It can be frustrating to care so deeply about issues that you feel you have no control over. For example, sometimes it may feel as though your tax dollars never make it to the projects you feel are important, or legislation that can support improvements to social justice efforts in Vermont is slow to pass. As part of the Downstreet community, we know you believe in the great potential of leveraging housing as a delivery system for social justice and the positive impacts affordable housing has on our great little state. If this is true, we have an excellent opportunity for you.
This Thursday, January 30th is your chance to grab the attention of your representatives at the State House, during the Vermont Housing and Conservation Coalition’s Legislative Day. As a Vermonter, you have the power to influence your legislators in support of funding the initiatives you are passionate about, and Legislative Day is a prime time to do this. Year after year, we are told how appreciative Legislators are to receive input from their constituents, and we encourage everyone who can to stop by the State House this Thursday to take part in this tried and true approach to having your voice heard.
What is VHCC Legislative Day?
The Vermont Housing and Conservation Coalition (VHCC) Legislative Day is the day your elected officials listen to testimony about the tremendous impact that investments in affordable housing and conservation have on our Vermont people, land, and economy. Housing and conservation supporters gather at the State House on Legislative Day to champion the projects and values behind our work and to request full funding to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB), the body that distributes funds to affordable housing and conservation organizations throughout the state.
Why is VHCC Legislative Day important?
By statute, VHCB is to receive 50% of Vermont’s Property Transfer Tax revenue, an outcome that hasn’t occurred in decades. This year, VHCC is requsting that the full statutory amount of $22.4 million in funding be appropriated for VHCB. Full funding to VHCB would be significant, as they play an essential role in helping housing and conservation organizations statewide fight homelessness, improve water quality, create affordable housing, support downtown development, protect Vermont’s priceless landscape, and promote rural economic development—including working farms and the forest economy. WE NEED YOUR HELP to make the case for this funding!
How can you get involved?
Your Legislators need to hear from YOU—Vermonters doing the work on the ground and those in support of these efforts—about how VHCB-funded projects are helping to solve some of Vermont’s most pressing issues. Please join us at the Vermont State House on Thursday, January 30th to meet with your legislators, listen to testimony and discussions about these issues, and help us fill the State House rooms with Vermonters who support affordable housing and conservation projects so your representatives can see how important affordable housing and conservation is to their constituents.
VHCC Legislative Day Schedule
Depending on your availability throughout the day, there are plenty of opportunities to engage with your Legislators. Breakfast will take place between 7 am and 9 am in the State House cafeteria, a great opportunity to connect with your Legislators. The Vermont General Assembly website has a tool you can use to find who your Legislators are so that you know who to look for at the State House!
After breakfast, we need as many people as possible to join us in Room 11 at 9 am for the Welcome Session. This is one place where State leaders can see the volume and breadth of the impact of VHCB funding by seeing a packed room of people like you who care. We’ll be starting right at 9 am so get in early! If you don't register ahead of time walk-ins are welcome on the day! Come to the Cardroom (second floor, between the Cedar Creek Room and the Cafeteria) and meet us!
Throughout the rest of the day there will be several meetings where testimony will be heard throughout the building. You can see a full schedule of the day here. Don't forget to meet up with us in the cafeteria from 2 pm to 3pm for an ice cream social!
Can't make it?
It's never a bad time to contact your Legislators and let them know how you feel about the issues that matter to you. Whenever you have the time, find your representatives and let them know how important affordable housing and social justice in Vermont is to you!