BURLINGTON The Champlain Housing Trust announced on Monday that two Vermonters have been recognized by NeighborWorksR America for their leadership and commitment to expanding affordable housing. Polly Nichol, housing programs director at the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and Michael Monte, director of Burlington's Community and Economic Development Office, were among fifteen people recognized nationally by the NeighborWorks Government Service Awards. "Polly Nichol has been the backbone of building the capacity of housing nonprofits in this state. Her commitment to this hard work inspires us all," remarked Gus Seelig, executive director of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. "She's a great problem solver and calm consensus builder, and I am glad to see her get this recognition." Under Nichol 's leadership for almost 20 years, VHCB built or rehabilitated more than 8,000 perpetually affordable homes statewide. VHCB is a nationally acclaimed, innovative program that collects fees on property transfers and uses those resources to protect open space, conserve farms, preserve historic buildings and develop perpetually affordable housing. Monte has worked at Burlington's Community and Economic Development Office for over twenty years. "As CEDO director, Michael has inspired the development of over 1,200 homes and hundreds of rental apartments for low and moderate-income residents," said Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss. "Michael has provided vision, leadership and results in bringing more affordable housing to Burlington. The recognition of his work by NeighborWorksR America is truly deserved." "We are so fortunate to have allies like Polly and Michael who understand the need for everybody to have a decent home. Our communities are better off today because of their passion and 'can-do' attitudes," added Brenda Torpy, CEO of the Champlain Housing Trust. The Champlain Housing Trust, a chartered member of NeighborWorksR America, offers housing options for Vermonters living in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle Counties. Over 2,000 households live in Housing Trust apartments, cooperatives, condominiums and single family homes throughout the region. The organization was formed last year through a merger of the Burlington Community Land Trust and Lake Champlain Housing. NeighborWorksR America provides financial support, technical assistance and training for communities across the nation, including the NeighborWorksR network - a nationwide network of more than 240 community development organizations working in more than 4,400 urban, suburban and rural communities across America.