The lack of affordable housing stock limits opportunity and is changing the demographics of the Mad River Valley and driving the local workforce to live elsewhere.
“The provision of safe, stable, affordable housing is a key component of a healthy community. Increased access to affordable housing strengthens economic growth, increases economic mobility and improves physical and mental health,” explained Kaziah Haviland-Montgomery, a consultant working with the Mad River Valley Housing Coalition.
“Vermont is facing an affordable housing crisis. This crisis is felt acutely in the Mad River Valley. The provision of diverse affordable housing options is a crucial part of keeping our community together and allowing all to find or keep their home in this special place,” she added
The Mad River Valley Housing Coalition and the Mad River Valley Planning District have teamed up to offer a five-week virtual affordable housing series exploring the housing deficit in The Valley and learning about solutions from local and national field experts. The virtual presentations take place on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. They will be held via Zoom. A link to the Zoom registration link appears at the end of this story.
The first presentation is on September 30 and will focus on the Mad River Valley housing gap. It will feature Joshua Schwartz, executive director of the Mad River Valley Planning District, and Doug Kennedy of Doug Kennedy Advisors, author of a local housing report that looks at demand, availability and affordability of housing across multiple income and age ranges.
On October 7, Kate McCarthy of Vermont Natural Resources Council, will present Smart Growth in Small Towns, a discussion on developing economically prosperous, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable communities in rural Vermont.
Eileen Peltier, executive direction of Downstreet Housing and Community Development, will talk about the challenges of creating subsidized housing in Vermont on October 14. She’ll offer insight into exploring the process for creating and funding subsidized housing in the Mad River Valley.
Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) also known as mother-in-law apartments will be the subject of the October 21 presentation. Eli Spevak of Orange Splot LLC and Kirby Dunn of Homeshare Vermont will join Haviland-Montgomery in a discussion about increasing affordable housing options in The Valley by fostering and offering grants to help people build accessory dwelling units on their property.
The final presentation in the series takes place on October 28 and is focused on housing trust funds. Todd Rawlings from the Burlington Community and Economic Development office will discuss creating opportunities for affordable housing through Housing Trust Funds.