BURLINGTON Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) Executive Director Sarah Carpenter has received the Leahy Leadership Award. The award, established in 1998, recognizes outstanding efforts of individuals to alleviate homelessness in Vermont. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy and Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) Executive Director Rita Markley presented the honor at the COTS Annual Meeting on October 9 in Burlington. Carpenter received the award for her leadership in the area of affordable housing, and in particular for her many efforts to fight homelessness. These include support of the Vermont Housing Awareness Campaign, a member organization created in 2002 to address Vermont's housing shortage by promoting planning and development of housing for all Vermonters, and her guidance on the Vermont Interagency Council to End Homelessness. We are also saluting her tireless efforts to create closer partnerships between housing developers and homeless service providers, Markley said when presenting the award. Under Sarah's leadership VHFA has allocated countless hours of staff time on research and policy development to help the homeless. VHFA has also generously supported the statewide homelessness coalition by covering the costs for a web site (www.helpingtohouse.org) that makes exchanging information back and forth between shelters much easier and quicker. Carpenter joined VHFA in 1998. Before that, she spent 15 years as Executive Director of Cathedral Square Corp., a South Burlington-based non-profit organization that owns and manages properties for seniors and people with special needs. Past recipients of the Leahy Leadership Award include Governor Howard Dean, Vermont Housing & Conservation Board Executive Director and VHFA Commissioner Gus Seelig, United Way of Chittenden County's Gretchen Morse and others. VHFA was created by the Vermont Legislature in 1974 to finance and promote affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since its inception, the Agency has helped more than 25,000 Vermont households with affordable mortgages and financed the development of almost 7,000 affordable rental units.