To the editor: Housing Trust aids homeowners with repairs

At the Chester Select Board meeting on May 2, AmeriCorps service member Daphne Okumus presented information about Windham & Windsor Housing Trust’s Green Mountain Home Repair program.

“The Green Mountain Home Repair program provides low cost loans and construction management to residents in Windham and Windsor counties,” Okumus told the board. “These loans have a low interest rate, affordable monthly payments, and can be used for things like lead paint removal, to fix slip-and-fall dangers for elderly homeowners, and many other uses.” Most homes in Vermont were built before 1978 and have lead paint or ancient wiring that should be. Additionally, updates to a home can help increase its value.

Okumus said that potential candidates are referred to a loan specialist to find out if they are eligible and then a repair specialist from WWHT will go into a home and identify critical health and safety issues that would be covered under the loan program.

Okumus also mentioned that the loan program is beneficial to local vendors and construction companies who are often used to perform the work. Local businesses can request to be a preferred vendor through the loan program.

“This is a great service to have for the area for sure,” said Select Board member Arne Jonyas. “It’s nice to have something to fall back on to help with your investment – it’s good for the town and it’s good for the people”

Select Board member Dan Cote asked Okumus if the program was income sensitive. “Homeowners, who live in Windham or Windsor counties and whose income is at or below 80 percent of the average median income could qualify for a loan,” Okumus explained. “We also work with local agencies like SEVCA (Southeastern Vermont Community Action) and the USDA Rural Development to help with other resources like grants.”

Chester residents can find out about the program via the town office or by calling the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust at (802) 254-4604.

Lissa Harris
Marketing Coordinator
Windham & Windsor Housing Trust

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