Housing is a basic part of the fabric of our community. The Community & Economic Development Office provides housing support to residents and landlords in a number of ways: through grants, loans, and assistance for buying homes, building affordable housing, doing home improvement and accessibility projects, and improving apartment buildings. We have a program working to make housing safe for our children by reducing lead paint hazards, a major health risk to children under 6. And finally, we provide support to the City’s homeless shelters for those times when there’s no place else to go. The City recognizes that the free market for housing is often not a fair market for low and moderate income residents. Left unchecked, market forces will allow housing to deteriorate, push people from their homes and leave others with no homes at all. The City has enacted a variety of housing ordinances to provide a counterbalance (such as inclusionary zoning and housing replacement, and supports community-based nonprofit housing developers in developing affordable rental housing and housing for the most vulnerable City residents. The City has been very successful in removing regulatory barriers to affordable housing. (See the Questionnaire for HUD's Initiative on Removal of Regulatory Barriers .)
Housing is the essence of Burlington's neighborhoods. Support for affordable housing allows elders to remain in the homes and neighborhoods they know. Homebuyer purchase and rehabilitation programs allow the next generation of residents to own and modernize older homes. Affordable housing is a balance to economic development, ensuring that workers can find housing and that rising prices don't displace residents. And, affordable housing development is a tool in redeveloping distressed neighborhoods, preventing loss of value in surrounding properties.