New England Federal Credit Union has launched a three-year, $6 million dollar campaign to address the affordable housing crisis in Vermont. 

It’s aimed at middle income Vermonters and people who are black, indigenous or people of color, who are most likely effected by the state’s shortage of affordable housing. 

Champlain Housing Trust is one of two organizations receiving a $3 million grant from NEFCU. The money will be used to increase BIPOC home ownership, said CEO Michael Monte.

“If you are white in Vermont, you are nearly three times more likely to be a homeowner than if you are black,” Monte said. 

Antoinette Bennett-Jones, a board member at Champlain Housing Trust, is a renter. But she said she dreams of the day she can live in a house of her own.

“My parents and other family members had less opportunities to build wealth to buy a home,” Bennett-Jones said. “And the legacy which still affects me and my family today.” 

The housing crisis touches many in the state. The Vermont Housing Finance Agency is using the $3 million dollars to launch a pilot program – it will build homes for middle income Vermonters. But that is not all. 

“This investment will also support permanent apartments for Vermonters at risk of experiencing homelessness paired with services that will help them succeed,” Maura Collins, Executive Director at Vermont Housing Finance Agency said. 

Bennett-Jones hopes her opportunity to live on her own is coming soon.

“Freedom,” Bennett-Jones said. “Freedom to live in our own home, and be able to live a regular traditional American life.” 

NEFCU also announced they are bringing back the Own Home Ownership Program to help first-time home buyers struggling with affordability. 

“We believe that the best way to impact housing is to support existing organizations with the skills, talent, systems and leverage,” CEO John J. Dwyer, Jr said. “We can take these resources and have the most impact possible.”