What housing problems are you witnessing in your community?

i.e., lack of low income housing, homelessness, affordability, limited housing for elderly, etc.

What ideas do you have or have you heard to help combat these issues?

Question asked on 07/09/19 @ 3:11pm

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Affordability. Starting to see multi-generational living and group housing. I’ve done both and it’s been terrific.
Response posted on 07/12/19 @ 11:31am
 
Real estate is ridiculously over priced.  Then you see multiple housing communities going up that are not within the reach of middle class citizens especially those starting out or close to retirement.  I envision a ghost town of these communities one day.  People are more interested in padding their pockets rather than investing in real communities.  
There always seems to be a catch.  I would suggest more owner invested communities such as a group of  individuals investing in property together and building a their community together.  Such as a tiny home community.  
Response posted on 07/17/19 @ 1:14pm
 
Thinking about moving to Vermont?    
  • Almost all landlords are members of the Vermont Landlords Association (VLA), which behaves like a guild/insurance company.
  • The VLA has a policy-guideline:  no more than 30% of a renter's income should be spent on housing (rent combined with all utilities and 'housing fees').
  • Member-landlords treat this as law and ask all prospective tenants to provide proof of income.
  • Acceptable documents include recent pay-stub or employer-letter.
  • Landlords will refuse to lease to tenants who's income would cause the tenant to pay more than 30% on housing.
  • The VLA supports its member-landlords with legal assistance and can provide monetary assistance if any tenant behavior results in a financial loss to a member-landlord.
  • The VLA may refuse to assist a member-landlord if employment documents were not obtained or if those documents reflect insufficient income.
Important statistics:
  • Vermont Minimum wage (as of 1 Jan 2020) is $10.96, which computes (for a full-time employee) to about $1,900 a month before taxes.
  • Assume double-occupancy (every minimum-wage worker must have a roommate in Vermont) and 1,900 x 2 = $3,800.
  • 30% of $3,800 is $1,140.
  • $250 monthly utilities (1 BR Apt) $60 electricity; $150 (average) heat; $40 garbage.
  • $1,140 minus $250 is $890.
  • $890 is the maximum rent a landlord can expect two minimum wage workers to afford.
  • In and around the metro-Burlington area (where more than 50% of the state population resides), average 1BR rents are $1,300 (+/- $300) albeit many complexes offer units with all or most utilities included in the rent.
  • To be permitted to afford $1,300 a month, in rent and utilities, the household must be able to prove they have an annual income of $52,000.
None of this is a government regulation/law; merely a guideline, informally enforced by VLA member-landlords.  The results:
  • Throughout the state, housing turn-over (across all levels and types) is extremely low (and not just in the winter).  The reason?  The minimum wage increased 18 cents per hour from last year; which is $30 a month.  Nobody can move if their rent has increased more than their wages.  
  • There is a constant need for temporary, seasonal, minimum-wage workers (50-60% of businesses have help wanted signs).  The reason?  Nobody can move to a state with almost the highest rates of taxation in the country, and middling wages, if there is an unregulated "informal gatekeeper" dictating that every household must have over $50K to move here.
Response posted on 11/19/19 @ 11:30am
 
My response (above, posted on 11/19/19) consists of statistics and statements of fact, based on a recent month of apartment-hunting in Vermont.  Now for a question:  How can we - as members of various Vermont communities - change this "informal gatekeeper's" policy, which is effectively preventing low-income, low-wage workers, apartment renters, from moving into our state?  It should be up to every individual/household to decide how much of their income they spend on rent/utilities (30% should be merely a suggestion, as it is in the rest of the US) the Vermont landlords who are members of the VLA should not be incentivized by the VLA to enforce this 30% as if it were a regualtion!  How do we, as Vermonter's, stop this harmful VLA policy?
Response posted on 11/19/19 @ 11:53am
 
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