San Antonians say psychological well being, housing, and infrastructure amongst finest methods to spend pandemic aid cash

SAN ANTONIO – As the San Antonio City Council decides how to spend the remaining $ 199.4 million in unallocated money from the American Rescue Plan Act, parishioners have made their wishes known.

In a presentation on Thursday to the council members, the city officials presented the results of the various surveys, town hall meetings and meetings with the Small Business Advocacy Commission from the previous months. Housing, infrastructure and economic development were high on the list of immediate spending priorities for community members, while they said mental health, housing and quality childcare were their preferred long-term investments.

The SBAC listed priorities such as access to capital, such as grants or loans; Capacity building through vocational training and financial literacy; and promoting art and tourism.

The city has been allocated $ 326.9 million in ARPA dollars, half of which it has already received. The other half is expected to be received in May 2022.

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The city is allowed to use the money for a variety of purposes, including: balancing budget constraints; pay for the public health response to the pandemic; Payment of bonuses for important employees; and water, sewer and broadband infrastructure works.

The city has already committed $ 97.5 million to fill budget gaps from lost revenue over three fiscal years. Council too Set aside $ 30 million to help people in arrears with their electricity and water bills.

On Thursday, city officials recommended allocating $ 35 million to the city’s COVID-19 response, $ 35.95 million for “immediate” community needs and $ 128.45 million for “effective investment.”

POSSIBLE BONUS FOR CITY WORKERS

City officials suggested two “premium payment” options for city workers, for the several council members had asked.

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Depending on their annual income, the first plan would pay employees a bonus of up to $ 3,000 if they worked on-site in the 12 months between March 2020 and March 2021.

This plan would cost $ 10 million and cover 5,920 eligible employees.

However, City Manager Erik Walsh had employees come up with a second plan that would cover all employees – 11,760 of them – and pay up to $ 2,000, depending on their hire date and annual earnings. This plan would cost $ 14.3 million.

“But from my point of view, I think we should treat everyone equally from the point of view of employees,” said Walsh.

While not all city employees would meet the ARPA guidelines for premium payment, which are intended for those who had to work in person during the pandemic, city employees could justify this by using the “revenue replacement” category.

Some councilors called for a third option that would still cover all 11,760 employees but offer a relatively higher bonus for the 5,920 who had to come to work.

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City officials noted that none of the other major Texas cities had yet chosen to use ARPA money for bonuses.

NEXT STEPS

The city council has yet to approve the overall framework for the use of the money. This is expected to happen in a February 3rd vote after the city council made adjustments based on Thursday’s discussion.

Thereafter, the council members will assist through various sub-committees in deciding which programs to fund the ARPA money.

Copyright 2021 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

Bingo! Group raises cash for housing wants – Chico Enterprise-Report

Bidwell Park rang out with the sound of “Bingo!” On Sunday, Home & Heart supporters and employees gathered for some spirited bingo games and to provide information and raise funds for the organization.

According to the organization’s website, Home & Heart is an affordable housing solution that suits adults in Butte County who have a room to share with people in need of affordable housing. While they prioritize services for older adults, the program is open to all eligible adults who have a room to share (housing providers) or those looking for affordable housing (housing seekers).

  • Home & Heart’s program manager, Sierra Schmidt, calls for bingo moves in the Oak Grove Picnic Area in Bidwell Park on Sunday. (Jennie Blevins / Chico Enterprise Record)

  • Bingo attendees study their boards carefully at Home & Heart’s Sunday fundraiser in Bidwell Park. (Jennie Blevins / Chico Enterprise Record)

  • Caitlyn Patterson won the first Sunday bingo game and received a Beatniks gift card and a free meal at Madison Bear Garden. (Jennie Blevins / Chico Enterprise Record)

Homeshare participants will receive support throughout the duration of the game, including mediation or help with renegotiating the shared apartment agreement as needed.

The program was originally attended to bring seniors together with younger people, but since the campfire it has offered services to young and old who need or provide housing.

Shawn Ramsey attended the event as a first-time home owner in hopes of networking.

“It’s the best way to get to know more people,” she said. Ramsey has a few people interested in staying in her house, but nothing specific yet. Ramsey, who lives in Paradise, also volunteered for the program, picking up a woman who is struggling to get to Chico for shopping.

According to the website, three types of housing are available for the organization: rent only, service exchange and a mixed type of housing.

