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Cold Weather Exemption for General Assistance and Emergency Assistance programs

Posted October 31, 2012

Richard Giddings, Deputy Commissioner, DCF-Economic Services, 10/25/12

In harsh winter weather, eligibility for temporary shelter through Vermont’s General Assistance (GA) and Emergency Assistance (EA) programs will be relaxed to encourage persons who are homeless and without adequate financial resources to seek safe shelter. General and Emergency Assistance is only available to US Citizens and legal resident aliens.  An exception to this may be made to ensure the safety of children under 18 years of age.


Effective Time Frame: Effective Immediately.

Criteria for relaxing temporary shelter eligibility: Eligibility for temporary shelter will be relaxed when any of the following conditions exist – or are anticipated to exist within the next 12 hours – in the Vermont zip code where the homeless applicant is applying:

  • Temperatures or wind chill less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Temperatures less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit with snow and/or freezing rain.

The National Weather Service website will be used to make this determination:


  1. The Community Action Program (CAP) or Vermont 2-1-1 will contact the emergency shelters in the AHS district where the applicant is applying to determine if there is available and appropriate capacity for the night. It is not appropriate for households with minor children to be placed in a “low-barrier” shelter with registered sex offenders, or with persons who are intoxicated or exhibiting violent behavior.
  1. If there is no appropriate emergency shelter capacity in the district, the CAP will assist the applicant in applying for GA/EA emergency housing. The Economic Services Division (ESD) or Vermont 2-1-1 will place the household overnight in a motel room, or (at the discretion of ESD, Vermont 2-1-1 and the local emergency shelter), pay to place a household which had been residing in emergency shelter into a nearby motel to make shelter space available for the applicant household.
  1. The Economic Services Division or Vermont 2-1-1 may choose to authorize temporary shelter on a daily basis or for multiple days if conditions warrant. The total amount of time authorized under this exception is not limited by the traditional number of days of temporary housing, but linked to the emergency conditions described above.
  1. ESD, 2-1-1 and local shelters will have flexibility when interpreting this exemption so as to best ensure the safety of persons who are homeless, whether in shelter or without a roof. Emergency shelters retain the right to refuse entry to persons who have violated shelter polices on violence, or to persons who pose a danger to themselves or others. Some persons may require alternative services appropriate to their circumstances, such as access to a public inebriate bed, hospitalization, treatment, or mental health crisis services.


Bennington Affordable Housing Development Celebrates Opening


From Housing Vermont press release, October 25, 2012,  John Broderick, Regional Affordable Housing Corporation & Kenn Sassorossi, Housing Vermont

“Governor Peter Shumlin…joined representatives of the Regional Affordable Housing Corporation (RAHC) and Housing Vermont, community members, and public and private funders to celebrate the completion of the construction of seven new duplex buildings on North Branch Street and the redevelopment of three buildings on Benmont Avenue providing a total of 26 apartments…”

PDF of full Housing Vermont press release


Vermont Statewide Housing Conference registration extended!

Posted October 30, 2012

Vermont Housing  Finance Agency announces that registration for the Vermont Statewide Housing Conference has been extended until 5 pm on Monday, November 5th. But don’t wait until then. Register online today for this important event!

This biennial conference will be held Thursday, November 15th at the Hilton in Burlington. At the last conference, in 2010, we reached capacity and had to turn people away, so register today for this wonderful opportunity.

The registration fee is $75, although scholarships are available.  The conference will provide a full day’s line-up of 18 different workshops, an in-depth plenary panel, keynote speaker, and many networking opportunities.


COTS Annual Meeting & Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast cancelled

Posted October 29, 2012

In light of a state of emergency being declared in advance of Hurricane Sandy, COTS has CANCELLED its Annual Meeting & Volunteer Appreciation breakfast, scheduled for Tuesday, October 30th at 8 am.


Hurricane Sandy: Vermont gears up for late-season monster storm


By HOWARD WEISS-TISMAN / Reformer Staff, Reposted from the Brattleboro Reformer, October 27, 2012.

“Brattleboro Housing Authority Executive Director Chris Hart said the organization is still cleaning up from Tropical Storm Irene.

