House Speaker urges another State of Emergency after Scott vetoes budget

New SOE to help the homeless will be “a unifying force,” Krowinski says

By Guy Page

Vermont Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington) is calling upon Governor Phil Scott to declare a State of Emergency to address the end of the pandemic-era homeless hotel and motel program and support a safe transition for current residents.

Before adjourning earlier this month, House and Senate leaders – with the support of Krowinski and Senate Pro Tem Phil Baruth (D-Chittenden) – agreed the pandemic-era funding needed to end for the ‘homeless hotel’ program now serving 2700 people. 

But that was before 17 Progressive and liberal Democrats refused to vote for the budget, which passed with just 90 votes – 10 less than the 100 votes needed to override a budget veto.

And it was before Gov. Scott vetoed the $8.5 billion 2023-24 state budget, creating a possible ‘nightmare scenario’ of Progressives joining Republicans to sustain a veto during the scheduled June 20-22 special session of the Legislature.

Suddenly both Scott and the Democratic leaders of the Legislature were fighting to be seen by the ‘Gang of 17’ as champions of beneficiaries of a program they were responsible for defunding.

For his part, Gov. Scott announced at a press conference Wednesday a list of measures aimed at helping the former homeless hotel residents find new homes. Temporary shelters will become full-time, local barriers to homeless will be overcome. 

Scott and his aides insisted the current program is no panacea. It isolates residents from supports they need to address the root causes of homelessness – including mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, the housing shortage, and the lack of workforce training. In short, the homeless hotel program is too expensive to continue and it’s not good long-term for the beneficiaries, anyway. 

The budget veto brought the end of the emergency housing program “to the forefront of public attention,” Krowinski said in a statement Friday. 

Sen. Phil Baruth also bemoaned the budget’s failure to give municipalities the funding and tools they need to address the expected transition of ‘homeless hotel’ residents to new homes, including for some the streets of Vermont. 

And he laid the blame at the feet of the Scott administration. 

“Our approach to the General Assistance program transition has been based on the notion that the Administration could be counted on to act swiftly, and in concert with the Legislature, as expanded eligibility wound down. Clearly, that trust was misplaced,” Baruth said. 

But he stopped short of calling for a renewed State of Emergency, under which all Vermonters lived during the pandemic era. 

Krowinski, on the other hand, was explicit in urging Scott to renew the State of Emergency. 

“The conditions surrounding homelessness in Vermont may constitute an ‘all-hazards event’ under 20 V.S.A. § 9, requiring urgent action and additional resources,” Krowinski said. 

“An ‘all-hazards event’ encompasses various circumstances, including natural disasters, health emergencies, civil unrest, and other incidents that threaten public safety. While Vermont’s significant per-capita homeless population, coupled with the imminent transition from the expanded hotel/motel emergency housing program, could be seen as a health-related emergency, only the Governor can determine whether this crisis meets the criteria of an all-hazards event,” Krowinski said. 

“Homelessness is not an isolated problem affecting a few individuals; it is an issue that impacts all our communities. I am urging Governor Scott to declare a State of Emergency to address the transition of those in motels and avoid mass homelessness in Vermont.”

Scott and his leading officials dispute the transition will lead to ‘mass homelessness.’ Hundreds have already indicated they have alternative plans, they said Wednesday. There’s no specific headcount of how many will remain homeless, but some administration officials estimate the number is closer to 1,000. 

Krowinski, however, predicts there will be “families on the streets” amid “potential mass unsheltering.” And she called a new State of Emergency “a unifying force.”

“This declaration is appropriate for the gravity of the situation and would enable the mobilization of all available governmental and community-driven resources to confront this crisis head-on,” she said Friday. “The Governor stated that he does not know whether there will be families on the streets. This uncertainty highlights the need to use all the tools available to us to ensure that this does not happen. Our duty is to seek all viable solutions and ensure they are available to avoid a potential mass unsheltering throughout our state.

“The State of Emergency declaration will serve as a unifying force, bringing together government agencies, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and Vermonters from all walks of life — just like we did during Hurricane Irene and the global pandemic. By coordinating our efforts, sharing expertise, and pooling resources, we can effectively address the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness. 

“It is crucial to recognize the tireless dedication and commitment of the staff at emergency shelters and housing service organizations across Vermont. They are on the frontlines, working to provide support, safety, and assistance to those in need. In this critical time, they need additional support and we need all hands on deck. The declaration of a State of Emergency would mobilize resources and enable us to further support these dedicated individuals who play an indispensable role in addressing the challenges of homelessness. This could include the mobilization of the Vermont National Guard and the Vermont Medical Reserve Corps. 