The first resembles a traditional roommate situation, in which the apartment hunter pays the apartment provider a reasonable monthly rent. The second is a cashless rental option that allows apartment hunters to provide services in lieu of bar rent.

The apartment hunter and the housing provider negotiate the number of hours and the type of services to be exchanged each month based on their specific needs and skills. The apartment hunter is still responsible for his or her share of the ancillary costs and personal expenses. The services may not include personal hygiene such as bathing, going to the toilet or medication management.

The third is a mixed arrangement with a combination of bar rental and service hours. This is the most common scheme and offers home providers the benefit of additional income and housekeeping, and home hunters pay a much lower monthly fee. Providers benefit from additional income and domestic help, and apartment hunters pay much less each month.

Mollie Murphy attended the event as a supporter.

“I fully believe in the program and show support where I can,” she said.

Home & Heart has played six successful apartment games so far in 2021 and hopes to hit 15 by the end of the year, according to Director Cathryn Carkhuff, who gave a brief speech to welcome bingo attendees.

Supporter Caitlyn Patterson won the first bingo game and received a gift card for Madison Bear Garden and a gift card from Beatnik’s Coffee House and Breakfast Joint.

Patterson (probably) smiled behind her mask as she received her award.

“I did an internship at Home & Heart,” she said. “I’m here to show my support.”

The treasurer of the board, Kyle Willman, enjoyed playing bingo and hoped the event would be successful.

“We let people know what we’re doing,” said Willman. “We are looking for more engagement in the community and want to involve people. People need domestic help with the housing shortage. It’s so important for people who are in a tight spot. “

There was also a mask competition and opportunities to mingle with other bingo participants.

For more information on Home & Heart, call 591-3742 or visit buttecountyhomeshare.com. There you will find housing applications. The staff can also be reached by email at homeandheart530@gmail.com.

With cash to spare, Idaho ought to spend money on housing | Opinion

This editorial was published by the Post Register of Idaho Falls.

Idaho’s tax revenues continue to accumulate much faster than the state spends them. This is welcome news because it offers legislators many options: further tax breaks and funding programs that are still underfunded, such as the state’s public education system.

With all the money flowing around, it should be easy to fund a small but potentially very powerful program that has been dormant since its inception some 30 years ago.

As Kelcie Moseley-Morris of Idaho Capital Sun explained last month, Idaho is one of the few states in the country with a state trust fund for real estate, but no money. A housing trust fund is money that is matched against federal funds that can then be used by the state to run affordable housing programs. As reported by Moseley-Morris, the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that Idaho is short of around 22,200 affordable housing.

Idaho first established its trust fund in 1992. He has a board of directors. The only problem: the legislature has never appropriated a cent for it.

There has never been a more urgent time to put money in this account.

Some resort communities in eastern Idaho should serve as a full warning about how a lack of affordable housing can hamper business because of the unusual conditions there. When you talk to Stanley companies about their biggest challenges, housing is always at the top of their list for their employees. The same goes for communities around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. It is commonplace to hear of workers in these areas who live in tents or trucks for long periods of time.

In resort communities, this problem is driven by a limited amount of building land and astronomically high property prices. But that second part of the problem is quickly becoming Idaho’s problem. As the demand for housing continues to outpace supply and more people move to Idaho, property prices rise and long-term residents are losing sight of the housing options they have relied on for their entire lives.

The long term solution is to build lots and lots of affordable homes and the trust fund could be an important part of that solution.

A one-time grant of $ 3 million would put the Idaho Real Estate Trust Fund on a solid footing, and it would be relatively easy to find a small source of income to keep it going in the future – many states use a portion of the mortgage fees for the trust. The money would be matched against federal funds, and this would allow Idaho to support low-income tenants by building cheaper housing units.

It would be a boon to businesses in need of workers and low-income workers in need of housing, and it would only require 0.2 percent of the surplus Idaho currently has on the books.

HASLO utilizing grant cash to assist individuals discover inexpensive housing

The City of San Luis Obispo Housing Authority (HASLO) uses grant funds to help homeless people get off the streets and into affordable housing.

HASLO has received enough grant funds to distribute more than 150 Section 8 vouchers to the homeless in San Luis Obispo.

The managing director of HASLO says the goal is to accommodate all of the people taking part within the next six months.

“Well, I’d say give us a chance. We’re human. You know,” said HASLO customer Bryan Pennywell.

Veteran Pennywell is just one of many clients HASLO has helped get back on their feet, and he asks landlords to do the same for others.