BHA’s Melrose Terrace suffered extensive damage during last year’s historic storm and the housing authority is waiting on the grants to install storm gates and elevate the water heaters off the floors of the most vulnerable apartments.

But instead of continuing the work at Melrose, Hart spent Friday securing loose items, removing picnic tables and toys from the yards and comforting weary tenants who could be facing another evacuation as Hurricane Sandy barrels its way toward New England…”

Link to Full Brattleboro Reformer Article 

Full PDF of article


Open House at Lakebridge

Posted October 26, 2012

Reposted from the Gilman Housing Trust Facebook page, October 2012.

Gilman Housing Trust & Housing Vermont invite you to come experience a new standard in affordable housing with the Grand Opening of Lakebridge! Lakebridge is our newest property offering 21 brand new, energy efficient apartments in a great location! Staff will be on-site to give tours, answer questions, and hand out applications, so stop by on Friday, November 2nd from 1:00pm to 6:00pm. We look forward to seeing you there!

*Just a reminder – The Open House will be a Donation Site for MOO92’s 7th Annual Hungerfest!! Make sure to bring a non-perishable food donation to the event to support NEKCA’s local food shelves.”


Update on GA Housing Program

Posted October 24, 2012

The Department for Children and Families‘ (DCF) General Assistance (GA) Housing Program is in the process of re-visioning their program.  Last summer, DCF organized a statewide meeting, one-on-one interviews, and focus groupa designed to gather community input into ways that the program could be improved. These findings have been compiled into an executive summary and report.

According to Richard Giddings, Deputy Commissioner of DCF-Economic Services,

“The study found strong agreement among the community partners and state employees who provided input for the study that the rules governing the GA Housing Program need to be reviewed and revised. Informants also felt strongly that the administrative structure that is currently being used for the application and eligibility determination processes is seriously flawed.”

A report of the process will be presented at the Vermont Council on Homelessness meeting on Thursday, October 25.

Read Richard Giddings Full Message

Read Executive Summary

Read Final Report



Plan for ending homelessness in Vermont drafted


By: Maura Collins. Reposted from Housing Matters, VHFA, October 24, 2012.

“The Vermont Council on Homelessness has been working on writing a new Plan to End Homelessness and just released a draft for public comment. This draft will be discussed at the next Council meeting on Thursday, October 25th where VHFA’s Policy and Planning Manager Maura Collins will be discussing the document.”

Please submit comments and feedback to Maura Collins at VHFA at by November 16.

View Draft Plan


Put People First Candidate Forums – Wednesday, October 24

Posted October 23, 2012

Wednesday, October 24th, 6:00-8:00 pm at the Vermont Veterans Home (Christ Room), 325 North St., Bennington

Wednesday, October 24, 6:00-8:00 pm at the Municipal Building Gym, 222 Main St., Newport

Join your neighbors as we share our stories of the interconnected human rights crises in Vermont, explain what we expect from our elected officials, and put the legislative candidates on notice that we will hold them accountable to our human rights vision of government that puts people first. We need healthcare as a human right, a People’s Budget, respect for the rights of workers, transportation and mobility options for all, a healthy environment and livable planet, and for all of us to be treated with dignity, including those of us who are immigrants and have disabilities. These forums will be hosted by the Vermont Human Rights Council, and are part of a statewide grassroots initiative to build a movement for human rights and real democracy.

Put People First Candidate’s Forum Poster


New Report: Housing + Transportation Costs Outpacing Incomes Nationwide


From the report, Losing Ground: The Struggle of Moderate-Income Households to Afford the Rising Costs of Housing and Transportation by the Center for Housing Policy & the Center for Neighborhood Technology, October 2012.

“The combined costs of housing and transportation in the nation’s largest 25 metro areas have swelled by 44 percent since 2000 while incomes have failed to keep pace, according to a new report from the Center for Housing Policy-the research affiliate of the National Housing Conference-and the Center for Neighborhood Technology. The report, Losing Ground: The Struggle of Moderate-Income Households to Afford the Rising Costs of Housing and Transportation, details the challenges that American households face as the combined costs of housing and transportation consume an ever-larger share of household incomes…”

PDF of Full Report


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