New toolkit will be developed for small-scale home builders, investors & community leaders to help increase affordable housing supply and train a new generation to build the housing Vermont needs.
Barre, Vt. – The Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) kicked off a new initiative today, “Homes for All: A ‘Design & Do’ Toolkit for Small-scale Home Builders, Investors & Community Leaders.” The Homes for All (H4A) Toolkit, which is under development and will be released in December 2023, will provide prospective and emerging small-scale developers, policymakers, and municipal and community leaders the tools and support they need to strengthen Vermont communities with diverse and affordable housing choices.
The Vermont Homes for All Toolkit is designed to re-introduce Missing Middle Homes (MMH) to the state. MMH are rooted in Vermont’s pre-1945 development pattern and include a range of neighborhood-scale residential building types like accessory dwelling units (ADUs), duplexes, small-scale multi-household buildings, and small mixed-use/live-work buildings that can accommodate residents of different ages, abilities, lifestyles and stages of life. In many communities, zoning restrictions have made these types of homes illegal or difficult to build. As Vermont cities and towns are working to update their zoning to legalize these homes and address the housing and affordability crisis, the H4A Toolkit will help educate and support Vermonters that are working to bring H4A to their community
“There is a critical need for better options and more affordable homes,” said DHCD Commissioner Josh Hanford. “Meeting that need requires changing the ways homes are built in Vermont, especially the location and types of homes. This project aims help local builders overcome the regulatory and financial barriers that have made the gentle infill of neighborhoods infeasible.”
The H4A project will have a strong focus on community engagement, including underrepresented and nontraditional players within communities. The project, which is being led by Boston-based consultants Utile Architecture & Planning with the support of Neighborhood Workshop and local firm CommonLand Solutions, will produce a Missing Middle Homes Design Guide, a series of Vermont Neighborhood Infill Design Case Studies, a Builders’ Workbook, and Training Resources. The contract, which totals $140,000, was funded by Act 185 of the 2022 Legislative Session, with additional support by AARP Vermont. Upon completion, the toolkit will be widely distributed to stakeholders including state and local partners, housing leaders, and emerging small-scale developers across Vermont.
State Representative Seth Bongartz who served on the House Committee on Environment & Energy said, “Missing Middle Homes easily fit into existing communities that are often within walking distance to shops, schools, parks, and transit. Building these homes will help Vermont become more affordable, welcoming, and sustainable.”
For more information about this special initiative to increase the supply of diverse and affordable housing, grow a new generation of small developers, and empower MMH champions, visit: https://accd.vermont.gov/homesforall
Photo: Officials from DHCD, AARP Vermont, and Utile Architecture and Planning gather in Barre, Vermont to launch ‘Homes for All’ Toolkit Project.