2018 Housing Study & Needs Assessment:

Lamoille County & Hardwick

Do you understand affordable housing in your community? What signs indicate need? What factors determine project development? Affordable housing is a nuanced issue that requires consideration of many aspects to give scope to it.

In 2018, LHP, the Lamoille County Planning Commission and Stowe Land Trust partnered with Doug Kennedy Advisors to survey our service area to produce a report that illustrates the overall need in Lamoille County & Hardwick, assessing the aspects below:

  • The economy - major regional trends

  • Characteristics of supply - housing stock

  • Financial characteristics - housing

  • Housing - market trends

  • Demographics - household characteristics & demand

  • Perspectives on supply & demand - key study area towns and employers

  • Analysis - demand & supply

  • Finds & recommendations

Housing Needs Summit | Recap

On January 29th, Lamoille Housing Partnership (LHP,) Lamoille County Planning Commission (LCPC,) and Stowe Land Trust (SLT) hosted the Housing Needs Summit that featured a data report of the Lamoille Valley’s housing landscape, and a panelist discussion that identified opportunities and challenges to address the region’s housing needs.

“This is such a complicated issue that will not be solved without engaging the whole community. LHP, LCPC, and SLT wanted to come away from the Summit with some ideas to address the pressing issues around the lack of good housing in the area, such as homelessness, the growing gap between household incomes and increasing rental costs, and the cost of new home construction. Having a panel of diverse leaders from across the community was a great way to spark conversations among participants.”
— Jim Lovinsky, Lamoille Housing Partnership Executive Director

Lamoille County & Hardwick: Housing Data

A comprehensive data presentation by Doug Kennedy Advisors showed that the study area, Lamoille County and Hardwick, have a shortage of housing. Kennedy authored the “Lamoille Housing Study & Needs Assessment” report published for LHP, LCPC and SLT in 2018.

Several key variables that were pinpointed illustrate the study area’s housing crunch:

  • Housing stock

  • Housing availability

  • Vacancy rates

  • Incomes and wages

The nuances of the data give scope to some deeper factors that influence and affect the study area’s housing landscape, such as the discrepancy between housing need and availability, the area’s ratio of housing stock and type as it relates to demographics and incomes, income inequality between communities, area demographics that reflect the housing stock needed, as well as projections for the future based on current study data.  Significant additional factors include the study area’s population growth, demand for market-rate rentals that show profitability-potential in new development, and increasing demand for senior housing across all income brackets.

Panel Discussion: Housing Opportunities & Challenges

A robust panelist discussion followed Kennedy’s data presentation, comprised of nine professionals within business, education, healthcare, real estate, development, human service and affordable housing development sectors, as well as representatives from municipalities and State government.

Panelists, L to R: Tom Jackman, Will Eberle, McKee Macdonald, Martin Hahn, Mark Frier, Jen Hulse, Heidi Scheuermann. Not pictured: Graham Mink, Ceili Quigley.

Panelists, L to R: Tom Jackman, Will Eberle, McKee Macdonald, Martin Hahn, Mark Frier, Jen Hulse, Heidi Scheuermann. Not pictured: Graham Mink, Ceili Quigley.

Panelists included:   

  • Ceili Quigley, MSW | Community Health Team Social Worker, Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley (Stowe Family Practice)

  • Graham Mink | Green Mountain Management

  • Heidi Scheuermann | Vermont State Representative, Lamoille -1

  • Jen Hulse | Director of Student Support Services, Lamoille North Supervisory Union

  • Mark Frier | Co-owner, The Bench, Tres Amigos, and The Reservoir restaurants

  • Martin Hahn | Housing Director, Vermont Housing & Conservation Board

  • McKee Macdonald | 2018 President Lamoille Area Board of Realtors, Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate

  • Tom Jackman | Director of Planning, Town of Stowe

  • Will Eberle | Field Director, Vermont Agency of Human Services

Housing Needs Summit opportunities.JPG

Top 4 Opportunities

  • Strong partnerships between public and private entities

  • Community-based investments in programs to prevent evictions and homelessness

  • Increased funding of federal and state subsidies to make housing price points affordable

  • Renter-centric support systems to connect housing insecure residents with resources to achieve housing affordability

Housing Needs Summit challenges.JPG

Top 4 Challenges Many challenges mentioned were directly connected to windows for opportunity; however, additional housing challenges that were identified…

  • Exclusionary zoning practices that eliminate housing development for specific populations

  • Out of sync federal housing and economic policies

  • Low availability of subsidies and development tax credits

  • Continuously rising development costs

Watch the Housing Needs Summit

Next Steps: Housing Solutions Summit

In the spring, LHP, LCPC, and SLT will follow up with a Housing Solutions Summit to reconvene attendees and panelists with the goal of working collaboratively to find actionable solutions and opportunities to the challenges of housing development identified at the Housing Needs Summit. Details to follow.

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