VT Housing and Conservation Trust Fund Act

“…creating affordable housing for Vermonters, and conserving and protecting Vermont’s agricultural land, historic properties, important natural areas and recreational lands.”

The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) was established by the Vermont General Assembly in May of 1987 to respond to the problems caused by the pace and pressure of development on the landscape and quality of life of this essentially rural state. Two concerns were paramount: that affordable housing would move hopelessly beyond the reach of most Vermonters and that substantial portions of agriculturally significant land and natural areas would disappear.

The Board administers the Vermont Housing and Conservation Trust Fund, making loans and grants to municipalities, nonprofit organizations, housing co-ops and qualifying state agencies.  Projects eligible for funding conserve important natural resources including agricultural lands, natural areas, recreational lands and historic properties, and preserve, rehabilitate, and develop perpetually affordable housing.  Housing developed with VHCB funds must serve Vermonters with incomes at or below median income.  The majority of VHCB-funded housing projects are perpetually affordable to households with incomes at 30%-80% of median income, and all housing projects are required to serve households earning no more than median income. Easements and land purchased with VHCB funds are required to be conserved in perpetuity, through the use of conservation easements recorded in the land records.

The Board also makes grants and loans to enable an applicant to option a piece of land, undertake feasibility, energy analysis or engineering studies, or commission an appraisal. Annual organizational development grants assist non-profit housing and conservation organizations with the costs of infrastructure and overhead to enable them to undertake projects.

Since 1987, VHCB loans and grants have been used to conserve more than 161,700 acres of agricultural land on 682 farms around the state. More than 261,000 acres of natural areas and public recreational lands have been conserved and affordable homes and apartments (including rental and co-op apartments, single family homes,  duplexes and mobile home lots) have been created or preserved, housing more than 30,000 Vermonters.

For more information visit  VHCB’s website or call at 828-3250.