$8.95 million loan fund aims to spur affordable housing in Upper Valley

Evernorth, a nonprofit housing organization that serves the three northern New England states, has launched an $8.95 million program to fund development of workforce housing in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont.

The fund, backed financially by eight Upper Valley employers, will work with developers and housing organizations with the goal of as many as 260 affordable apartments over the next two or three years. Of the new units, 243, or 94 percent, will be affordable to people earning between $13 and $25 per hour, the organization said, with rents ranging from $1,200 to $1,600 per month. The current market rate for apartments in New Hampshire’s Grafton County and Vermont’s Windsor County ranges from $1,500 to $2,200 per month.

“By leveraging these employer dollars, we will be able to create considerable savings for the workforce as compared to what the market is producing,” said Deb Flannery, vice president of lending at Evernorth.

Construction of the units is a necessity, she said, because many employees and would-be employees have been priced out of the market. “The bottom line is that the workforce cannot find an affordable place to live in the Upper Valley.”

The eight employers in the fund include Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, Citizens Bank, Dartmouth College, Dartmouth Health, Hanover Co-op Food Stores, Hypertherm, King Arthur Baking and Mascoma Bank.

“Without workers who have a place to live, the economy as we know it will cease to function effectively,” said Clayton Adams, president and CEO at Mascoma Bank. “I’m very grateful to Evernorth for being such a strong partner in this effort. Their expertise will help employer capital make a difference in addressing our region’s housing crisis.”

During its existence, Evernorth and its predecessor organizations have raised and deployed over $1 billion in equity capital for affordable housing and built more than 15,000 affordable homes and apartments for low and moderate income people across northern New England.

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