In June 2019, Housing Vermont and Twin Pines Housing Trust brought together residents, funders, community members, and local legislators to celebrate the completion of Wentworth Community Housing which provides 30 new mixed-income apartments in downtown White River Junction.
The two organizations used Vermont’s Housing for All Revenue Bond (HRB) funds to finance its construction. The 15 one-bedroom and 15 two-bedroom apartments include nine targeted to households between 80 and 120% of Area Median Income. Five apartments are dedicated to serving the homeless.
In an effort to move closer to net zero energy, the building is entirely equipped with electric heating and ventilating, which will be substantially offset by Solar PV panels installed on the roof. In fact, during a particularly hot month of August, the indoor temp was a comfortable 72 degrees – after netting out the credits from the solar PV system, the electric bill for the entire building was only $289.69!
The building is equipped with an elevator, laundry facilities, and parking under the building as well as in a surface lot. Other amenities include a terrace, community room, children’s play area and a garden area. A second phase of development is planned to add 17 townhouse-style apartments on the same site in 2020.
Twin Pines Housing and Housing Vermont assembled a financing package totaling $9.8 million from numerous sources to develop the housing. People’s United Bank invested $5.8 million through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program which is administered locally by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency. The State of Vermont’s new Housing for All Revenue Bond, administered through the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, added approximately $2 million. Other sources of funds include the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, which provided a permanent loan, Vermont Community Development Program through the Town of Hartford, and the US Department of Housing’s HOME program. Efficiency Vermont provided funding and expertise.
Housing Vermont President, Nancy Owens said that the construction of new mixed-income housing underscored the nonprofits’ commitment to solving one of the region’s most pressing problem’s – the severe shortage of affordable housing.
“We understand that affordable housing resources are scarce and that the need is great,” Owens said. “The Housing Revenue Bond funding has enabled us to offer low and moderate income people comfortable, energy efficient and affordable homes in a community rich with job opportunities.”
Vermont’s $37 million Housing for All Revenue Bond was issued in 2017 by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency and the program is administered by the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board. The sale exceeded expectations and raised $37 million. To date, VHCB has awarded approximately $29 million for 617 homes in 9 counties plus accessibility improvements and Habitat for Humanity homes statewide, including Wentworth Community Housing. The 25 projects funded by the HRB thus far will result in an estimated $137 million in construction activity (as of June 2019).