Vermont Business Magazine Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) Wednesday announced that more than $38 million he requested on behalf of Vermont initiatives were included in the major government funding bill expected to pass Congress this week. Sanders’ initiatives will strengthen Vermont communities and meet Vermonters’ needs across a wide range of issues, from child care and sustainable energy, to health care, dental care, wastewater infrastructure, housing, education, and services for veterans’ and military personnel.
“Over the years, I have spoken with thousands of Vermonters, and heard their excellent ideas about how to best use federal funds to help our state,” Sanders said. “Through this congressional appropriations process, I had the privilege of working closely with Vermonters to secure funding that will help strengthen our communities. In these difficult times, this an important step in the right direction. These projects, in my view, will ensure the federal government is working for our people and our communities.”
Some of Sanders’ project requests include: a new child care center in Alburgh; increasing access to quality, affordable dental care across Vermont’s federally qualified health centers; expanding the Vermont Employee Ownership Center to enable more Vermont small businesses to transition to employee ownership; sustainable energy projects for Vermont schools and public buildings; and expanding Vermont’s highly-successful Support and Services at Home model to low-income families and individuals living in affordable housing.
Funding secured by Sanders will also establish the first-of-its-kind Vermont Center for Correctional Post-Secondary Education to provide a tuition-free community college education and career training at all six of Vermont’s correctional facilities for both incarcerated individuals and correctional officers. Sanders, along with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), also secured funding for the Vermont National Guard to build a new, state-of-the-art facility to serve Guard members and their families. This initiative builds upon funding originally secured by Sanders to establish the Vermont Veterans Outreach Program, which has become a model for assisting National Guard members and their families before, during, and following deployments and will allow these programs to operate in a safe, welcoming, family-friendly environment.
The government funding deal, made public today, awaits passage by the House and the Senate, and will then be sent to President Biden to be signed into law.
- For more details on some of Sanders’ approved FY2022 Congressionally Directed Spending requests, see below. For the full list, see here.
- For details on Sanders’ FY2023 Congressionally Directed Spending requests, including how to submit preliminary requests, see here. To apply, see here. The deadline to submit requests for FY2023 is Friday, April 8, 2022.
Sen. Sanders’ Approved FY2022 Congressionally Directed Spending Requests
For more details and some highlights, see below. For the full list, see here.
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
- Childcare and Early Education Expansion at the Alburgh Family Clubhouse: $189,000
The Alburgh Family Clubhouse will construct a 40 space (minimum) childcare center in rural Alburgh, VT, including ten slots for infant care, ten slots for toddler care, and 20 slots for care of pre-school children. This center will increase the number of full-time childcare slots in Alburgh, VT by 300 percent.
- Vermont Dairy Research and Education Program: $500,000
The project will support collaborative efforts to establish Land Care Learning to perform soil data analysis on 25 Vermont dairy farms, pastures, and ranches; expand agroforestry practices to 12 farms through the field consultancy program at Interlace Commons; and support New Perennials at Middlebury College in hosting educational outreach events for Vermonters on six area farms.
- Castleton Library Accessibility Improvement Project: $125,000
This accessibility modification project will install a full-size elevator to allow library users, guests, and staff to reach the main floor of the library from the lower floor without the need to traverse stairs. While the lower floor, which houses the children’s section, was made fully accessible to persons with disabilities fifteen years ago, access to the main floor, its services, and its collections has been severely restricted since the building first opened.
- Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care: $500,000
This project will expand telehealth services to under-served geographic regions, individuals, and health care providers, distributing 1,000 tablets and 350 wireless internet boosters to Vermonters in need across all 14 Vermont counties, including those who utilize FQHCs for their care, filling needs in both the health care and broadband space.
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
- Partnership for Educational Opportunities for Incarcerated Vermonters and Corrections Officers through the Community College of Vermont: $4,500,000
With this funding, the Community College of Vermont will partner with the Vermont Department of Corrections to establish the Vermont Center for Correctional Post-Secondary Education, which will provide a tuition-free community college education, as well as academic and career coaching, to both incarcerated individuals and corrections officers at all six of Vermont’s correctional facilities, including the state’s women’s prison. These funds will cover costs associated with staffing, tuition, textbooks, and technology support for more than 300 incarcerated students and 150 correctional officers. This initiative will allow Vermont to become one of the first states in the nation to provide higher education in every state correctional facility—a historic achievement in educational equity and criminal justice reform.
