Newly Increased Rebates for Home Weatherization

Newly Increased Rebates for Home Weatherization

Now’s the best time to think about weatherizing your home as both New Hampshire and Vermont state weatherization programs have announced a temporary increase to weatherization rebates.  NH Saves rebates have increased to 90%, funding up to $8,000 per household, for projects completed before November 15 — compared to previous caps of 50% and $4,000.  Efficiency VT rebates have increased to 75%, up to $5,5000 per household, for projects enrolled by August 31 — compared to 50% and $4,000 previously. In addition, Efficiency VT will make the first six months of payments (up to $900) on Home Energy Loan for anyone who applies before October 31.

Not sure where to start? Here are some useful Vital Communities “cheat sheets” that take you through the process. Note that these documents still quotes old, lower rebate percentages and caps, and that to access some of the links, you will need to paste the URLs into your web browser rather than just clicking on them.

New Hampshire residents: NHSaves Rebate Guide

Vermont residents: Home Performance with Energy Star/Efficiency Vermont

Making Solar Energy Accessible for All

Making Solar Energy Accessible for All

The best-kept secret about solar energy is how affordable it can be. Thanks to changes in the market and technology as well as rebates and other financial assistance, people at any income level can reap free power from the sun that pays back its investment and is kinder to the environment.

Want to know more? On Saturday, July 19, from 10 to 11 am, Sustainable Woodstock and Vital Communities will host an informational meeting on Zoom about creating affordable solar opportunities for all Upper Valley residents, including those with low to moderate incomes. Norwich Solar Technologies, Twin Pines Housing Trust, and Norman Sun LLC will be leading a discussion about how private individuals and companies can collaborate with the nonprofit sector to develop solar energy designed for low- to moderate-income households. 

We will explore how partnerships between the private and public sectors can help income-sensitive Upper Valley residents add solar energy to their homes. We will also explain how these same benefits can apply to nonprofits, municipalities, and other entities without a tax burden! Case studies will highlight how this has been done in Vermont, but the model can work in New Hampshire as well. 

This event is ideal for: non-profit managers, representatives of financial institutions, city/town planners & planning board members, local energy committee members, select board members, town managers, city mayors, regional planning commission staff, regulators, legislators, solar developers, and any resident interested in affordable solar! 

Zoom Meeting Details:

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5645367254?pwd=dWpxVnZucVBBbHhUMThVNGFkYlI4UT09

Meeting ID: 564 536 7254;

Password: 322538

One tap mobile: +19292056099,,5645367254#,,1#,322538# US Dial by your location: +1 929 205 6099; Meeting ID: 564 536 7254; Password: 322538 

New Help for Renters and Landlords

To help landlords and tenants facing pandemic-related financial problems, refer to this resource sheet created by Upper Valley Strong, a coalition made up of over 35 non-profit organizations, agencies and town representatives who come together during times of crisis, such as COVID-19. Further information about promoting safe practices in your housing community can be found on the Upper Valley Strong website.

New Hampshire:

Funding from the CARES Act will be available to NH residents for rental assistance.  The five Community Action Program (CAP) agencies in NH will be administering the funds.  There are 2 types of assistance:

  • A one-time grant (up to $2,500) for past due rent (from April 2020) or other housing-related expenses as a result of lost household revenue or increased household expenses (must be related to COVID-19).  This grant program is targeted to those households who will be able to maintain their housing without assistance after the one-time assistance payment.
  • Short-term rental assistance for those who are looking to maintain or secure permanent housing (includes first month’s rent and ongoing short-term rental assistance).

What You Should Know:

  • Both the one-time grants and the short-term rental assistance will be coupled with regional case management services to help connect households to appropriate services as defined by the household and the agency.
  • There are no income guidelines, but the loss of income or additional expense must be COVID-related.
  • An Eviction Notice is not required, but a Demand for Rent or ledger is necessary.
  • You do not need to have met with your city/town welfare first in order to get access to funding.
  • Program payments will be made directly to the landlord or provider.
  • The program will end by December 30, 2020.

