Beyond the clear benefits to its low- and moderate-income residents into the properties, WWHT’s housing development activities have also had a far-reaching impact on the overall well-being of the region.
WWHT’s housing work has resulted in the infusion of nearly $60 million dollars in state and federal funding into the regional economy, contributing to overall community stability and economic health. Especially important in times of recession, the local purchase of materials and supplies related to housing construction has a positive ripple effect, generating additional income and jobs in the local economy.
Leaders of business and industry also understand the critical importance affordable housing plays in attracting and retaining employees. Ninety percent of 108 Vermont employers surveyed by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency in 2005 said the lack of available affordable housing is a problem for their employees, and 81% said it is a problem for their companies. By providing affordable housing to local workers, WWHT helps maintain a diverse pool of employees and supports a healthy economy.
In addition, WWHT’s work has clearly served as a significant catalyst for neighborhood improvements and other reinvestment activities, which have collectively restored neighborhood appearance and pride. This has been particularly true in the Clark and Canal Street and Spring/Elliot Street neighborhoods of Brattleboro, where WWHT has concentrated its revitalization efforts. Property owners, business owners, local officials, and renters all talk about how improved the neighborhoods are, and how the improvements have enhanced the quality of life for the whole Brattleboro community. The same is happening in other communities throughout our region as WWHT expands its housing development work to rural areas.
In addition, the restoration of historic properties maintains the fabric of Vermont neighborhoods and improves the overall appearance of towns and villages. The availability of affordable housing ensures that one of life’s necessities—a place to call home—stays within the reach of all the citizens of our community.