Housing developers say Scott budget falls short

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 6:23 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s proposed budget last week included tens of millions of dollars aimed at improving the state’s housing stock, but some developers say the plan doesn’t go far enough.

The governor’s budget includes investments in several key programs he says will be sustainable after federal COVID relief cash runs dry. That includes $20 million to fix up old homes, $26 million for emergency housing, $20 million for low-interest loans, and $10 million to fix up aging drinking water pipes.

New estimates show Vermont will need 40,000 new units by 2030 and some housing developers say those investments won’t meet the need

Cathedral Square develops affordable housing for seniors and has about 1,300 people on their waitlist, with about 20% of them representing current homeowners that are looking to downsize. The organization’s Molly Dugan says they support investment to the tune of $175 million to meet the housing crunch.

“From young families not being able to find housing to young adults not being able to find housing to older adults that Cathedral Square serves, in particular, not having the options they want as they grow older,” Dugan said.

In addition to some of these investments, the governor’s team is also working with lawmakers to streamline zoning and permitting so there’s consistency across the state

Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale, D-Chittenden County, says nearly 85% of the state’s housing stock is created by private developers. Many of them have said the state’s regulatory framework is stymying development. She says lawmakers will be considering cutting red tape, too, because nonprofits can’t solve the housing crisis alone.

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