Two Years In, Campaign To Increase Housing In Chittenden County Shows Mixed Results

Oct 11, 2018

A campaign to boost construction of new homes in Chittenden County has had mixed results. The effort has resulted in an overall increase in housing stock, but the campaign is lagging behind on its goal to create more affordable housing.

The Building Homes Together Campaign was started by Champlain Housing Trust, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and Housing Vermont. It’s two years into a five-year effort.

The campaign has exceeded its goal of increasing the overall housing stock with an average of about 800 new houses built per year, but on its goal to build 140 affordable homes per year, so far, it's averaged about 96.

Speaking at the site of the Cambrian Rise project in Burlington, Mayor Miro Weinberger praised the success of the Building Homes Together Project, but said more needs to be done.

“There is almost much more to do, much more that we must do because housing remains our largest social challenge as a region,” he said. “Addressing it and creating a robust housing growth will address so many of our key issues and concerns.”

Nancy Owens is president of Housing Vermont, a nonprofit development company.

Owens said to build more affordable houses, developers need more money.

“Affordable housing developers need public funds to make the cost of the housing affordable to the renters who we're renting too," she said. "Basically we can't carry the debt, so we need more resources.”

The Legislature approved a $35 million housing bond in 2017. The Building Homes Together Campaign is advocating for the legislature to consider another housing bond soon.