How to Apply:

  • The program opens on June 30, 2020. To be notified when the application is available, sign up on the TCCAP interest form website.
  • Applications will be online, but paper copies can be requested
  • If you need help applying, you can contact:

If the amount of arrears cannot be cured by rental assistance from the CARES Act, tenants can apply for additional rental assistance from City/Town Welfare.

Vermont:

Rental Housing Stabilization Fund:

Up to 3 months of emergency rental assistance and rental arrearage payments to property owners suffering from non-payment of rent, to prevent tenant evictions and prevent an increase in family homelessness. Available to all property owners with a maximum of 20 units assisted per owner.

AREA OF NEED:

  • Landlords and Tenants
  • Payments will be disbursed by housing service provider(s) selected through RFP process with oversight authority through Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development.

Re-Housing Recovery Fund:

Emergency housing rehabilitation grants and forgivable loans to make up to 250 units of housing available to re-house homeless families experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak.

AREA OF NEED:

  • Homeless Families/Substandard Existing Rental
  • Housing Stock Grant and forgivable loans disbursed by housing service provider(s) selected by RFP process with oversight authority through Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development.

How to Apply:

For up more information about how to apply for funds through the state of Vermont, please visit the Vermont Economic Recovery and Relief Package Website.

Additional Resource in VT:

Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA): SEVCA provides a wide variety of services to individuals and families in Windham and Windsor Counties, including utility and housing assistance; help accessing State and local support networks like 3SquaresVT, supplemental fuel assistance, medical insurance, unemployment benefits, etc.; financial literacy courses; small business development; tax assistance; weatherization services; Head Start; advocacy, information, and referrals; and thrift stores. SEVCA is also available to help people affected by COVID-19 find, explore, and access options for recovery and stabilization. Visit the SEVCA Website for more details.

Upper Valley Housing Update

A quick update on Upper Valley housing from our Workforce Housing Coordinator, Mike Kiess:

Support for people experiencing homeless and housing insecurity has been expanded on both sides of the river. In Vermont, the state has provided vouchers for 130 people without housing to stay in hotels. Thanks to the Super 8, South on Five, White River Junction Inn, and Comfort Inn for being partners in this effort. At the same time, organizations like the Upper Valley Haven that help with homelessness and housing insecurity are expanding services and outreach. Another example is LISTEN Community Services, which is providing free meals to those sheltering in White River Junction.  

There is concern moving forward that economic disruption from the pandemic will increase homelessness and housing insecurity. NH and VT advocacy groups are asking Concord and Montpelier to allocate CARES funds to continue expanded shelter and service support. Local organizations, such as Continuum of Care and Upper Valley Strong’s housing committee, are also working towards long term solutions. The goal is to help connect community members with available housing, possibly by working out deals with landlords or providing rent assistance. 

It is still too early to predict what the consequences for housing and housing finance markets will be. While a rise in joblessness and a fall in incomes is expected to hurt the housing market, demand among those who live in urban areas for “get away” locations could cause prices to rise. March real estate data did not show any decrease in transactions, which had started the year on a strong note. April data shows that prices have risen and supply has diminished as potential sellers are waiting to enter the market.

Going forward, housing affordability and availability is expected to remain a challenge, and the pandemic may be shifting our solutions. It does not seem that development costs will be reduced by the economic disruption, while public and business investor development funds are likely to be impacted. At the same time, there seems to be increased openness to creative partnerships for incremental creation of workforce housing through smaller projects and renovations.

Make Your Pitch to The Local Crowd UV!

We’re accepting proposals for the next round of The Local Crowd Upper Valley crowdfunding campaigns!


Do you have an incredible project just waiting to happen
—one that would strengthen your business, our community, and the local economy—if only you had the funds to make it happen?