“It’s a sad situation because even people who work here often can’t even afford a one-room apartment alone. It’s a difficult situation, ”said HASLO Managing Director Scott Smith.

HASLO has put together an incentive program that guarantees landlords the rent. Prospective tenants are screened and those who qualify are selected. Often it is people who have had tough times and just need one chance to get back on their feet.

“The only requirement is that these people are homeless or at high risk of becoming homeless, as if they have just lost their jobs or are in a crisis. Something like that, ”said Smith.

Tenants must prove that they work or have an income and can pay part of the rent.

“There are a lot of homeless people. We have a customer who is homeless that we were able to accommodate who actually has a part-time job, about 25 hours a week. They get up at 6am, take the bus to get to their job and you’d never know I guess is the point, “said Smith.

Although the program is financially secure, the challenge now is to find landlords to take in those who have received coupons.

Pennywell hopes others will get involved in the community and have a positive impact on the lives of people currently facing homelessness, as HASLO did for him.

“Well, it changed my life in different ways because when I felt like there was no hope, it gave me hope because they never gave up on me and it helped me establish myself,” he said .

Landlords who are the “Welcome home program“Receives a signature bonus of US $ 4,000 in addition to the rental.

Realtors behind big-money push for Florida inexpensive housing modification

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Brokerage groups have invested another $ 8 million to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2022 ballot that would ensure money for affordable housing programs, a newly filed financial report shows.

Florida Realtors group raised $ 5 million to the Floridians for Housing Political Committee in June, while the National Association of Realtors raised another $ 3 million. Florida Realtors had previously contributed $ 5 million, bringing the total amount raised by the committee to $ 13 million.

The committee also paid $ 2.5 million to SGS, Inc., a Gainesville company, in June. While the financial report filed with the state electoral department contains little information about spending, most of the funds raised by the committee this year will likely go towards collecting petition signatures.

To get to the vote, supporters of the proposed change must submit 891,589 valid petition signatures by February 1. As a preliminary step, the committee is required to file 222,898 signatures to trigger a pivotal review of the proposed ballot wording by the Florida Supreme Court.

On Wednesday afternoon, the election department’s website showed that 106 valid signatures had been counted for the initiative.

The proposed constitutional amendment comes after years of frustration in the real estate industry and, among other things, legislative decisions to use money from a government trust fund for affordable housing called the Sadowski Trust Fund for other purposes.

If 60 percent of voters approve, the proposed electoral measure in the Florida Constitution would establish the State Housing Trust Fund and the Local Government Housing Trust Fund. It would require the trust funds to receive at least 25 percent of the revenue from deed taxes – which are levied on real estate transactions – and would detail how the money could be used to create affordable housing.

The housing proposal would likely be one of the most high-profile initiatives in the November 2022 vote, coming after Republican lawmakers took a series of steps to make constitutional amendments harder to pass.

These steps included the passage of a law that year that Set a contribution limit of $ 3,000 to political committees that collect petition signatures for election initiatives. The limit would make it much more difficult – critics say impossible – to collect the required signatures on the petition.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis halves the money for a fund for affordable housing

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis halves the money for a fund for affordable housing

By Alex Galbraith and NSF

Blogs

The law (SB 1890) was due to go into effect July 1, after millions of dollars were paid to the Affordable Housing Initiative. But U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor blocked the law last week, saying it violated the First Amendment.

Political committees are required to submit updated financial reports to the Elections Department on Monday. Another proposed constitutional amendment that could raise large sums of money is an initiative to legalize sports betting across Florida.

DraftKings and FanDuel, two major online sports betting platforms, support the proposal that taxes on sports betting must flow into education. The Florida Education Champions political body, which leads the initiative, hadn’t released a financial report by Wednesday afternoon.


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World’s Most Bubbly Housing Markets Flash 2008 Fashion Warnings

(Bloomberg) – Real estate prices around the world are showing the kind of bubble warnings that haven’t been seen since the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis, according to Bloomberg Economics.

New Zealand, Canada and Sweden are considered to be the foamy real estate markets in the world based on the key indicators used in the Bloomberg Economics dashboard. The UK and the US are also at the top of the risk rankings.

Where house prices have risen the most

“A cocktail of ingredients is driving house prices worldwide to unprecedented levels,” wrote economist Niraj Shah in the report. “Record low interest rates, unprecedented fiscal incentives, lockdown savings that can be used as deposits, limited housing stocks and expectations of a robust global economic recovery all contribute.”

