Winooski figuring out how city’s new housing trust fund will work

Local News

Winooski has recently joined neighboring Burlingtin in creating a city housing trust fund. The goal — helping middle-income and low-income people have an easier time finding homes.

However, Onion City officials are still trying to answer at least one key question about the fund.

Winooski just formed its own Housing Commission two years ago, and it’s been working on the housing trust fund for a little less than a year now.

Last month, the commission members gave the City Council an outline of how the fund will work.

The council members had some feedback and some questions, and Monday evening, the Housing Commission worked its way through many of those questions.

One of them — what’s the ideal amount of money for the trust fund? Right now, the commission has $350,000 to work with, but the group knows the fund needs more than that.

Over the next year, it’ll look into possible funding sources, including the option of a one-penny property tax.

Burlington is considering going back to that same tax rate for its own housing trust fund, and the Winooski commission’s staff liaison says she’s spoken with officials in the Queen City about the Burlington fund.

“We had kind of a housing summit of our own — last year, I believe it was — and we had people from Burlington and people from CHT, a wide variety of experts,” staff liaison Heather Carrington said. “We have talked about that specifically, and I was also at the housing summit in Burlington.”

Among other things, the commission recommends that all personal information you’d have to include on a Housing Trust Fund application form should be redacted before your application is considered. It would be an effort to prevent redlining and other discriminatory lending practices.

Carrington also told the group that over the next month or so, she plans to take its recommendations to the City Attorney and to agencies like the Champlain Housing Trust.

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