Immediate Action on Housing Required for Workforce Growth

The demand for housing continues to be met with opposition from community and environmental advocates that want to discourage development and are denying housing opportunities to others. Kevin Chu of the Vermont Futures Project, Evan Langfeldt of O’Brien Brothers and former Vermont Chamber board member, and WeiWei Wang of the Vermont Professionals of Color Network all provided expert testimony on the need for the creation of more housing to ensure more people of all backgrounds can live, and work, in Vermont. While many of the policy areas outlined by the Vermont Chamber are been addressed through proposals in the Omnibus Housing Bill, equity remains central to the Vermont Chamber’s work to help shape this legislation. 

Chu, of the Vermont Futures Project, testified that Vermont needs more people, and more people need Vermont. He detailed the immediate need for the creation of more housing to ensure population growth can keep up with workforce demands, and that for an economically secure, sustainable, and equitable future, Vermont needs more people of diverse backgrounds to be able to move here. Langfeldt testified on the underlying reasons for rising housing costs and the lack of inventory and proposed opportunities for solutions that meet demand while addressing climate goals. Wang, of the Vermont Professionals of Color Network, also testified in support of strategic investments to create statewide housing opportunities and the need to address the homeownership gap for the fast-growing, but historically marginalized, BIPOC community in Vermont. 

The Vermont Chamber is collecting stories of businesses that have lost employees or prospective employees because of housing. If you are an employer who has experienced this, please complete this brief survey.