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Vermont Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program survey for stakeholders to inform annual plan

Posted February 28, 2013

Attention Emergency Solutions Grantees & Partners:

The Vermont Emergency Solutions Grant program, administered by the State Office of Economic Opportunity, provides a blend of state and federal (HUD) funding in all regions of the state for homeless shelters as well as non-profit programs engaged in work to prevent homelessness. The purpose of the Emergency Solutions Grant program is to help individuals and families quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis or homelessness. Our vision is that Vermonters, especially vulnerable populations, live in safe and affordable housing.  The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) has always valued consultation from community providers in determining priorities and development performance measures for the Emergency Solutions Grant program.

The Office of Economic Opportunity is seeking input from all stakeholders within both Vermont Continuum of Cares regarding:
• Allocation of Funding – priorities for funding (within activities eligible under ESG), including justification for these priorities.
 • Performance Standards

Please respond to the online survey by March 6th, 2013.

OEO recognizes there may be differences between state goals and local needs, and that communities meet different priorities with different resources. They also recognize that there are different perspectives in the approach to ending homelessness. The Emergency Solutions Grant program occurs within the national context ( and state context ( to support work at the local level.

For information about the 2012 ESG Program:

Please be in touch via email or phone with your questions, comments or thoughts.


Paul Dragon
(802) 871-3398

Sarah Phillips
(802) 769-6405


Bipartisan Policy Center recommends broad changes for U.S. housing policy


By Leslie Black-Plumeau. Reposted from Housing Matters blog, February 27, 2013.

“Earlier this week, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission released its vision for the future of housing policy in its report:  Housing America’s Future: New Directions for National Policy.  The recommendations include replacing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a government corporation to provide a limited catastrophic government guarantee, expanding the Housing Credit by 50 percent over current levels to increase housing supply, and targeting a reformed Housing Choice Voucher program to the most vulnerable households.

The report also recommends a more comprehensive focus on meeting the housing needs of our nation’s seniors that responds to their desire to age in place and recognizes the importance of integrating housing with health care and other services. Vermont’s statewide SASH (Support and Services at Home) program and Chittenden County-based Cathedral Square Corporation and are both identified as model approaches for providing services to elderly residents while integrating funding streams.”

Link to Housing Matters article 



HUD Reports Record Increase in Housing Unaffordability for Low Income Renters

Posted February 26, 2013

By Amy Clark, NLIHC. From the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Press Release, February 25, 2013.

Low income renters in the United States are experiencing record rates of unaffordable housing costs, according to a new report from HUD. The report, Worst Case Housing Needs 2011, shows 8.48 million renter households experiencing ‘worst case housing needs,’ a 19% increase since 2009 and a 43.5% increase since 2007.

Worst case housing needs are experienced by very low income renters who pay more than half of their income for housing or living in severely inadequate housing conditions or both…”

View PDF of Full Press Release


Vermont Nonprofit Conference 2013


Common Good Vermont announces the Vermont Nonprofit Conference 2013: The Data Driven Nonprofit. The conference is targeted for nonprofit leaders, board members and allies. The focus is on managing outcomes with workshops on leadership, marketing, fundraising and evaluation. Nationally recognized speaker K.D. Paine will speak on“Measuring the Networked Nonprofit”. Visit the website to learn more.

When: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Where: Lake Morey Resort, Fairlee, Vermont

Register Today
View Conference Agenda 



Vt. police see spike in calls to hotels housing homeless

Posted February 25, 2013

“MONTPELIER, Vt. – Affordable housing officials say Vermont is in the midst of a homelessness crisis, complicated by a shelter shortage. And it’s driving the need for costly motel vouchers sky high.

“We had to add temporary staff to deal with just the masses of humanity walking in the door. We don’t have enough room in our waiting area,” said Carol Flint of the Central Vermont Community Action Council.

Lawmakers anticipated spending $1.3 million on the motel voucher program this fiscal year. But now the administration says the cost will be closer to $3.5 million. Flint recognizes that something’s got to give. She just hopes that doesn’t mean cutting the program altogether.

“We don’t have the millions of dollars to backfill if the state cuts this program,” she said. “What should I say to the people who are at my doors?”

Link to full article

View PDF of full article


Street vocation: Reaching out to those who struggle

Posted February 21, 2013

By John Herrick. Reposted from the Burlington Free Press, February 19, 2013.

The Howard Center’s Street Outreach Team provide direct service to those in need.

“The Fletcher Free Library, an elevated doorway, or an ATM booth can sometimes be the nearest shelter for the homeless in Burlington.