“Moreover, this declaration will empower us to implement targeted and comprehensive measures to address the root causes of homelessness. Through a coordinated and multifaceted approach, we can break the cycle of homelessness and provide a pathway to stability for those in need. By channeling our shared interests in avoiding a statewide unsheltering event, we can create a Vermont where no individual or family is left behind, and everyone has a safe and secure place to call home,” Krowinski said. 

Will the governor enact another State of Emergency? When asked by Vermont Daily Chronicle today, his press spokesperson didn’t take it off the table.

“Any response to Speaker’s call for a State of Emergency due to the budget veto?,” VDC asked Press Secretary Jason Maulucci.

“As the Governor and Administration officials discussed last week, we are taking action to prepare for the transition that the Administration, Speaker and Senate Pro Tem have all agreed must take place,” Maulucci said. “As he also made clear, the Governor will take all steps and use any tools he feels are appropriate to ensure the best outcomes for the state.”

Categories: Housing, Legislation

18 replies »

  1. “Root Cause”, which seems to be the new term now used, started by our dim witted Vice President, is that most of the homeless are transports from many other states, not just Vermonters. Second, many homeless now are on drugs who came for the state benefits they can get. Many are just to lazy to work and find it profitable by begging from others. Case in point, in our small town there have been many different ones standing in prominent points in town, even when most businesses are screaming for help. They hold signs anything will help, after being watched throw a banana onto the ground as the driver drove off! One was seen leaving a spot driving off in an expensive car that was conveniently left from where he was standing.
    There may be a few truly homeless Vermonters that have fallen on hard times, some with families, these people need and deserve our help to get back on their feet, but not the rest. They, themselves chose their life and they are responsible for it, NOT EVERYONE ELSE!

  2. This unsustainable budget for the homeless requires some common sense. The age old saying ” Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will always eat ” Some how, I see two giant discrepancies. Montpelier says the Vermont unemployment is down to a little over 2% in Vermont. Yet everywhere I go, stores, restaurants, even service industries ( Plumbers, Electricians, etc) all don’t have enough people working. I realize some homeless people can’t work, and have needs. However many healthy homeless people (the majority) need to get off the system of a government that supports them and become self sustaining by working like most Vermonters do to pay their bills and their rent / mortgage. Unending government handouts helps nobody. Government hand-up to get people on a path to caring for oneself, is only good when it has an expiration date.

    • The real emergency here is our feckless, incompetent Legislature which is, only now, acting like this is all some sort of surprise.

      • Exactly. “Piss poor planning on their part does not an emergency make on my part” someone famously said..

  3. Time for these liberal bleeding hearts who are enabling this behaviour to stop. THIS is NOT an emergency. . The main reason that all these homeless are here in the first place is they get welfare money on day one!! Used to be you had to live in this state for one year in order to qualify for anything. The number of drug addicts would reduce drastically once they realize that the taxpayers are not funding their habit any longer. These are not the homeless who we have known for a number of years. These are dangerous criminals who choose to shoot up on the side walks, in front of businesses, in the parking garages, and in our park that is supposed to be FAMILY friendly. No one wants to go downtown any longer in broad daylight. The panhandling is not of homeless people but those who are employed TO panhandle. Many live in Handy’s motel on Susie Wilson Rd. These are professionals who wear the same clothes day in and day out. They laugh at you when you suggest they get a job. They stand in front of Lowe’s and Starbux, both businesses are looking for help. They don’t need a job, They are taking your money and it is all tax free income for them.. The handler has been known to drive a black Mercedes. Colchester h as signs posted in parking lots of businesses that state it is illegal to panhandle. Fortunately they have moved on. I could have sworn that I saw them in Florida last month!!

    Let’s save a SOE for something that actually is an emergency!!!

  4. I ask Ms Speaker of the house and all those who are so worried about the less fortunate what they do personally to aid the affected soon to be moteless homeless, other than spend taxpayer dollars. According to the information I have found her net worth is between 1-5 million https://www.celebsagewiki.com/jill-krowinski If that is at all true, well just 5% of that going to support the drug addicts, er, Homeless would help out quite a bit

  5. This is what happens when Vermont agrees to be California East. This has to stop. Let’s Make Vermont Normal Again!

  6. Appears Krowinski believes there should be no repercussions for able bodied persons whom chose to reject all responsibility. A judgement flaw that would typically void all opportunity for leadership. Something is amiss.
    How does anyone that has never had a real job, and should be saddled with student loans amass this level of wealth? Someone needs to follow the money.

