subscribe to our blog receive updates via email



Older stories

powered by wordpress


VLIAC Annual Legislative Day on Friday, April 4th

Posted March 26, 2014

Join the Vermont Low Income Advocacy Council (VLIAC) at the Vermont State House in Montpelier on Friday, April 4 for a day of meeting with legislative leaders, state officials, and other low income advocates.

VLIAC’s Annual Legislative Day is co-sponsored by the Vermont Conference United Church of Christ and will take place from 9am to 3pm. The day of action will feature a program during lunch which will touch on the 50th Anniversary of the “War on Poverty” asking the question, how are we doing?

On January 8, 1964, in his State of the Union Address, President Lyndon Johnson declared an “unconditional war on poverty in America,” vowing that “It will not be a short or easy struggle,… but we shall not rest until that war is won. The richest Nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it.” … he  declared that “Our aim is not only to relieve the symptom of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it.”

A complimentary bag lunch will also be provided at noon in Room 10.  For more information and to RSVP for the lunch, please email Karen Lafayette at


Supportive Service Providers Housing Survey Now Online


The last in a series of three surveys on Housing and Services is now online.  Responses are being sought from Supportive Service Providers.  This series of surveys have been designed to help assess common problems and challenges facing clients, and to get a picture of respondents best strategies and ideas to move forward.

The survey is only seven questions and takes just a few minutes to complete.  Please take the survey today!

In previous surveys Landlords and Tenants were asked to respond to what they saw as the biggest barriers to sustainable, permanent housing and what they thought might help address those barriers. The following survey takes that feedback and asks service providers what you see as barriers and ways you would like to address them.  Please think big!

The results of the surveys will be shared at the April 11th OEO Anti-Poverty Network Conference.  Please complete the survey no later than April 7th to ensure your responses can be included. Please feel free to share this widely with coworkers or any other providers that have addressed housing issues with their clients. Take the survey now:

For more information, please contact Amy Perez at


ICYMI: The Sequester and the Homeless


Consequences from sequestration continue to reverberate even after December’s budget deal.  The previous year’s cuts have deepened and prolonged our nation’s rental affordability housing crisis, a crisis that is described by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan as the worst our country has known.

On Sunday the New York Times Editorial Board ran a piece highlighting the impact the sequester continues to have on millions of Americans:

The sequester seriously damaged the Section 8 housing program, which subsidizes rents for more than two million of the nation’s poorest families. Local housing authorities reacted to the across-the-board cuts by tightening the screws on this voucher program. They ceased to issue new vouchers that would ordinarily have gone to homeless or needy families and even recalled vouchers that had been issued but had not yet been committed to landlords.

An analysis released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showed that, as of December, there were 70,000 fewer low-income families using vouchers to rent private housing than there were a year earlier…

The drop in the number of vouchers in circulation works against the program; Congress generally funds the program based on the number of vouchers in service the previous year.

The December budget deal that ended sequestration will allow housing agencies to replace less than half of the 70,000 vouchers lost in 2013. Given the pressing need, it should come up with the money to restore the rest.

The sequester also hurt the long-neglected public developments that house about 1.1 million of the country’s most vulnerable families. These developments had been staggering along under ever-shrinking operating budgets — and a $26 billion backlog in repairs — even before the sequester.

When further cuts came along, three quarters of state and local housing agencies reacted by cutting the number of families served, letting waiting lists grow and leaving damaged apartments vacant rather than repairing them.

The editorial continues to detail the cuts made to homeless assistance grants which have led to the removal of over 60,000 formerly homeless persons from housing and emergency shelter programs.  Read the full article online here (see also in PDF).


New Report Finds Vermont Renters Still Cannot Afford the Rent

Posted March 24, 2014

The State’s High Rents are Out of Reach for Working Families

BURLINGTON, VT In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent in Vermont, renters need to earn $19.36 per hour, or $40,272 a year. This is Vermont’s 2014 Housing Wage, revealed in a report released today. The report, Out of Reach 2014, was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization, and the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition.

The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a family must earn, working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, to be able to afford the rent and utilities for a safe and modest home in the private housing market.

An estimated 62% of renters in Vermont do not earn enough to afford a two-bedroom unit at the average statewide Fair Market Rent of $1,007.

Working at the minimum wage in Vermont, a family must have 2.2 wage earners working full-time, or one full-time earner working 89 hours per week at minimum wage, to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. While it is possible for a household to work more than one job to make ends meet, a 2011 Vermont study showed that 62% of the state’s households had only one, or less than one full time workers.

“Vermont continues to be one of the states with the least affordable rental housing,” said Ted Wimpey, Director of the Fair Housing Project at the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity and Chair of the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition.  “It is extremely difficult for even moderate income people in Vermont to find affordable rental housing. The situation has many serious consequences, including increased homelessness and greater numbers of families struggling to get by.”

