Governor announces new low-interest loan program for affordable housing
At his weekly media briefing Wednesday, Gov. Phil Scott announced the launch of a $55 million low-interest loan program for affordable housing developers.
State Treasurer Mike Pieciak says his office has approved the $55 million to be used as low-interest loans for high-priority construction projects.
Those projects include the expansion of an assisted living facility in Vergennes, which will use the loan to increase capacity by 65 beds.
“But the hope is that it also has a ripple effect through the community as individuals and seniors that are looking for assisted living facilities leave their homes and make them available for others, including young families,” Pieciak says.
All told Pieciak says, the $55 million loan program will result in 1,100 new residential units.
About two-thirds of those units will be rentals. And about 100 will be reserved for people exiting homelessness.
Vermont has more than $2 billion on hand right now, much of it from the American Rescue Plan Act. Pieciak says Vermont can put that money to use by loaning it out to housing developers.
“And low-interest loans at this moment in time with historically high interest rates are a critical way of continuing to support housing even though interest rates make that a real challenge at the current moment,” Pieciak says.
Pieciak says the loan program will leverage an extra $340 million in private and public capital.
Scott also says he’ll renew his push for Act 250 reform when lawmakers reconvene in Montpelier in January.
But he says funding isn't the obstacle standing in the way of new housing.
“We need more regulatory relief too. I’ve been pushing for desperately needed reform, including to Act 250, when I was in the Senate, as lieutenant governor, and in my time as governor,” Scott says.
Scott says he’ll urge lawmakers to get rid of what he calls redundancies in local and state-level permitting.
Many lawmakers say they share the governor's interest in aggressively reforming Vermont’s land-use laws.
Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or reach out to reporter Peter Hirschfeld: