Affordable housing report proposes consolidating agencies to save $450,000

first_img-30- A new report on Vermont’s non-profit affordable housing providers says the state should consider consolidating them and introducing performance measures to increase efficiency and accountability. The report, which was commissioned as a result of the ‘Tiger Team’ efforts by the Douglas administration to find efficiencies and savings in state government, recommends combining the Vermont State Housing Agency; the Vermont Housing Finance Agency; and the affordable housing programs of the Vermont Housing Conservation Board and the Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development into one agency.Noting that the non-profit agencies duplicate many functions and each has their own board of directors, offices, and staff, the report estimates conservatively that the annual savings of consolidation would be $450,000, which could be used to build more affordable housing.The report stated:”The dollars at stake are significant: from 2008 to 2010, Vermont invested nearly $211million in building and maintaining affordable housing ‘ almost all of which was eitherstate funds or federal funds that the state manages.The need is great: an additional 13,000 units of affordable housing will be neededbetween 2009 and 2014, according to the 2010 Vermont Housing Needs Assessment.How Vermont chooses to provide affordable housing can make a difference.”The report ‘ prepared by the Weidner Group, a firm specializing in finding efficiencies in government ‘ recommends combining the three non-profit quasi-governmental entities as well as the state’s affordable housing program into one agency, and setting specific goals and performance standards to be met.The $450,000 savings noted would come from eliminating staff:”The consolidation of organizations and programs provides clear opportunities to eliminate redundancy and redirect resources to supportaffordable housing. A review of the Program Assessments, staff rosters, and staff roles provides the following conservative estimates for annual salary savings in Administration positions, using low salary ranges for positions:”‘All of state government has taken steps to increase efficiency and move towards performance-based measures and contracts with our partners,’ said Kevin Dorn, Secretary of Commerce and Community Development. ‘Given the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on affordable housing, and the revenue shortfalls the state is facing, Vermonters expect and deserve wise stewardship of their money, and clear indicators of whether they’re getting what they pay for.’‘In addition, there is the savings in both money and time that would result from developers not being required to apply to each board for financing approval, which is what happens now,’ Dorn said. ‘This is a common-sense recommendation that warrants strong consideration.’Consolidating the functions of the non-profits would also increase accountability for achieving results, Dorn said, which is currently difficult because each has only a partial role in many projects.The Summary Recommendations in the report states, in part:”One Consolidated Affordable Housing Agency for the State of Vermont should beestablished. The programs of the Vermont State Housing Agency and the VermontHousing Finance Administration, along with the affordable housing-focused programs ofthe Vermont Housing Conservation Board and the Department of Economic, Housingand Community Development should be consolidated into one Affordable HousingAgency for the State of Vermont.Program performance should be clearly aligned to Priorities and Results. Programsshould measure their performance in ways that demonstrate their contribution to theaccomplishment of Priorities and Results.Select programs should be consolidated. Opportunities for consolidation of programsinclude:â ¢ The present Multifamily Housing programs in VHCB and VHFA should becombined into one program.â ¢ The Single Family Program in VHCB and the Single Family Mortgage Financeprogram in VHFA should be combined into one program.â ¢ The Neighborhood Stabilization Program in DEHCD and the NeighborhoodStabilization: Home Acquisition and Rehabilitation Program in VHFA should becombined into one program.Most programs should remain intact. The remaining affordable housing programsshould be brought into a consolidated agency intact. They provide separate outcomes anddo not appear to be duplicative.Conservation programs should not be included in the consolidated affordablehousing agency. The conservation-focused programs in VHCB should not be included ina consolidated affordable housing organization as they focus on distinctly differentcustomers and goals, objectives and results for customers.”The report has been sent to the governor’s office for consideration.To view the report please visit: http://www.dhca.state.vt.us/10-13_Housing_Report_FINAL.pdf(link is external)Source: Agency of Commerce and Community Development. 10.26.2010last_img read more

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