In 2016, The Vermont Futures Project set a target for 5,000 new or retrofitted housing units per year to meet the critical need for homes across Vermont. This was a need five years ago, and as we strive to recover from the pandemic-caused economic downturn, the health of Vermont’s housing market is under more stress than ever.
The moment is now to create a long-term, comprehensive plan to address our housing crisis.
Attractive, affordable, and efficient homes will revitalize Vermont communities, provide secure housing, and enable us to attract and retain the people and businesses we need for a thriving economic future. The Vermont Futures Project worked for several months to collate the following recommendations that could improve the health of Vermont’s housing crisis.
- Strike a balance between growth and conservation by modernizing local zoning, land use, and Act 250 regulations to stimulate and expedite housing projects.
- Revise local codes to streamline first permit hearings.
- Accelerate in-filling, duplexes, and triplexes using programs like the Vermont Housing and Community Development department’s “Zoning for Great Neighborhoods.”
- Target housing growth in locations with existing infrastructure capacity.
- Address land use restrictions in more urban areas with prime new housing locations that could support employers needing to attract and retain employees living close to work.
- Retrofit and modernize current structures, like unused office spaces, to revitalize downtowns, build stable housing and attract people seeking urban living.
- Encourage more Vermont towns to create local housing committees to assess their housing situation and recommend changes to meet local housing and rental needs.
- Develop regional strategies and invite business leaders and owners to the table to address worker housing needs.
- Support ways to upskill our workforce to boost wages and household income in relationship to regional housing and building costs.
You can read the full paper with detailed housing challenges and solutions here.