  7. This is what you get for representatives when you elect progressive activists from out of state. Everyone who has a brain that works knows that the majority of homeless people here are from somewhere else and have come for the free benefits. While Vermont was getting billions from 10% Joe and his handlers, it wasn’t an issue it was free government money and the country is $32 Trillion in debt. The new Washington budget deal just cut by RINO McCarthy, raises that another $4 Trillion to $36 Trillion. They believe that they can keep raising the debt ceiling and the country won’t default. $36 Trillion dollars in debt means the USA is insolvent. But, the democrats will not stop or cut useless spending. This is why the dollars in your pocket are worthless and have no buying power. Keep electing democrats and some RINOs until the country folds. It’s not that far off.

  8. I urge Ms Krowinski to drive thru the parking lots of all the hotels that we the tax payers are paying to house the homeless and see how many out of state plates are parked there. Surely they are not all visitors to the homeless. They know how easy it is to get benefits from VT and take advantage of it. We don’t need a state of emergency, we need to fix the broken system. With all the open jobs in VT make these people work & supplement them with benefits accordingly.

    • ms. krowinski isn’t going to drive anywhere to look at anything. she could care less about the actual problem of homeless- instead the issue creates talking points, virtue signaling opportunity and new voters to cull mail-in ballots from, along with revenue for her donor class buddies. krowinski is a marxist poorly disguised as a democrat- and her goal is obtaining and increasing power for her ilk. the homeless issue is but one of many issues she seeks to capitalize on for her personal power gain. For the many that cannot see the path Vermont is on toward a “democratic socialist” marxist state, it’s long past time to pay attention.
      Scott vetoed the budget for many good reasons, krowinski and her band of socialists had ample time to address and solve the homeless motel issue. Solving a problem is not a viable D/P solution- keeping the problem alive for political gain is the goal here.

  9. These homeless folks have been in the motel scene for two years, or more. So where were all the bleeding hearts when it was time for the Legislature to convene? Where was the sense of urgency then? We are being thrust into the caldron by the rulers in D C and now Vermont. We cannot be everything to everybody. Sort out the prioritys, and some of the items will just have to wait. It sounds to me like there was a big fat F (Failure) in the job of sorting.
    The Legislature meets again in Jan 2024.

  10. According to Wikipedia Ms Krowinski has only ever been a professional progressive who brought her carpet bag with her to Vermont from New York in 2002. So many of our elected are just like her.

    The population of Vermont is 647,000. The number of participants in the homeless hotel program is 2700, or less than 0.5% of the population. How is this an emergency?

    It’s not and the progressives know it, it’s just attempted manipulation

    • This is just like the bait and switch on the energy fiasco…
      Enough is enough. All of this will be null and void IF we implement independence from the US empire. It’s our right to do so as it is with the republic of Texas. We can be the Switzerland 🇨🇭of North America 🇺🇸 🇨🇦 and be an honorable people once again. The Second Vermont Republic is in its 3rd trimester ready to pop. The time is right for the 2VR. Our family has been here since the Treaty of Paris in 1763, we’ll be here after these characters self destruct from the overreaching and abuse of the kind folk of the mountains 🏔️ . Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  11. The homeless aren’t people. They are paid-off voters. So are the illegal immigrants and the “migrants”. Oh, and so are minor children in certain municipalities – in violation of the VT Constitution…….but what Marxist obeys a “Constitution”? Answer: None do.

  12. So the legislature didn’t do anything under the “leadership “ of the speaker to make housing more affordable so it becomes the Governor’s problem?

  13. One issue that has not really been considered is that in Vermont, generally if you want to locate a business of some sort, there are neighbors who are going to want to limit the size of your business, the amount of traffic you can attract etc. There are zoning rules defining just what constitutes a motel and what constitutes a homeless shelter. These motels were opened as just that…motels, with the expectation that their clientele are short term stays, paying customers who use credit cards, and are generally law-abiding. With the current system, the state is playing absentee landlord, and the towns hosting these flophouses are now subject to excessive police and EMT calls, the neighbors have had to deal with burglaries and car breaks and nearby businesses are being shoplifted into bankruptcy. As the police logs indicate, there is a discernible difference between the quality of people staying at a motel versus a homeless shelter.

  14. North Carolina Governor, Ray Cooper, declared a State of Emergency due to school choice. New York Governor, Kathy Hochul, declared a State of Emergency due to immigration (aka government sponsored invasion) Chicago Mayor, Lori Lighfoot, declared a State of Emergency due to immigration (aka government sponsored invasion.) It appears Speaker Jill Krowinski has received the DNC bulletin with the attached script and bulleted talking points. When there is any attempt to thwart their evil schemes, throw the emergency declaration wrench into the machine. With that, they can wield more control and power to subvert the rule of law, stomp and rob citizens at will.