Matt Young, supervisor for the Howard Center’s Street Outreach Team, doesn’t just find the homeless shelter. He wants to show them the way to a home. Young coordinates access to social services for those with mental and drug-related health issues, the homeless, and those struggling to rebuild their life in Burlington.

However, Young said that he has his own pathology: his urge to provide services to those in need…”

Link to Burlington Free Press article 

PDF of Full Burlington Free Press Article


Sen. Leahy, Gov. Shumlin Announce Agreement and Funding for the Redevelopment of a State Office Complex Building for Affordable Housing

Posted February 17, 2013

The Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) awarded $950,000 to fund the redevelopment of the Vermont State Office Complex’s Ladd Hall into affordable housing. The announcement was made last Friday, February 15, by U.S Senator Patrick Leahy and Governor Peter Shumlin. Funding for the project comes from the over $20 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds that the ACCD received through HUD following Tropical Storm Irene. CDBG grants were awarded to five additional Vermont communities. These grants will fund affordable housing and community-strengthening initiatives across the state, and total over $1 million.

View PDF of Full Press Release

View Descriptions of CDBG Grants


Advocates speak out against proposed time limits on Reach Up

Posted February 15, 2013

Governor Shumlin’s proposal to place a five-year cap on Reach Up benefits for low-income individuals spurred Vermonters to speak out and advocate for alternative solutions.

For Valentine’s Day, Advocates Declare: “Have a Heart – Save Reach up”
Press Release

VPR News:
Advocates Decry Cuts To Vt. Reach Up Program

The Burlington Free Press:
Progressives and Democrats offer alternatives to governor’s money raising plan
PDF of full Burlington Free Press article
Reach Up participants say governor’s plan to curb welfare program is misguided
PDF of Full article  




More of Forest Park disappears

Posted February 14, 2013

For more information on Forest Park, click HERE

By Gordon Dritschillo. Reposted from the Rutland Herald, February 12, 2013


The second phase of the Forest Park replacement project is targeted for completion by the end of the year. Demolition started in December, and as of Monday, foundations had been poured for two of six buildings.

“They should start framing in March,” Rutland Housing Authority executive director Kevin Loso said. “The weather has been cumbersome, but they’re pretty much on schedule for a November or December completion.”

The RHA has been slowly replacing Forest Park with a new development called “Hickory Street Apartments,” named for the newly built Hickory Street, which runs perpendicular to Forest Street. The development is designed to look more like a neighborhood, with even the larger, multi-unit buildings constructed to look like large houses.

Four buildings totaling 11 units and the old community center and maintenance shed came down and are being replaced by seven new buildings — three duplexes, two six-unit buildings, a community center with five one-bedroom units and a new maintenance shed. The total cost for phase two is roughly $7 million, according to Loso. Five buildings with a total of 27 units are all that remain of Forest Park. Those will be replaced in phase three.

“At this point, the precise plan is not in place in terms of unit configurations,” Loso said. “We plan to embark on that in the next three years.”

Phase one remains at 100 percent occupancy, Loso said.

“We’ve seen very little turnover,” he said.

Meanwhile, the city’s waiting list for Section 8 housing vouchers is about to open for the first time since July of 2011.

“It’s been open and closed and open and closed a few times,” Loso said. “It depends on the number of vouchers we have available.”

Loso said 76 vouchers will become available March 1 because of a change in the status of the apartments of Regency Manor. Residents there will have priority for the vouchers, he said, but that not all would be eligible, meaning at least some of the 82 families on the waiting list will get a chance to move off it.

Loso said a family typically spends about two years on the waiting list.

Link to Full Rutland Herald Article 


A safety net that is leaving more people out


By Yvonne Abraham. Reposted from The Boston Globe, October 7, 2012.

“Ginna and her daughter had bounced from couch to couch for months before they lost their last refuge: A friend, worried about losing her lease, asked her to leave.

Unemployed and out of options, the young mother went to the state to ask for emergency shelter on Aug. 8. She had previously been denied because she was $12 over the income limit. Now Department of Housing and Community Development workers suspected Ginna of quitting her job at a sandwich shop to get benefits. She begged them to talk to her former boss, who could tell them she was let go because she had no child care and couldn’t make shifts. They didn’t…

The Patrick administration’s heart might be in the right place when it comes to ending homelessness, but its new approach to this huge problem is hurting some of the very people most in need of help. While boosting resources for permanent housing, the state has begun turning away an alarming number of families from its shelter system. Until recently, 40 to 50 percent of families who applied for emergency shelter were denied each month. Last month, the average was 68 percent. In the last week of September, 74 percent of families seeking shelter were denied. Ginna’s case is the most tragic of many…”

View PDF of Full Boston Globe Article




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