Is your organization a “social enterprise” that addresses social and/or environmental issues and has a mission beyond the bottom line?

Will your project support community goals while keeping to a budget of $10,000 or less?

If you said yes to these questions… THANK YOU!  You are part of the emerging Fourth Sector economy—a sector that uses the power of business to do good things for people and the planet.

Vital Communities believes in people like you. That’s why we’re participating in The Local Crowd (TLC) Upper Valley, a new research project in conjunction with the National Science Foundation and The Local Crowd designed to uncover the best ways to support social enterprises. We are pleased to invite you to participate in this project.

Proposals are due Friday, February 14, 2020, at 5 p.m. Get the details and apply today.

Get Involved With Workforce Housing In Your Town

The workforce housing shortage is a challenge that impacts everyone in the Upper Valley. Many communities are working toward solutions—and you can get involved.

Upcoming Opportunities to Get Involved

  • Royalton, Strafford, Sharon, and Tunbridge have joined together to form a housing group for their four-town region. They are working together for mixed senior-family-student living in South Royalton to serve all four towns and a volunteer-supported home rehabilitation program that would help transform existing buildings into homes for more people. Join the next meeting Thursday, February 13, at 7:00 pm at the Sharon Congregational Church.
  • Mount Ascutney Hospital and Health Center sponsors a housing group for the 13 towns in their service area. The group is starting to work with residents and towns to reduce barriers to long-term rental. Join the next meeting Thursday, February 6, at 12:30 pm in the Mt. Ascutney hospital board room.

Contact Vital Communities Workforce Housing Coordinator Mike Kiess for more information.

Chime In: 9/18 Hartford Hearing on Affordable Housing in Vermont

Concerned about the need for more affordable housing in both Windsor County and Vermont?

Join a discussion with local business leaders, affordable housing advocates, and community members on the challenges facing Vermont and the possible local and statewide solutions.

Senate Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee Hearing on Affordable Housing
September 18, 10:30-12:30 Room 2, Hartford Town Hall

For more information contact Peter Sterling at psterling@leg.state.vt.us or 802-279-6840

Peter Sterling, Chief of Staff
Office of Senate President Tim Ashe

Housing: Regional Challenge—Local Solutions

Housing: Regional Challenge—Local Solutions

We live, work, shop, and play across state and town lines, so it makes sense to work together to meet our shared housing challenge.

Here is what some towns are doing, and how you can be part of the change.

Tunbridge, Strafford, Sharon, and Royalton have launched a task group to work on creating more homes together. Contact Ken Wright to get involved.
Mt. Ascutney Hospital is sponsoring a work group to reduce barriers to housing in their service area—Barnard, Pomfret, Hartford, Killington, Bridgewater, Woodstock, Hartland, Plainfield, Plymouth, Reading, West Windsor, Windsor, Cornish, and Weathersfield. Contact Faye Grearson or Mike Kiess to be part of this effort.
The Lebanon Planning Board is hearing about ideas for hundreds of apartments near the DHMC campus and welcomes your participation to learn more and share your ideas. Find out about meeting dates and agendas, and let Jim Wasser or Billy Cioffredi know if you want updates.
The Woodstock Community Trust put a house into the market at a price targeting a resident working family. Bennington‘s Healthy Homes project is refurbishing abandoned houses for purchase at moderate prices. Contact Jill Davies or Kevin Dailey to see if these ideas could be adapted to your town.

Business Leaders Housing Breakfast

We had a packed house at the Fall Business Leaders Housing Breakfast, with more than 180 community members registered to attend.

We gained insights on the housing challenges facing the Upper Valley from Dartmouth College geographer Garrett Dash Nelson, plus got an update on the region’s real estate market from Buff McLaughry of Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty and Lynne LaBombard of Housing Solutions Real Estate. Find the morning’s presentations on our Workforce Housing page, and contact Mike Kiess (Michael@VitalCommunities.org) for more information.

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