Legislature considers indefinite homeless hotel funding

The Fairbanks Inn in St. Johnsbury is among the dozens of hotels and motels housing people under the pandemic-era Emergency Housing program.

State must first “identify an alternate stable setting”

Advocates say disabled people will be turned out June 16

Rutland plans to bus some homeless elsewhere

By Guy Page

As the Legislature’s commitment to end homeless hotel funding July 1 continues to crumble, homeless advocates today said they have proof disabled people will be turned out into the street. And at least one municipality wants to solve its homeless problem by busing them somewhere.

When the Legislature adjourned in May, House and Senate leaders agreed with Gov. Phil Scott to stop the pandemic-era $20 million/month housing of about 2700 people in ‘homeless hotel’ emergency housing.

But walking the talk has proven difficult. When homeless hotel funding became the sticking point in Progressive support for overriding Scott’s $8.5 billion budget veto, both sides began to blame the other and curry favor. The administration announced existing programs and funds would allow about 1100 disabled and head-of-household residents to stay through July, and about half of that number could stay almost through September. 

With the special session to override the budget veto set to begin June 20, legislative leaders are working behind the scenes to develop an alternate funding plan to house recipients indefinitely until they and state workers can “identify an alternate stable setting,” Senate President Phil Baruth is quoted in VTDigger today

At his press conference last week, Scott said some recipients do have exit plans, but he also expressed skepticism that homes for all recipients could be found.

The Legislature continues to get pressure from homeless hotel advocate Brenda Siegel. At noon today, she announced a 1 PM State House press conference at which she will present evidence that disabled Vermonters will be required to leave their emergency housing. 

“Brenda Siegel and Rebecca Duprey have interviewed 77 of the 90 people scheduled to be exited on June 16. They have collected the data about the number who are suffering from mental illness, are in recovery and have physical health conditions as well as those escaping domestic violence. In addition they have gathered information about where the individuals are going from the hotel. 

“It has become overtly clear between the June 1 exits and the looming June 16 exits that Vermont is exiting people who meet the definition of having a disability to the street and more.”

Meanwhile, municipalities like Rutland are developing their own plans to cope with homeless people exiting homeless hotel emergency housing. As of June 1, Rutland had 479 enrollees, the most of any community. The Rutland City Emergency Housing Transition Plan includes ‘transportation support:’

  • Identify transportation options for individuals who may need assistance in relocating to new housing.
  • Coordinate with local transportation providers to secure discounted or subsidized rates for eligible individuals.
  • Utilize available funds to provide bus tickets or transportation assistance for those who have a support network or family in another area.

Categories: Housing

17 replies »

  1. Build it and they will come…in hoards. He’s an idea for a poll. Ask how many people in this program were born in Vermont, or lived in Vermont long term, then verify this. Then out of those who were not born here, or lived here long term, ask how many came within the last few years, or since this program was in place, then verify this too. The results may surprise you…but not me…build it and they will come.

    • Exactly – look in the parking lots of the homeless hotels – lots of out of state plates. Only came here to take advantage of the program. The system is so broken!

      • I once interviewed a prospective tenant who was planning on moving to VT. They clearly could not afford to provide for food, clothing and necessities for them and an infant based on income vs rent and these items.
        I pointed this out and asked her why she was moving to VT without a job or other income: answer, VT benefits were better.
        So Vermonters keep voting for socialist candidates. Pretty soon you will be similarly impoverished and than you too can live for FREE!

  2. There is an empty nursing home for sale in Newport for one million. The state should look into that. It would provide a solution as to what to do with the disabled for far less cost than a hotel.

  3. Units like some of these built and winter tested in Vermont shown on the vthope.net/microd.html site can cost under 5K to build and make RV complient. Units could have been built ro house all 2.8K Vermont homeless for far less than we have spent putting people up in hotels.

  4. These “representatives” should have to take in at least one homeless family into their own personal home.

  5. Of course they’re going to pass this – it was their intention to do so from the git-go! How DARE Vermonters who have lived here for many years and even generations expect to live peacefully, safely, and rightfully as farmers and as responsible citizens without the onslaught of drugs and crime and droves of out-of-staters dictating how they instead believe they ought to be living?!

    The Vermont legislators are largely unwell, some even very obviously mentally disturbed, and forcing their radical, amoral, unethical, and Communist ideologies on free American citizens simply trying to live a decent life unmolested by governmental tyrannical forces.

    RIP Vermont. You were once the beacon of the principles of freedom and unity for which you so highly held dear, and just like the shining star on the hill that America once embodied, our lights are growing dim.

    Rise up America, for our forefathers gave their very lives not so we could be one day in time extinguished as a people and a nation conceived in liberty, but so that we would forever embody the spirit of those who went before us to prevent this hostile and oppressive takeover of authoritarianism and preserve this Constitutional Republic.

    Fight for your right to remain free – for WE the PEOPLE control this state and this nation and WE the PEOPLE can and shall persevere!

  6. This is ridiculous, they knew from day one that this was temporary and did they save any money or prepare for the end the 3yrs they lived rent free on the taxpayers dime? If not too dmbad, they had 3 yrs o fi d a job and save money.

  7. Most are probably not even from here but have come to take advantage of free housing. The problem with providing any service be it free housing for the homeless or free school meals for all kids regardless of family income is that it becomes impossible to end any of this when it’s clearly not affordable. We don’t have enough housing for people coming here to take jobs or for young adults to move out on their own. We can’t afford to house the homeless from all over.

  8. The ultimate goal is installing a socialist society. The government provides minimum level of essential services relative to housing, food and so on. This is equality of outcomes as defined by the United Nations and its Declaration of Human Rights. All you hear about is human rights in this country. There is actually a human rights event coming to Essex. This is because constitutional rights and civil rights do not provide equality up to the UN’s standards. The UN difines equality broadly equal to the socialist and social democratic conventions. This is why the Social Justice movement was launched. The term Social Justice is even trackable back to 2006 UN documents.

  9. Bring back the Poor Farms. Give them a place to live that they have to work at to survive

  10. Proof Vermont is a failed State. A decade or more of unsustainable, unsubstantiated spending (thievery) and taxation (thievery.) All programs are failures. All policies are failures. The numbers do not lie. If one were to look at the condition of cities such as Portland, OR or San Francisco, CA – once the crown jewel cities of the West, you will see what Vermont will turn into shortly. Those cities have a population larger than the State of Vermont. The numbers do not lie – only the leadership. The implosion has begun and for those who stay, be prepared and ready to this State crater into it’s own cellar hole.

  11. We dont have enough transplanted deadbeats in Vermont from this program already?
    The rest of Vermont needs to learn from the mistakes made by Burlington…if you bend over backwards to provide lots of free housing (or anything else), people will migrate there from near and far to take advantage. The intention by Burlington officials to “end homelessness” by providing more free housing may be well-intentioned, but is only making the problem MUCH worse, AND is contributing significantly to the crime problem there.

    • 2 million for 2,700 people is $7,407 per person. PER MONTH.
      Does this seem a little crazy to anyone else?

      • It’s almost double the cost to stay at the newest hotel in Chittenden county right by UVM. That was about $4000 a month for a room with a seperate bedroom, but you have to feed them and cloth them too….

        I wonder if they each got free cell phones too or was that just when they crossed from Mexico.

        This isn’t our country anymore, we’ve lost it.