The typical renter in Vermont earns $11.24 an hour, which is $8.12 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit.

According to Jeanne Montross, Executive Director of Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE) and Chair of the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness, “Although there have been some recent, small signs of  economic recovery, wages – especially for those at the bottom of the economic ladder – continue to stagnate. Real income has actually fallen for low income households, while the costs of housing, heat, and food continue to climb. This, in combination with a reduction in the availability of housing subsidies, makes it a given that we will see more and more families become homeless.”

Greater investment in our stock of affordable housing is needed at both the federal and state levels. By funding the National Housing Trust Fund, Vermont would receive at least $3 million a year, which would stimulate the production of new affordable homes for Vermont’s lowest income residents and create quality jobs in the construction industry. By fully funding the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the state would further increase its investments in much needed new housing and the Vermont economy, while helping to offset the federal cutbacks of the last several years.

“We can no longer ignore the dire need for affordable housing when three out of every four extremely low income households nationally have to spend more than half of their income on housing costs,” said NLIHC President and CEO Sheila Crowley. “Closing this gap is achievable through the National Housing Trust Fund.”

Additional Facts:

  • The national Housing Wage is $18.92 in 2014
  • Vermont is the 13th most expensive state in the nation for renters
  • Vermont is the ninth most expensive state for non-metropolitan/rural areas
  • The Housing Wage is up 26% since the Great Recession began in 2007
  • The Housing Wage in the greater metropolitan area of Burlington is $25.17, 13% higher than the state average

Every year, Out of Reach provides the Housing Wage and other housing affordability data for every state, metropolitan area, combined non-metropolitan area, and county in the country. For additional information, visit:

Find out more about the facts and figures of Vermont’s 2014 Out of Reach report here.



Shining a Light on Poverty Series – Discussion #3 with Sam Tsemberis

Posted March 20, 2014

In honor of 50 years of community action in Vermont, the Office of Economic Opportunity is hosting a series of one-hour discussions on poverty every month in 2014.

The third of these discussions will feature Dr. Sam Tsemberis, Founder & CEO of Pathways to Housing, and will take place on Thursday, March 27 from 10am to 11am.  More details from OEO:

Participants will learn about the Pathways Housing First Program — an effective approach that ends homelessness, improves the quality of life, and increases community integration for individuals with psychiatric disabilities. The presentation will include clinical vignettes and research outcomes.

When: Thursday, March 27, 2014 – from 10 to 11 AM

How to Participate?

  • Online: Click here to register to participate via Go To Meeting. You’ll get a confirmation email with further instructions. Space is limited. Register now!
  • In person: 312 Hurricane Lane in Williston, DVHA Large Conference Room. Space is limited.

More about the speaker:

Dr. Sam Tsemberis, PhD, founded Pathways in 1992 based on the belief that housing is a basic human right. Pathways developed the consumer-driven, evidence-based Housing First program that provides immediate access to permanent supportive housing to individuals who are homeless and who have mental health and addiction problems. Dr. Tsemberis is on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. He is currently participating in national studies of homelessness, mental illness, and addiction, and has published numerous articles and book chapters on these topics, including the Housing First manual (Hazelden Press, 2010).


Job Alert: Executive Director at Bennington County Coalition for the Homeless


The Bennington County Coalition for the Homeless (BCCH) is looking for a new Executive Director and is currently seeking applications.

The BCCH mission is “Dedicated to collaborating, coordinating & implementing services to the homeless in Bennington County & promoting community awareness.”  BCCH assists individuals and families in Bennington County facing homelessness by providing emergency shelter, transitional housing, homelessness prevention assistance, case management and follow up care.

The Executive Director is responsible for all aspects of the agency including budget, service delivery, measurable outcomes, physical plant, staff supervision and development, fundraising, grant sourcing, grant writing and community relations.

How to Apply:  via email to or mail resume and cover letter to BCCH P.O. Box 4736, Bennington, VT 05201 by April 15, 2014.

Read the full job description, responsibilities of the position, qualifications required, and salary and benefit info online here.


Meeting on Vermont’s Section 811 Application on Tuesday, April 1


From VHFA’s Housing Matters:

On March 4, HUD released a Notice of Funding Availability for the Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program. VHFA will be applying on behalf of Vermont in partnership with the Agency of Human Services. This program has changed from being a capital source for buildings occupied only by younger people with disabilities to a project based rental assistance program where no more than 25% of the project’s units can be designated as for people with disabilities under 62. It must be used in already affordable housing, including tax credit properties where the rents are not low enough for someone on SSI.

To make sure we are creating a program that is strong, efficient, and realistic, we are inviting affordable housing owners and managers to VHFA’s offices to discuss the program and VHFA’s proposal. We’d like to discuss, in some detail, what would be required of housing projects that receive this funding to gauge interest, identify potential sites where this funding could be allocated, and make sure VHFA is designing a program that will work best for Vermont.