Domestic workers who need more space and tax incentives that some governments are offering to home buyers are also fueling demand.

The Bloomberg Economics dashboard compiles five indicators to estimate a country’s “bubble rank”, with a higher value indicating a greater risk of a correction. Among the indicators, the price-rent and price-income ratios help to assess the sustainability of price increases. The growth in house prices measures the current momentum.

For many countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, prices are higher than they were before the 2008 financial crisis, according to Bloomberg Economics’ analysis.

Bubble ranking

Analysis shows that even if risk metrics are rising, interest rates are still low, lending standards are generally higher than in the past, and macroprudential guidelines apply, the trigger for a crash is not obvious. Shah said the period ahead would be more of a slowdown than a collapse.

Bloomberg Terminal readers can access the full report here: GLOBAL INSIGHT: Property Bubble Gauges Flash 2008 Level Alert

However, the risk is greater when there is a synchronized boom in house prices – as Shah said there is in the current cycle.

The story goes on

“As borrowing costs begin to rise, real estate markets – and broader measures to ensure financial stability – will be critically tested,” wrote Shah.

There are more stories like this on Bloomberg.com

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© 2021 Bloomberg LP

The Australian public purse is already pumping large cash into housing – simply not the place it’s wanted | Hal Pawson

H.Reuse is likely to be a major point of contention in the upcoming parliamentary elections. This emerged from the latest ALP budget Answer. Labor had already supported the coalition’s first homeowner initiatives. But the budgetary response of opposition leader Anthony Albanese Promise to boost social and affordable housing marked a clear difference to the government.

This wasn’t difficult to achieve. Despite the continued rise in housing affordability stresses over the past decade in many cities and regions, successive liberal national governments have noted a persistent shortage of off-market housing. In his stock response to calls for an incentive for social housing after CovidThe Minister of Housing Michael Sukkar has repeatedly washed his hands by explaining it purely state and territorial responsibility.

What exactly does the federal work have in mind? At an estimated cost of $ 10 billion, the proposed social and affordable building program would produce 30,000 homes over five years. That would represent a quadrupling of recent construction rates – certainly a welcome prospect for a sector that has effectively shrunk by a third since the 1990s (from 6% to 4% of all housing).

Albanese’s pledge to supply residential real estate follows the groundbreaking announcement by the Victorian government to provide $ 5.4 billion in 2020 Big housing construction Initiative as an integral part of the state’s post-pandemic recovery plan. As part of the BHB, more than 10,000 new social and affordable housing will be added to the housing stock in Victoria over a period of four years. One important difference, of course, is that this is a plan and not – as in the Albanian declaration – just a proposal.

After a decade of inactivity in social housing, both the plan and the proposal deserve applause. But neither is a commitment that changes the scale of the game. According to Victoria’s plan, social and affordable construction would increase from 0.5% of total housing construction in the state to around 5% – dramatically, but well below that 16% seen across Australia [1945-70[1945-70

The scheme proposed by the ALP would expand current annual rental of social and communal accommodation by a worthwhile but modest 18%. In terms of its contribution to the national social housing stock, the annual production of the 6,000 housing system would lag well behind that of the program 15,000 just had to keep up with the growing population (and demand).

While most Australians are well housed and many have suffered huge financial losses in the real estate market, our current system is poorly served by significant and growing numbers. over 200,000 households are on waiting lists for social housing and census-informed evidence suggests that well over double that number are either homeless or living in unaffordable or otherwise unsuitable housing.

Do Australian governments just have to face the need to spend more on housing? Many of us would say no. Indeed, public finances are already supporting huge, but not targeted, housing spending. Most notoriously, the negative gearing and capital gains tax rebate concessions that private landlords benefit from. The highly regressive nature of these can be assessed using the Grattan Institute estimate 80% of the CGT discounts flow to the top 10% of income recipients.

Adding the generous tax breaks granted to homeowners as well as direct support such as direct lending, we calculated that the public purse is already effectively pumping more than $ 100 billion in our housing system every year. But only about $ 8 billion Of this, they specifically aim to lower income earners through social housing subsidies, homeless assistance and rent support.

This imbalance is not only socially unjust, it also significantly distorts our entire housing system. It is far too strong an incentive to over-invest in a market whose ability to react quickly is inherently limited. The result is all too well known: high and soaring property prices.

