State Government

Guv outlines longterm homeless housing plan

By Guy Page

About $125 million of federal recovery funding will help the State acquire longterm housing for Vermont’s homeless, Gov. Phil Scott said at a press conference today.

At present many Vermont hotels and motels are filled with homeless people. $46 million in federal funding has extended this program through June. Traditional homeless shelters are unable to meet demand, especially due to the social distancing requirements. But this summer “we will be returning to tourism, and the number of [available] hotel rooms will decline,” an administration official said. Besides, the current funding to house homeless in motels is “just not financially sustainable,” she said.

A reporter pressed the governor for details about the longterm solutions. Of the $1 billion in somewhat discretionary federal funding in the most recent recovery package, about $250 million will go to housing. Of this funding, about half ($125 million) will go to acquiring more permanent housing for homeless Vermonters. This acquisition will include building new housing, upgrading existing housing, or buying motels and hotels, Gov. Scott said.

Social workers also will work with homeless individuals to develop plans for transitioning to permanent housing, administration officials said.

Also, County Courier Editor Greg Lamoureux asked about the state’s plan to lift the current eviction moratorium. No date yet, he was told. 

Gov. Scott acknowledged the eviction moratorium has been source of frustration, but “the people we’ve been able to help have been substantial,” Gov Scott said. Courts are beginning to reopen to hear eviction cases. Administration officials pledged to discuss the issue more with Lamoureux. 

Photo: Taylor Street, Montpelier housing, including some units for low-income and homeless Vermonters.

Categories: State Government

17 replies »

  1. I’d like to know how they define “homeless Vermonter”? If someone shows up here from another state and states that they are homeless and in need of help, are we going to provide an apartment for them? I’m absolutely positive that we have an influx of people to VT, drawn by our supposed generous assistance. Can Vermonters reasonably be expected to pay to house the homeless population of the entire country?

  2. 250 million for the state to buy property for the refugees to live. Where is the funds to come from for on-going expenses. Look for a homeless tax on your property tax bill.

  3. Totally agree with VTINDEPENDENT. If you build it, they will come. And come. And come.

    This problem can NEVER be solved in this manner. Officials simply REFUSE to accept the statistical data that over 80% of all homelessness is caused by mental health issues and/or drug/alcohol addictions….it is NOT because of “racism”, “lack of affordable housing”, “unemployment”, etc.

    What was accomplished in terms of the rate of homelessness in VT over the last year with the state giving the homeless motel rooms? NADA. What did transpire was that our police forces were constantly called out to these motels turned shelters for domestic violence, drug dealing, drug overdoses, knife fights, etc. etc.

    Vermont will slowly but SURELY be transformed into another NYC, Hartford, San Fran, L.A., thanks to these grand ideas proposed & implemented by our legislators – many of whom are from NYC, Hartford, San Fran and the like who moved from there to come here to now create there – here.

    And once they largely defund our police….they’ll be no one left to call re: the rapid rise in crime ALREADY occurring in much of VT.

    Thanks legislators: SO wish you would have stayed THERE!

    • I am homeless at present PRECISELY because of unemployment and lack of affordable housing. I have 3-4 months’ rent saved up and STILL can’t find a place.

      • @Timothy

        Then take a room in a house/apartment with others. That’s what plenty of us did when we weren’t making enough money to afford our own place. Or contact an organization such as Downstreet which has affordable apartments available. Or VHFA which regularly lists affordable apartments across the state. What you are saying doesn’t add up. If you are dead set on your own place in an expensive location such as Burlington it might be an issue but you should be able to find housing if you’re working and have money saved up.

      • @Timothy

        Just reread your post and saw that you are unemployed. Why is that? There are jobs available now across the state. They may not be what you want and they may not pay all that well but they are jobs. A f/t job would garner you enough income to find housing. I suspect your issues go beyond just being unemployed and thus homeless.

    • @Kathy Henry

      I completely agree with you. But we are branded heartless and uncaring if we point this out. While affordable housing will help a small percentage of the homeless population that is working but cannot afford housing, most are not in this category. As you pointed out, the vast majority of the homeless are in this situation due to untreated mental illness and/or substance abuse. They require treatment. They are also not going to fit well in an apartment building etc where their issues will require continued intervention by emergency services. And the last thing we need is to inherit more homeless from other states.

      I don’t think the leftists who run this state and want us to foot the bill want to acknowledge any of this. Interviews with the homeless now in residence in our shelters and motels would provide the data to tell us where they are from and what issues need to be addressed for them to function in society.,

  4. Have you been by any of these places? Most have a Sheriffs car parked out in front 24-7 to help quell the crime. Vermont should not be getting into the hospitality business. Business can’t find workers but we have high unemmployment go figure.

