ALERT!  HOMEBUYER APPLICANT FAMILIES NEEDED!

 
Bennington County Habitat for Humanity is searching for a family for a home that is being built in Bennington this year, 2017!
 
Families whose income is between 30% and 70% of the area median income are encouraged to call our Habitat office at 802-367-1000 to find out about the homeownership program.
 
Applicants must be in need of better housing, be able to pay a monthly payment for mortgage and escrow, and be willing to partner with Bennington County Habitat through our homeownership program.
 
Habitat builds homes with people who might not qualify for a conventional mortgage and cannot afford a typical home in this area.  Since the Habitat home is built by volunteers and is sold at cost, the mortgage payment on the home is usually less than what a family is paying in rent. A Habitat home provides quality housing at an affordable price.
 
Call 802-367-1000 for more information.  AND Click here if you want to Apply for a Home

Housing Assistance

“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” John Wooden

The need for "affordable housing" in Vermont presents a complex challenge. Fortunately, for Vermont residents, there are many organizations, including Habitat, that provide considerable assistance to people in need of help with housing related concerns. We put together this page of our web site with the goal of increasing awareness about sources of assistance.   We can only help one family at a time.  We hope the information included on this page will help all families in need of help with their housing and budget.

 

Practical advice on Budget and Financial Fitness


Practical Budget and Finance Information - Click for an online calculator

Is It Better to Buy or Rent?
Whether renting is better than buying depends on many factors, including how fast prices rise and how long you will stay in your home. Compare the costs of buying and renting equivalent homes.  Click to work with an interactive calculator that was developed by the New York Times.

Recipies for Financial Fitness - Want to get a better control on your finances? Check out Habitat’s interactive financial toolkit that provides ongoing financial education and resources to Habitat homeowners and the general public. The toolkit includes several helpful topics, such as controlling finances, credit basics, finding a better-paying job and getting an education.  Click to download a budget worksheet.

Another computer program can help you track your current expenses.  This program is easier to use than Excel.  PearBudget has done all the hard work for you. This spreadsheet will help you stay on track. It will walk you through setting and managing a budget. And you'll just need to give it 10 minutes each week. The spreadsheet comes pre-formatted. It has places for calculating your income and expenses. And all the necessary equations are built-in. Just fill in the numbers and you're good to go.  Click to download Pear Budget - a free program.

Practical Money Skills - This is a tremendously helpful website.  It is completely free and has information about all aspects of managing income and expenses.  It even has excellent information for young adults.  It has calculators, videos and links to a wealth of information.  Anyone who is looking for some practical help would do well to take advantage of the helpful information that this website provides.  

Yet another program is free.  GnuCash is personal and small-business financial-accounting software, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows.   It is designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible, GnuCash allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. As quick and intuitive to use as a checkbook register, it is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.  Click to learn more and to download.

Another program is also free and can help families to create a budget.  Download it from https://sites.google.com/site/dsbudgethome/.  dsBudget is a simple, open source budgeting program for everyone.  With dsBudget, you can save money by understanding where you spend your money.  You will begin by allocating your income into "categories", such as Mortgage, Entertainment, etc.  As you spend money throughout the month, you will enter the expenses into each category. dsBudget will then let you see how much money you have left in each category and how you are spending it.  You can save money and regain control of your expenses by understanding your spending habits and making smarter purchasing decisions.

Digital Budgets for Everyone - Click to read an article from Kipplinger Personal Finance - October 2012 issue that discusses various websites that help families make financial decisions.  Some of the websites are free.

Living Within Your Means - This is a great article that offers practical suggestions for establishing a family budget and sticking with it.  It won't make anyone rich, but it will surely help.  It is worth reading.  Click to read.

Savings Calculator - Click here to go to a savings calculator that is provided by the New York Times.  See how much you can save if you saved 1% of your income a year.

Home Maintenance - Taking good care of our homes is essential, especially in a cold climate like Vermont.  We have included some links to help.  Click to download a home maintenance guide.  Click to connect to a website that offers practical how to information about how to make common home repairs.  We do not endorse the information, but offer the link to stimulate thought and action to help homeowner's make good decisions.

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How Your Credit Scores can Help or Hurt You - In a data-driven world, your credit record is your reputation, and false information can have deep repercussions. Bad credit can stop a loan cold. A landlord can refuse you a lease. An insurer can raise your premium. A prospective employer can turn you away.
Given how much your credit report can affect your day-to-day life, a recent Consumer Reports nationally representative survey offers some disturbing news regarding Americans’ attitudes toward these records. Only 53 percent of the 3,000 respondents said they had ever received their credit reports from one or more of the “Big Three” credit-reporting agencies or credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Also alarming: Of those who did check their reports, 20 percent found errors that could negatively affect their scores, including non-collectible old debt that was still listed, incorrect account information (payment history or credit limit, for example), accounts that weren’t theirs, and information about the wrong people. A 2013 Federal Trade Commission study of credit reports had similar findings. In it, 13 percent of 1,001 participants had errors, and 5 percent of the participants had errors serious enough to put them in a lower credit tier, which means they could be denied favorable interest rates and other opportunities.
 
 

Other Vermont organizations that provide housing assistance.