Energy and Water Development
- Sustainable Energy in Schools and Public Buildings: $1,000,000
The Vermont Department of Public Service will establish no fewer than 10 sustainable energy projects located at Vermont elementary, middle, and high schools, with an emphasis on schools with a high percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunch. The Vermont Department of Public Service will also develop, build, and administer 10 sustainable energy projects at state and municipal buildings, including but not limited to town halls and public libraries.
- Northeast Kingdom Neighborhood Clean Heat Deployment: $500,000 (request also submitted by Sen. Leahy)
With the requested funding, HEAT Squad, a service of NeighborWorks of Western Vermont, will do extensive outreach and education to expand clean heating options, such as heat pumps and advanced wood heat, in the Northeast Kingdom region of Vermont to reduce emissions, save people money, and keep energy dollars local. This project will help homeowners save up to $1,000 per year, reduce emissions, keep energy dollars local, and create more demand for local independent contractors – thus spurring on economic development.
- Expanding Solar Research and Generation for a Brighter Energy Future: $150,000
With the requested funding, the Burlington Electric Department, in partnership with the University of Vermont, will conduct the permitting, design, purchase of equipment, and construction of a solar array at its new location at Burlington Electric Department (BED), where it will serve students from the University of Vermont and Vermont Technical College (VTC).
- Salisbury Square Planned Community & Community Microgrid: $750,000 (request also submitted by Sen. Leahy)
The funding will create a microgrid to provide reliable, efficient, clean, locally generated, and low-cost source of energy for low- and moderate- income residents of a 36-unit affordable housing neighborhood. This is a model that can be replicated throughout the country.
Financial Services and General Government
- Vermont Employee Ownership Center: $158,000
This funding will allow the Vermont Employee Ownership Center (VEOC) to increase outreach activities by expanding the number of staff so more business owners are aware of employee ownership opportunities as they consider succession plans. Further, this funding will allow VEOC to provide assistance to companies in transition, including but not limited to initial valuations and assessments, as well as support for under-resourced employee groups interested in making the transition to employee-ownership.
- Documenting Nulhegan Abenaki Nation Culture: $350,000
This project will provide $350,000 to appoint a cultural preservation educator and coordinator to the Nulhegan Abenaki Nation. The project will allow new opportunities for members of the Nulhegan Abenaki Nation in Vermont to connect with their culture and heritage through artifacts and documentation of oral history.
- Assisting Military Retirees and Veterans with Farm Business Support: $100,000
With the requested funding, the Vermont Farmer Veteran Coalition will provide workshops and technical assistance to farmers throughout Vermont who are military retirees and veterans. This funding will further support these veteran farmers by helping them improve their farm business operations and market their farm products through the Homegrown by Heroes program.
- Windham Region Energy Resiliency Zones: $151,000
This project will develop resiliency zones that will prevent power outages and
infrastructure damage caused by frequent and intense storms by leveraging renewable generation, battery storage, and other innovations, while also helping at-risk Vermont communities recover more quickly in the event an outage does occur.
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
- Improving Wastewater Infrastructure for the Addison County Community Trust: $500,000
Addison County Community Trust (ACCT) is a well-established regional nonprofit housing developer, which owns and operates permanently affordable housing for low-income and vulnerable Vermonters, including seniors and people with disabilities. This funding will allow ACCT to redevelop its aging manufactured housing infrastructure in multiple communities, which were originally developed in the 1960s and are well past the end of their useful lifespan.
- Critical Manufactured Housing Infrastructure: Milton Mobile Home Cooperative: $841,000 (request also submitted by Sen. Leahy)
The Milton Mobile Home Cooperative (MMHC) is a nonprofit, limited equity, 100-unit manufactured housing community. The community was built in the late 1960s and was purchased by the residents in 2012. This low-income community is currently at 100 percent occupancy and seldom has vacancies. MMHC is a critical source of affordable homeownership in Chittenden County, which has one of the highest costs of living in the state. With the requested funding, MMHC will execute a long-planned water and sewer project, which is fully designed and permitted, with multiple additional funding commitments in place.
- Bethel Sand Hill Water and Stormwater Infrastructure Upgrade: $600,000
This funding will allow the Town of Bethel to upgrade its drinking water and remove lead from the water system. While undertaking this major infrastructure project, which will involve removing part of a road and repaving, the town will also improve stormwater problems by adding a new stormwater drain and eight new storm drain basins.
