Housing Authority Priorities - Jan 16, 2024

The House General & Housing Committee met on Tuesday with Kathleen Berk (Executive Director, Vermont State Housing Authority) who had sent a letter to the Committee the week before.

She reviewed the mission statement and operational authority of the organization, which strongly follows HUD guidelines as a quasi-state agency who administers federal funds and section 8 subsidies along with a number of other programs:

  • Housing Subsidy Plus Care
  • Bridge to HOPWA – transitional housing assistance
  • MHIR – Mobile Home Improvement and Replacement Program
  • LRP (Landlord Relief Program) – risk pool
  • Primary fund transfers are HUD – in 2023 $107 Million Federal of which $29 was Covid
  • Emergency Relief Assistance Benefits


Chairman Stevens asked about their “success rate” at securing housing to utilize vouchers. Burke responded that it is 20%. For every 100 vouchers issued, only 20 actually find and secure housing that are eligible to accept the Voucher. The remainder are returned unused after the time period (set amount of time not specified). She reviewed authorized Voucher amounts and projected a May 2024 rate of $831 per eligible family.

Representative Elder asked how the 20% voucher success rate affects their budgeted administrative funds. He wondered if this means that administratively they spend five times the admin time for each result versus a higher percent return.

Also reviewed were the types of sustainability and efficiency and the returns for renovating dilapidated structures versus replacement. The last item reviewed, the Landlord Relief Program, creates a risk pool to mitigate unpaid rents from subsidized renters. The idea being that it lowers the risk (and friction) for landlords renting to low-income persons. Based on current spend rates, the current funding forecasted to be depleted in April of 2027.

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