Expanded social housing programs are undoubtedly an integral part of Australia’s better housing future. Reversing the decline in the social rental sector would be beneficial in all circumstances. A reasonable long-term goal would be to expand care to the OECD average – 7.1% of all apartments.

But only through more fundamental reforms can Australia really get a grip on the greater unaffordable housing. We need to rebalance a system that unduly benefits existing homeowners and landlords at the expense of tenants, especially lower-income tenants. We need to move away from a path that increasingly restricts young adults’ home ownership opportunities to those who have access to family wealth.

Are the types of action that would be required to move in this direction just a breeze? Perhaps, but a progressive housing tax and legislative reform are not impossible. The New South Wales government recently committed to mimicking the phased introduction of ACT Replacement of stamp duty with property tax. And just a few weeks ago the Victorian government significantly strengthened Tenant rights.

Farther away, and on a much larger scale, Britain saw this Elimination the home mortgage interest tax break in the 1990s and greatly reduced tax breaks for investors landlords in the 2010s. Both initiatives were implemented under conservative governments. Perhaps more remarkable in what has been described as “A step towards a fairer tax system“In 2017, the US government significantly cut two of the major homeowner subsidies available to wealthy Americans.

What is needed above all in Australia is clear ownership by our national government, as well as states and territories, for the challenge of housing affordability. Only then could the country set the course for a more balanced and fairer housing system for the benefit of all.

Prof. Hal Pawson, UNSW, is the author of casing Politics in Australia: An Argument for System Reform (Palgrave 2020)

A “tidal wave” of an issue | New cash for lease help helps comprise tense housing state of affairs in East Tennessee

Legal Aid of East TN helps connect people with aid. Lawyers say it eases tension between landlords and tenants. Here is how they can help you.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. – During the pandemic, millions of people in the US were late on rent or utility bills, straining tenant-landlord relationships.

New federal funds, some of which are provided by the American rescue plan that came into force in March, as well as expanded evacuation protection, help tenants and owners to experience a little less stress. For some people, it comes just in time.

“It’s barely in there right now,” said Holly Fuller of East Tennessee’s Legal Aid, a nonprofit law firm that helps low-income clients. “We have had the feeling for some time that this time of year is likely to be very difficult.”

The American rescue plan denotes approximately $ 40 billion for total housing allowance. More than $ 20 billion of this will go to state and local governments to meet rental and utility costs owed for low-income households.

The city of Knoxville and Knox County announced the new one Knox Housing Assistance Program that does exactly that.

CONNECTED: Knoxville officials announce the Knox Housing Assistance program

Both the renter and landlord must file an application for funding, but officials say the money can be used to pay rent or utilities up to 12 months overdue, and in some cases even future rent payments.

If you do not live in Knox County, there is a similar application process on the state housing website. Legal Aid of East Tennessee said if this money is approved it will go straight to the landlord.

If you do not have access to a computer or if you have a language barrier, you can call (844) 500-1112.

With this new aid and a year into the pandemic, Fuller said the number of people coming to aid at Legal Aid in East Tennessee has increased, especially because tenants know that eviction protection will expire in late June.

Currently, in addition to in-house attorneys, the organization is using grants to hire private attorneys to help with case loading.

“Tensions may have eased a little. Resources have started flowing, which gives some people a little breath. However, if nothing changes by the end of this month, the term we have used in our organization from the start will be a tidal wave. Said Fuller.

Fuller said the goal is to help clients come to an agreement that will benefit both the renter and the landlord – whether it be to get financial assistance or to work out an agreement to keep an eviction out of the renter’s records. In addition, she said her lawyers will guide people through the process if their landlord has already started the eviction process in court.

“Landlords are also in a tough spot and need some relief too. That is why it is so important to use the resources so we can solve the problem at both ends to try to accommodate our vulnerable people,” she said.

Legal Aid of East Tennessee can also help people move into safer, different living conditions or connect them to other community resources.

Fuller said her biggest advice was not to wait to get help.

“Call us as soon as you get a notice that something is going to happen,” she said. “It is so traumatic to think that you may be homeless. One stress response is to simply ignore it. Do not do that. We can help your stress, we can talk you through. “

Fuller said she has seen cases of tenants losing their homes because they didn’t apply for help on time or didn’t know how to get the money. She also said that in some cases, tenants are being represented late.

“Call us, call us quickly. We are here, we are here for you. The sooner we can start our relationship, the better, ”said Fuller.