- Montgomery Wastewater Infrastructure Construction Project: $2,800,000
This funding will help the Town of Montgomery replace existing failing on-lot septic systems with basic public wastewater infrastructure in its village center, which will resolve significant environmental and public health risks and spur on community and economic development. Currently, 92 percent of systems in the service area are on small lots without suitable replacement options. These insufficient systems restrict downtown growth, suppress property values, and threaten nearby waterways. It is estimated that this infrastructure investment will create or retain over 100 jobs.
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
- Dental Care Initiative at Federally Qualified Health Centers: $3,237,000
This funding will increase access to quality, affordable dental care across Vermont by securing much-needed dental equipment and professionals for Federally Qualified Health Centers to provide care in schools and across the communities they serve. As part of this initiative, Sanders secured funds to enable Little Rivers Health Care to build a dental clinic in Wells River, VT to deliver critically needed oral health care to approximately 3,500 patients.
- SASH for All, Cathedral Square Request: $395,000
SASH (Support and Services at Home) is an award-winning, proven population health model to assist low-income older adults and adults with disabilities. The proposed demonstration project will expand the SASH model to low-income families and individuals living in affordable housing, in addition to older adults and those with disabilities. Participants in this program will receive access to preventative programs at their housing site; wellness nurse supports such as immunization clinics, asthma, smoking cessation, diabetes, and blood pressure supports; support with navigating resources from home; and more.
- North Country Supervisory Union Family Center: $458,000
North Country Supervisory Union, which spans more than 500 square miles, will establish a Family Center. The center will serve as a central hub for resources and coordinated services for 2,700 students and their families and offer tutoring, GED classes, parent education, and access to technology with the aim of boosting student, parent, and community engagement and social and economic well-being. It will serve as a model of community schooling in one of the most rural areas of the United States.
- Vermont Afterschool: $883,000
This funding will enable Vermont Afterschool to develop and implement youth-driven projects and increase safe, engaging out-of-school spaces for youth in five Vermont communities to advance youth agency, empowerment, and voice.
- Vermont Adult Learning: $1,000,000
This funding will be used by Vermont’s Adult Education and Literacy providers to train 145 low-income individuals for careers in weatherization, solar panel installation, heat pump installation, commercial driving, allied health, and early childhood education. This training will ensure Vermont has the workforce needed in these key economic sectors while enabling individual Vermonters to succeed in these good-paying jobs.
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
- Vermont National Guard Family Programs Facility at Camp Johnson: $4,665,000 (request also submitted by Sen. Leahy)
This construction project will enable the Vermont National Guard Family Programs to move from outdated, unsuitable pre-WWII barracks into a facility specifically designed for supporting Guard families. This facility will act as a one-stop shop for members of the Vermont National Guard, retirees, veterans, and families. Some of the resources that will be available at this new facility include a military ID card office, financial counseling, family support, and career assistance. It will also enable the Family Programs office to expand their support for children with a youth center, which is especially important for young people with the shared experience of having a family member in the military to come together.
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
- Expanding & Improving Vermont’s Shared Equity Homeownership Program: $1,575,000
With the requested funding, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) will expand affordable, shared equity homeownership opportunities to low- and moderate-income Vermonters statewide. Specifically, this funding will allow VHCB to offer increased down payment assistance, access to funding for solar and energy efficiency upgrades, rehabilitation funding, and technical assistance to support the marketing of homeownership opportunities to historically and currently underserved communities.
- Veterans Service Center: $1,000,000
With the requested funds, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 782 Howard Plant Post in Burlington and Champlain Housing Trust will partner to transform the existing post into a comprehensive veteran’s service center, which will incorporate permanently affordable rental housing, including apartments reserved for unhoused veterans.
- Improving the Resiliency of the Tri-Park Cooperative: $1,277,000 (request also submitted by Rep. Welch)
With the requested funding, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) will implement the first step of the transformative 2020 Master Plan for Tri-Park Cooperative Housing, located in Brattleboro, VT. Tri-Park’s residents, infrastructure, and finances were severely damaged by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and remain at risk today. Specifically, this funding will allow for the relocation of homes located in the flood plain and help stabilize the operations of this innovative housing cooperative, which is the largest manufactured housing community in the state.
WASHINGTON, March 9 – Senator Bernie Sanders