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Area communities set to receive housing funds

RUTLAND - Gov. Jim Douglas has announced the awarding of more than $1.6 million in community development grants to five communities that will help low-income Vermonters lower their energy costs, rehabilitate existing housing, and lay the groundwork for future job creation.

"By helping Vermonters stay in their homes, we prevent homelessness and the costs associated with it," Douglas said. "These costs are not only monetary, but human. And we can relieve some of the pressure on homeless shelters and other service providers, which are already feeling the strain."

A grant of $750,000 will go to the Town of West Rutland and be passed through to NeighborWorks of Western Vermont to provide the same services in Rutland, Bennington, and Addison Counties.

"NeighborWorks has a terrific track record of helping needy Vermonters in this area get and keep housing," Douglas said. "We are pleased to partner with them in this important work."

In addition, the City of Rutland will receive an $18,000 planning grant to help develop a Vermont Innovation Kitchen in the Rutland area that would provide incubator space for small, start-up food companies. Vermont Innovation Kitchens will provide space for entrepreneurs who don't yet have the capital to fit-up or construct their own facility. These grants can be for up to $750,000.

In addition to commercial kitchen space, clients would be able to access technical expertise and learn everything from food safety to food inspection as well as traditional business practices.

The Town of Killington will receive a $25,000 grant to conduct a preliminary feasibility study of the development of an events center there.

"Killington's new Economic Development Director, Carl Spangler, has been heavily involved in this exciting proposal to create jobs by developing a world-class performance event center," Douglas said. "We are pleased to support this effort."

He also praised the dedication of the staff at the Department of Housing and Community Affairs who work in the Vermont Community Development Program.

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