Scott signs bills allocating millions to housing programs

RANDOLPH, Vt. (AP) — Gov. Phil Scott signed two bills into law Tuesday that invest tens of millions of dollars in housing programs using state and federal pandemic rescue funds.

Together, the legislation will deliver more than $45 million to housing programs, Scott’s office said in a news release.

“Investing in housing has been a top priority of my Administration since day one, and these bills take significant steps forward to bolster Vermont’s housing stock,” said Scott, a Republican who is running for reelection. He also thanked legislators, administration teams and community partners for helping to get the bills passed, as well as the congressional delegation for its effort to secure much of the funding.

One measure dedicates $20 million for grants or forgivable loans of up to $50,000 to rehabilitate rental units that are out of compliance with building, housing and health laws so that they can be rented at affordable rates, Scott’s office said.

The other legislation includes $15 million to provide incentives and support to developers to build modest homes for middle-income Vermonters; $4 million for improvements to manufactured homes; and $2.4 million to expand a tax credit and to create one to make buildings flood-ready, Scott’s office said.

Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint said she, the House speaker and governor all believe that addressing the state’s housing crisis should be a top priority.

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done to meet housing needs at every level, from affordable housing to middle-income home ownership, and that includes critical updates to rental units and manufactured homes,” said Balint, a Democrat running for the U.S. House.