly, we must do everything we can to prevent the American dream of homeownership from turning into the American nightmare of foreclosure that too many American families are experiencing.”


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