To get in touch with Legal Aid from East Tennessee, you can call one of the offices at the end of their website.

Different scholarships allow them to serve people who fall into different categories.

In Knoxville, they are located at 607 West Summit Hill Drive SW or by calling (865) 637-0484.

Read more articles in our “Pay or Vacation: The Rent Crisis” series:

Large Metropolis Mayors coalition desires state cash to fund homeless housing applications

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – The California Coalition of Metropolitan Mayors, a group of 13 of California’s largest cities – including Fresno – has come together to demand that $ 20 billion of the state budget be used to provide permanent housing for people with Homelessness will be provided across California.

Mayors say this is an important and feasible request given the $ 26 billion the state received from the US bailout, as well as the record surplus in California.

Funding, which Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said is badly needed in the city where they have already bought five motels to be converted into temporary homes under the state’s Project Home Key program.

To continue those efforts, Dyer said they need more money to pay outreach workers, provide security in these transitional housing units, and provide support services.

“Mental health, alcohol and substance abuse addiction services to appeal to the growing population of domestic violence victims and their families who roam our streets, our veterans who are often abandoned,” said Dyer. “All of these services need to be provided, not in the short term, but in the long term.”

According to Dyer, the next step is to create permanent housing solutions and vocational training to keep people off the streets.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo says the state will decide how the money will be distributed among counties and major cities.

“The allocation is usually based on a formula that combines both the number of homeless people at a given point in time and the population, so we expect these formulas to continue,” Liccardo said.

“And we will certainly work to ensure that the cities that have been hardest hit – after all, it is the big cities that have suffered the most from homelessness – are actually at the fore and in the center.”

Religion leaders ask the Legislature to allot extra Covid-19 cash for housing

Vermont religious leaders want state legislation to allocate more Covid-19 money to housing, but lawmakers, trying to balance myriad other requests, say that is easier said than done.

Vermont Interfaith Action, a grassroots coalition of nearly 70 spiritual communities from Brattleboro to Burlington, has asked the budget and Senate committees to increase spending on affordable housing by a factor of five from a budget of $ 50 million at the suggestion of Governor Phil Scott.

“We will ask you to dream big and enable every Vermonter to have permanent, stable and safe housing,” the group wrote in a new article report. “It is not only morally right, but also economically right.”

The state is receiving nearly $ 200,000 a night in federal funding to house nearly 2,800 homeless people in hotels and motels during the pandemic. Faith leaders argue that allocating funds for permanent housing would cost significantly less than continuing the status quo.

“Providing stable housing will reduce the downstream costs of poor physical and mental health, substance use disorders, educational support for students whose main challenge is chaos and trauma, and ultimately the cost of our criminal justice and correctional systems,” they write in the Report .

The state’s growth rate for residential real estate is expected to decrease from 1.66% in the 1980s to about a tenth (0.18%) this decade at the latest Vermont Housing Needs Assessment.

“When a housing market offers new housing options to buyers and middle- and higher-income tenants, their existing apartments, which are likely to be cheaper than new apartments, will become available to other apartment hunters,” the review said. “In this way, declines in housing construction ultimately reduce the availability of affordable housing for lower-income Vermonters.”

Likewise, the state’s rate of growth for rental units has declined since 1990.

“What the pandemic has brought to light is the extent to which we have negligently invested too little in our housing system,” wrote the faith leaders. “We are now blessed with the opportunity to remedy this shortcoming.”

The House of Representatives budget proposal, which is currently under consideration by the Senate, could potentially add 1,200 housing units, the clergy said. But Scott’s suggestion, they estimated, could add 5,000 units.

“With what we now know of the true numbers of people living in shelters and motels,” they wrote, “the budget of the house is well below need and Governor Scott’s desire is to create 5,000 units a very reasonable goal. “

In response, Senate leaders said writing a budget was a balancing act.

“Housing construction is important, but only part of the story,” Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint, D-Windham County, told the group recently Online meeting. “If we don’t put in the right supports, people can easily lose them for a variety of reasons.”

As a result, lawmakers also want to provide money for rental and mortgage assistance, as well as mental health and addiction services for newly housed tenants.

“I totally agree with the concern for the homeless, but the grants committee is a very consultative process,” said Senator Alice Nitka, D-Windsor County. “A lot of things have to be weighed.”

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About Kevin

Kevin O’Connor is a Brattleboro-based writer and former contributor to the Sunday Rutland Herald and the Times Argus.

E-mail: [email protected]

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