  5. Charity used to be provided from town-run poor farms and church charity, where you knew your benefactors and maybe someday would return the favor. This evolved into the very concept of housing as a human right meaning that it must be provided through the public treasury, and you did not have to face those who provided for you. This started out as communal shelters and high-rise HUD projects, many of which turned into gang infested hellholes where honest people lived in fear. After tearing down some of these disaster areas, Section 8 evolved so that those who claim to be homeless or otherwise financially qualified can be spread out into the “nicer” neighborhoods. Now Vermont’s homeless hotel program has concentrated the homeless once again in the interest of “quarantining” and many of these hotels have required much attention from police and rescue squads due to crime and overdoses. The hotel program in Vermont has been draining the public treasury for years now and is nothing new. Advocates agonize that all we can offer some people is a lowly hotel room but for many working people in unaffordable Vermont, a hotel stay is an unaffordable luxury. FEMA, meaning the US taxpayer (that means you) is funding Vermont’s homeless hotel program to the tune of $6 Million/ month. That costs the average Vermont working taxpayer about $150/year. This is in addition to all the other housing programs offered under Vermont’s very generous cornucopia of public benefits. And let’s keep in mind, a claim of homelessness is based on the honor system and currently, every business in Vermont has a “help wanted” sign in the window.

  6. How about putting them to work? Cut brush, rehab housing, cleaning roadsides, …………..
    How many ways can they do the work Americans are trained to never do!!

  7. This is a problem but why isn’t our governor and leaders trying to fix the root cause of this problem. Which is that our state is too expensive to live in. Our cost of living needs to be addressed. Otherwise this problem will continue and grow and make our expenses go up and up. I’m so sick of these leaders who just think to fix a problem we just throw more money at it. Nope get some common sense and fix the problem. But instead they will make it harder to live here because they’re primary goal is global warming in which Vermont is way ahead of the nation. Maybe step back a little on this topic and work harder on the other issue of how expensive it is to live in this state. Or work harder on the stare benefits program that is part of our financial problems also.

  8. Here’s the Main Problem in this whole scenario, Vermont is being run by crooked politicians. That’s the problem. If we had decent, freedom loving, honest people in our local and state governments you would see the “housing” crisis solved, among many other “problems”. The swamp in Vermont has to be drained. If it isn’t drained, the continuing slide down into the swamp pit will get even worse. Doing Nothing will guarantee just that.

  9. Call me crazy but, at least in Burlington, the homeless life is a lifestyle choice. I wouldn’t have believed these very words before I moved here. I live downtown (sigh) and I have to maneuver around passed out, drunk as a skunk people to get in and out of the building on the daily. I’m fed up.. have you seen the WCAX clip from the war zone aka their “camp” on Sears Ln?? All Miro can come up with is… the litter is unacceptable… I could go on.. this flat lander (from ME, not NYC) is getting out ASAP

  10. It is politicians from the progressive wing that wants civil stress. It will get worse with Biden inflation. It will get worse with Biden immigration. It will get worse with the Biden DOJ releasing felons. It will get worse with Biden police reform. It will get worse with Biden climate change agenda. It will get worse with Biden Supreme court expansion. Biden’s answer is eliminate people as quickly as possible. The problem is people. The solution is culling the population. Make it as hard to survive as possible is the plan. No more kids. when there are no kids, you can save money on schools. When you are taxed into oblivion, you can’t afford a car, air conditioning, cable TV, heat above 60 degrees in the dead of winter. That will solve climate change. Don’t you see you’re the problem. So many things get solved by eliminating people. No more funding pension problems. No more worrying about unfunded social security benefits. Pandemics are very useful for this purpose, so there will be more. War is another tool to cull the population so Biden must attack Russia. Biden must allow no peace in the middle east. That will not be enough. Civil war is more efficient but what could trigger such an event. Let China take the place of the USA dollar as the reserve currency of the world. The dollar will become worthless overnight. This is the RESET they’re talking about. Elite run to their under ground bunkers and wait for the carnage to be over. Do you like the plan? You voted for it. Or maybe Dominion did. Biden will federalize marijuana so you just go gently into the night.

  11. Hard to fix something if it’s a lifestyle choice (speaking of Burlington) and if the same people dictate city policy. Miro’s response to the war zone aka their “camp” on Sears Ln (see recent clip from wcax) is that the trash is unacceptable.. seriously? And he’s the most “conservative” in this echo chamber! The only informative commentary on that spectacle is from BPD at the end of the corresponding article. I’m a flat lander (from ME, not NYC), get me out of here!!

  12. Chronically homeless individuals that don’t exhibit a trend toward shelf sufficiency or who by their disability can’t obtain a modicum of independence need a solution. They have abdicated their preference as to where that help can come from. I seriously propose the facilities at the border run by homeland security and Fema house these unfortunate individuals. Under this administration policy not to have borders will render the border facilities mute. We can relocate perpetual homeless from all states to these federally run and paid for facilities to keep our cities and suburbs from paying the cost financially, socially and culturally. When the plane is going down you put your oxygen mask on first so you’re better able to assist others. Or the first people who should house these individuals must be the legislators who think they’re better off being “humanely” taken care of by the local community.

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