This meeting will be at VHFA’s offices in Burlington on April 1st from 10-12. While we can arrange for a conference call line to be available, this meeting will be a dialogue of ideas and it will be more difficult to participate in this way. Please RSVP to Sam Falzone.


Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness Meeting Tomorrow at Chandler Music Hall in Randolph

Posted March 17, 2014

The next Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness meeting will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, March 18, at a new location, the Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph.  The meeting will take place at the regular time from 10am to Noon.  The details:

10am – Noon, Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Chandler Center for the Arts

71-73 Main, Randolph, VT 05060 (Google Map)


From the north or south via interstate highway: Interstate 89 goes up the center of the state and is one of 2 main north/south arteries in Vermont (the other is Interstate 91).  Take Exit 4, the Randolph exit.  (Note that exits are approximately 10-15 miles apart.) At the end of the exit ramp, turn onto Route 66 heading west, down the hill into town.  Stay on this road for approximately 3 miles.  Follow the logical course of the road and it will bring you right into the center of Randolph. Chandler Music Hall is a large gray cement block building on the left side of the street, across from a large white church, just past the bridge.

Coming from the north on VT Route 12, you will come to a 4-way stop (no traffic light!).  Bear right, cross the Main Street bridge and Chandler will be on your left.

From the south on VT Route 12, cross the railroad tracks in town, go through the business section in the center of town and Chandler will be on your right.

Parking Information:

There is plenty of free parking within easy walking distance.
1.  Municipal lot off Main Street – turn right between the brick church and Champlain Farms
2.  Municipal lots off of South Pleasant Street – bear left at the gazebo at the ‘Y’ – parking lots are to the left
3.  Turn right at School Street, just past Chandler – there is a small lot on the left one block off Main Street
4.  The VT United Church of Christ office across from Chandler has parking for approximately 30 cars.
5.  Prince Street – turn right just past the bridge – there is parking below the bridge.

For those who can’t make the drive: the call-in info (note: it may be difficult to hear).

There is a packed agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, some highlights include:

  • Latest Legislative Update
  • Numbers and Challenges from the Field
  • NOFA Update
  • Committee Reports
  • Latest News on the Point-In-Time Report
  • Preview of upcoming events, including Housing First Trainings, OEO’s Shining a Light on Poverty Series, and next month’s Access to Housing event

Check out the full agenda, past meeting minutes, and additional meeting materials here.


Registration Open for VHMA’s April 16 Training on Fair Housing


Vermont Housing Managers Association is offering a one day training on fair housing on Wednesday, April 16.  The training is being presented by Fair Housing Solutions, LLC.  The details:

When: Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Where: Fireside Inn & Suites, 25 Airport Road, West Lebanon, NH
Time: 8:30am – 3:30pm (Q&A will follow til 4pm – registration opens at 7:30am)
Registration Deadline: April 1, 2014
Registration Cost: $195 per person for VHMA/GSMA members; $320 per person for non -members (lunch is included in the registration cost).

The trainers include Mark E. English, one of the nation’s leading training specialist regarding accessibility issues that involve ADA, Section 504, and The Fair Housing Amendments Act; and Scott P. Moore, who has provided consultation and representation of the housing industry and is widely recognized for his experience in housing law and his work with the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and USDA/Rural Development.

See the full description of topics to be covered during the training, and the registration form here. Registration due by April 1, 2014.


Employment Opportunities at Upper Valley Haven


Upper Valley Haven, a non-profit, private organization that serves people struggling with poverty by providing food, shelter, education, clothing and support, is currently seeking the right person to become the Haven’s new Family Shelter Case Manager.  This employment opportunity is a permanent, full-time position. MSW and experience preferred.

Individual must be able to guide guests through the process of identifying strengths and vulnerabilities in their life situation; support them in designing a plan of services, and assist them in connecting with community resources so as to successfully address needs as rapidly as possible.  Some of the job functions include:

  • Establishes positive, supportive relationships with visitors or guests
  • Assesses visitor or guest needs in core domain areas
  • Identifies and emphasizes the strengths of visitors or guests
  • Facilitates establishment of realistic goals
  • Connects visitors or guests to resources that support goal attainment
  • Provides support and service coordination for visitors or guests
  • Creates clear, concise, objective notes
  • Monitors and supports visitors or guests in process of work toward goals
  • Uses agency Choices model as a framework for accountability with visitors or guests

For the full employment description of the Case Manager position click here.

Upper Valley Haven is also currently seeking:

Per diem shelter staff members: Must be available to work all shifts. BA preferred. (Job Description)

Independent contractor for data entry: Up to 20 hours per week. (Job Description)

Please see job descriptions before applying. Team environment, competitive salary & benefits are offered.  EOE.  Send cover letter and resume to: by March 21, 2014 with job title in subject line.

Learn more about Upper Valley Haven’s employment and volunteer opportunities here.


Older Posts »