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City of Winooski News Updates

Posted on: June 9, 2021

Housing Liaison Update June 2021

Housing Liaison

By Councilor Jim Duncan

I serve as the City Council Liaison to the Housing Commission, which is charged with helping the City Council and staff "ensure a mix of quality housing that maintains and enhances Winooski’s unique sense of place and supports the needs of the entire community".

The Housing Commission met on May 24th, focusing on what policy priorities the City could consider for housing in the coming year to support its Master Plan. You can view the Housing section of Winooski's Master Plan here

The topics that will be forwarded to City Council by the Commission are:

  • Identifying potential funding streams for the Housing Trust Fund
  • Evaluating housing quality in Winooski
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the Housing Trust Fund and areas for policy changes to adjust the program if gaps emerge
  • Consider reinitiating conversation about replacement ordinance
  • Improving renter protections and empowerment in Winooski by looking into: 
    • Requiring that rental deposits are held in interest-bearing accounts
    • exploring placing limits on the maximum that can be charged for a rental security deposit
    • considering establishing a Housing Board (potentially similar to Burlington’s) to address renter issues
    • evaluate the Just Cause Eviction Policy in the City of Burlington for consideration as a tool in Winooski

The City Council holds its annual policies and priorities strategy session at the end of June, where the Council and City staff talk about what the shared work for the year ahead should be. These Housing Commission recommendations will help the Council identify strategies to move the housing work forward in the City. On top of these policy priorities, the latest round of federal and state funds for economic recovery includes substantial resources for housing. The Commission members discussed ways that the City can best connect residents with resources, ensure the roll-out of these funds meets the needs of Winooski, and go after funds for furthering housing goals in the City.

In addition to these policy priorities, the Commission reviewed a memo that will be sent to the Planning Commission on parking and the creation of affordable and/or 3+ bedroom units in the City, following on discussions from the prior month and work last year. The goal of this approach is to find ways to leverage parking to achieve Winooski’s housing goals. A revised recommendation will be sent to the Planning Commission in the coming month, but you can read the draft version the Commission reviewed here.

Finally, are you interested in working on housing policy issues in the City? The Housing Commission is seeking dedicated and engaged residents to serve with us - interested applicants can learn more about the Commission and apply at Applications from members of underrepresented groups in our community are strongly encouraged! The Housing Commission meets on the 4th Monday each month and meetings are open to the public. The next meeting will take place on June 28th at 6 PM.

Please get in touch if you have any input or questions on the work of the Commission – Jim Duncan,

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