Bennington -Rutland Opportunity Council, Inc. (BROC)
-Money Debt Management
-Mortgage Delinquency and Default Resolution Counseling
-Post purchase Counseling
-Renters Assistance
-Services for Homeless

Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS)
Shelter and services for the homeless in Vermont
800-327-6778
-Home Buyer Education Programs
-Loss Mitigation
-Money Debt Management
-Mortgage Delinquency and Default Resolution Counseling
-Pre-purchase Counseling
-Renters Assistance

CCCS of New Hampshire & Vermont Rutland County Land Trust
802-775-3139
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
128 Merchants Row, Rutland, VT
-Pre-purchase Counseling

National Council of State Housing Agencies
With links to other housing agencies around the country

NeighborWorks® Home Ownership Centers of Vermont
A statewide organization dedicated to expanding home ownership opportunities for Vermonters
-Home Improvement and Rehabilitation Counseling
-Home Buyer Education
Marketing and Outreach Initiatives
-Money Debt Management
-Mortgage Delinquency and Default Resolution Counseling
-Post-purchase Counseling
-Predatory Lending
-Pre-purchase Counseling
-Renters Assistance
-Services for Homeless

New England Resident Service Coordinators Inc. (NERSC)
Expanding and enhancing the profession of resident service coordination throughout New England

Safe at Home
Address confidentiality program within the Secretary of State's office that assists victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking who have relocated to keep their perpetrators from finding them.

U.S. Department of Agriculture/Rural Development
Helps households, communities, nonprofit agencies and small businesses in rural Vermont with financing and other forms of assistance

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Increasing homeownership, supporting community development and increasing access to affordable housing free from discrimination

Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition
Committed to ensuring all Vermont residents have decent, safe and affordable housing

Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness
Online home of the Continuums of Care and the Statewide Inter agency Council on Homelessness.

Vermont Community Loan Fund
A source for small business, community facility, and affordable housing financing for Vermonters

Vermont Department of Housing & Community Affairs
Dealing with Vermont's land use planning, historic preservation, community development and housing programs

Vermont Homeownership Initiative
A collaborative effort of the Home Ownership Centers in Vermont to help 1,000 low- and moderate-income families become homeowners

Vermont Housing Awareness Campaign
Working to address Vermont's housing shortage by promoting planning and development of housing for all Vermonters.

Vermont Housing and Conservation Board
Provides grants, loans and technical assistance for the development of perpetually affordable housing and for the conservation of land and properties

Vermont Housing Data
A central, search-able repository of Vermont housing data. Includes the Directory of Affordable Rental Housing (DoARH).

Vermont Housing Financing Agency
VHFA's mission is to finance and promote affordable, safe and decent housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermont residents. Please click on VHFA to learn more. There is a lot of information about ways to rent or to purchase work force housing. In addition, VHFA has put together most of the links on this page to information that is an invaluable resource about help for housing in Vermont.

Vermont Law Help
Vermont's free legal help Web site presented by Legal Services Law Line of Vermont and Vermont Legal Aid

Vermont Resident Service Coordinators
Provides educational and peer support to resident service coordinators in Vermont.

Vermont State Housing Authority
A provider and administrator of affordable housing programs

Vermont Tenants Inc.
A program of the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity Inc.

* = Sites developed by VHFA

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Electric Usage Chart

This chart tells how much energy is used for each appliance in a typical four-person household.  Many people do not realize how much money would be saved by upgrading appliances or simply using a power strip to turn off an appliance, such as a T.V. or a stereo when they are not in use.  Such appliances are always drawing power if plugged in so that they turn on quickly.  By using this chart, every household can save money.  Click to dowload.

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Recent Publications

"Between a Rock and a Hard Place," revised in June 2011, underscores that the challenge for Vermont is greater than ever. Click on the link to read more. This is essential reading for anyone concerned about affordable housing in our area

Public Policy Briefs - Recent studies have shown that the potential benefits of homeownership include increased household wealth, improved physical and mental health, better cognitive achievement in children, and residents more active in the community. In light of this growing evidence, Habitat for Humanity examines local and national policies to determine how they can be enhanced or changed to provide increased access to affordable housing, and thus improve the lives of low-income people in the United States and around the world.

Below is a list of public policy briefs and resources. If you would like more information about Habitat's public policy work, please contact Susan Corts Hill at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Public Policy Briefs:
Home ownership Development Tax Credit
Federal Regulation of Government Sponsored Enterprises
Affordable Housing Trust Fund
Appropriations: Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Property Rights for Women
Reform of U.S. Domestic Disaster Recovery Policy
Predatory Lending

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Is It Better to Buy or Rent?

Whether renting is better than buying depends on many factors, including how fast prices rise and how long you will stay in your home. Compare the costs of buying and renting equivalent homes.

 See GNAT interview - learn about owning a Habitat home

Homeowner partners, Randy, Michelle, Aiden, and Gracie Lewis were interviewed by GNAT for a Public Service Announcement to encourage people in need of affordable housing to contact Habitat at 802-367-1000 for more information.

 
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Homeowner, Ruth Banghart and her son, Gabe, also were taped by GNAT as a public service to encourage families in need of safe, sufficient, and affordable housing to contact Habitat at 802-367-1000 to learn if they qualify.

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