Housing Advisor to Support Increasing Woodstock’s Housing Units

Project Overview

The EDC Housing Working Group’s objective is to expand housing supply for the local workforce to grow our local economy. One housing initiative is underway (Homeshare run by The Thompson Center), we are proposing three more housing initiatives in 2022.
This application is key to achieving all three new housing initiatives
1. ADU Support Program
2. ADU Workforce Rental Pilot Program (separate application)
3. Rental Incentive Pilot Program (separate application)

This grant application is to provide a Housing Advisor, an expert advisor to support three new EDC housing initiatives and continue to support the Thompson Center’s Homeshare initiative.

The Housing Advisor will
- Promote the Rental Incentive Pilot Program, the ADU Workforce Pilot Rental Program, the ADU Support Program and the Homeshare Program ....and find eligible property owners
- Provide the expert assistance to property owners who are considering creating Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) during the exploratory, feasibility, permitting or operating stages. This is the ADU Support Program.
- Work with eligible property owners to execute the Rental Incentive Pilot Program
- Work with eligible property owners to execute the ADU Workforce Rental Pilot Program

This position would be a contract role, reporting to the EDC. Expected hours per week may vary, with 10 expected on average.

The work so far has been done by volunteers, we believe a person who can focus attention on this area for more hours each week will achieve important results.

Grant Request

$25,000

Total Project Budget

$25,000 ($20,000 contractor, $5,000 promotion, publishing, travel and related expenses)

Applicant Information

Name of Applicant / Organization / Business

EDC Housing Working Group

Mailing Address

Town Hall, The Green, Woodstock, VT 05091

Name of Project Coordinator

Jill Davies

Contact's Email Address

Telephone

802 291 3695

Organization's Website URL

EIN

03-6003791

Applicatant / Organizational Description

The purpose of the Economic Development Commission (EDC) is to plan and implement sustainable economic development in Woodstock, to:
- Increase the number of visitors who are most likely to develop connections to the area and contribute to the economy
- Grow and diversify the resident population to enrich the community and the quality of life.
​To plan & implement sustainable economic development in Woodstock, we undertake the following activities:
1. Encouraging and helping existing and new businesses prosper, creating more job opportunities, becoming more environmentally conscious,
2. Making this a livable and welcoming community for a diverse, multi-generational population,
3. Promoting a welcoming, sustainable Woodstock area,
4. Improving and making the best use of land, buildings and other physical infrastructure, and
5.Developing tools to promote a sustainable economy.

If you are applying on behalf of an organization, what is your total organizational budget?

$300,000

Project Information

Detailed Project Description

The Housing Advisor will provide the following services to the Woodstock community:

1. Manage the ADU Support Program
- Work with the EDC Housing Working Group to define the program details like eligibility criteria and the legal documents
- Complete the research begun by the EDC Housing Working Group to identify all regulations at the Federal, State and Local level that pertain to the construction and operation of Accessory Dwelling Units
- Develop an ADU Handbook and website that will guide property owners in exploring and executing ADU construction
- Develop tools ...forms, spreadsheets, checklists, etc ...that can help guide property owners through the process
- Create a database of local contractors and other professionals with expertise to assist property owners in developing ADUs
- Provide in-person expert assistance to property owners during the exploratory, feasibility, permitting or operating stages
- Communicate the most important information to the community through public meetings, online postings, newspaper articles, etc
- Solicit feedback from the community from time to time to gauge progress and identify the best ways to provide support
- Evaluate the program and its impact and make recommendations on whether, and if so how, to extend the program beyond one year

2. Support the ADU Workforce Rental Pilot Program
- Work with the EDC Housing Working Group to define the program details like eligibility criteria and the legal documents needed
- Publicize the program
- Meet with prospective applicants to explain the requirements of the program and ensure the property owner understands their obligations
- Process and approve applications and work with Woodstock Town Finance staff to maintain accounting of funds disbursed
- From time to time, report publicly on progress
- Evaluate the program and its impact and make recommendations on whether, and if so how, to extend the program beyond one year

3. Support the Rental Incentive Pilot Program
- Work with the EDC Housing Working Group to define the program details like eligibility criteria and the legal documents needed
- Publicize the program
- Meet with prospective applicants to explain the requirements of the program and ensure the property owner understands their obligations
- Process and approve applications and work with Woodstock Town Finance staff to maintain accounting of funds disbursed
- From time to time, report publicly on progress
- Evaluate the program and its impact and make recommendations on whether, and if so how, to extend the program beyond one year

4. Support the Homeshare Program
- Support the Thompson Center effort as needed e.g., publicity

This position would be a contract role, reporting to the EDC. Expected hours per week may vary, with 10 expected on average.

Project Timeline

Phase 1: Hiring the Advisor (April - June, 2022) - Detailed job description, job postings, interviews, selection

Phase 2: Research and Preparation, Soft Launch (July - September, 2022) - complete the research, develop tools, develop Handbook, begin community outreach, conduct and compile more detailed survey results

Phase 3: Full Launch (October, 2022 - June, 2023 ) - Provide services to the community as described above

This timetable could be speeded up if we found the right person earlier

Project Champion

The EDC Housing Working Group is the Project Champion.
A group of volunteers including: Greg Olmstead; Jill Davies; Jon Spector; Sally Miller; Sarah Stadler and Deborah Greene; and the Planning and Zoning administrator, Neal Leitner; have worked diligently the past 8 months to research what programs have been successful in other communities and to create support for interested property owners.
The team’s motivation is a desire to create more housing units in Woodstock so people who work in Woodstock can live in Woodstock.

 

Project Budget Narrative

1. Contractor compensation (up to $40/hour depending on qualifications, up to 500 hours for the year), for a maximum of $20,000

2. Program expenses (publishing printed materials, website development, software tools, other administrative requirements if any) up to a maximum of $5,000

Project Budget - Itemized

Income Category

Total

Applicant

EDC

Other

In-Kind

Grant Funds

$25,000

$25,000

Expense Category

Total

Applicant

EDC

Other

In-Kind

Contractor Compensation

$20,000

$20,000

Program Expenses

$5,000

$5,000

What will success look like?

The EDC Housing Working Group’s objective is to expand housing supply for the local workforce to grow our local economy.

The goal of having a Housing Advisor is to have expertise available that can focus attention on the four housing initiatives every week and achieve these important results faster than a team of volunteers can.

The four initiatives are
- The ADU Support Program
- The ADU Workforce Rental Pilot Program
- The Rental Incentive Pilot Program
- The Homeshare Program (led by The Thompson Center)

Success will be measured in the first year by
- The number of property owners who are seriously engaged in ADU construction (e.g. have committed funds to the process)
- The number of property owners who have taken up the grants of the ADU Workforce Rental Pilot Program and committed to the eligibility criteria
- The number of short-term rental units converted to long-term units
- The number of housing units created by the Homeshare program

Community support for this project

The EDC Housing Working Group conducted a survey and held two work sessions for property owners interested in creating an ADU. 27 people attended the two work sessions. Most attendees are interested in creating an ADU. The majority of attendees are in the exploratory phase and are interested in assistance with the exploratory and feasibility stages and then navigating their way through the permitting process.

The program copies successful programs run by the Mad River Housing Coalition and by Montpelier City among many others.

Community support for this project

The program will only use EDC funding and will not expand beyond the funds granted. Future funding will be requested from the EDC if the program is successful.

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