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Save the Date: January 7th – Homelessness Awareness Day and Memorial Vigil at the State House

Posted December 18, 2015

Every year in January concerned citizens and homeless service providers from across Vermont gather at the State House in Montpelier for a day to engage their representatives and to renew their commitment to end homelessness in our state. Please join us on Thursday, January 7th for theAnnual Homelessness Memorial Vigil and Awareness Day.


The day will kick off early at 8:00am in the Card Room. People will be present there all day from 8 – 3:30pm to share information, connect with their representatives, see the work being done around the state, and to be a part of the conversation on which strategies are working in reducing homelessness and which ones still need work.

At Noon community members, elected officials, and advocates will take to the State House steps for a Vigil to remember our friends and neighbors who have died without homes, and to bring awareness of the struggles of those still searching for safe and secure housing.

At 3:30pm be in the House Gallery to hear the House read a Resolution and recognize those experiencing homelessness and the work being done by homeless service providers and advocates.

Please click here for a downloadable flyer to print and distribute. Thank you all for your continued commitment to helping to end homelessness in Vermont and we look forward to seeing many of you on January 7th!


Housing Division Rules – Mobile Home Parks

Posted December 16, 2015

Statutory changes were enacted this year in Act 8 (2015) which affect the mobile home park law. The changes include expanding the Department of Housing & Community Development’s enforcement authority to include administrative penalties, changes to the warranty of habitability specifically concerning park roads, and changes to the eviction process that will require mobile homes to be removed or sold after an eviction.

To implement these changes the Department is amending the Housing Division Rules for Mobile Home Parks and Mobile Home Park Warranty of Habitability. The State rule making process includes four “Filings” with the Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules, The Secretary of State, a Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules, and a final filing of the Adopted Rules. We anticipate the rules will go into effect on approximately April 15, 2016.

To maximize public input, the Department has created a special webpage for the rule making process where you can access the proposed amendments and submit comments or plan to attend a public hearing:

The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 4:30PM at the Department of Housing & Community Development located at 1 National Life Drive, Davis Building, 6th Floor, Montpelier, VT 05620. For more information see the link above or email


Request for Proposals: Community Organizer

Posted December 11, 2015

The Housing Trust of Rutland County (HTRC) and NeighborWorks of Western Vermont (NWWVT) share a strong commitment to resident engagement in the neighborhoods that they serve. NWWVT and HTRC are collaborating to contract with an individual with community organizing skills and experience. This individual will engage with residents in the Northwest Neighborhood of Rutland City, encourage residents to voice their ideas, thoughts and issues, and support their efforts to bring this voice into community development actions.

The work under the initial contract would start immediately upon award and would be completed on or before December 31, 2016. Please contact for a full Request for Proposal description. The deadline for submitting proposals is 12:00 noon on January 4, 2016. Proposals should be submit electronically to AND Special thanks to the Vermont Community Foundation for funding this initiative.


VAHC TV: Pathways from Poverty

Posted December 7, 2015

Host Erhard Mahnke speaks with Linda Ryan, Executive Director of the Samaritan House in St. Albans and Co-Chair of the Governor’s Council on Pathways from Poverty. Erhard and Linda review the Council’s recent report and recommendations to the Governor. To watch the program, view the embedded link below or click here. You can also view the program on-air on Tuesday, December 8, 15, and 22 at 4:30pm on Channel 17/Town Meeting TV.


Cathedral Square Wins Annual TD Charitable Foundation Housing for Everyone Affordable Housing Grant Competition, Awarded $100,000 for Elm Place

Posted December 2, 2015

Cathedral Square was recently awarded a $100,000 affordable housing grant through the TD Charitable Foundation’s Housing for Everyone grant competition. The grant will be used to help fund the construction of Elm Place, a new affordable housing community in Milton, Vermont.

Cathedral Square’s Elm Place will be a service-enriched senior housing community located on a smart growth site in the heart of Milton’s downtown. This thoughtfully positioned property will sit adjacent to UVM Medical Center’s Milton Family Practice and near the senior center, pharmacy, grocery store, churches, and library, with sidewalks providing walking access to all of these services. Features will include a community room with kitchen, lounge, elevators, laundry facilities, storage, underbuilding parking, and an outdoor courtyard for social gatherings. The building will be energy efficient and the first certified Passive House multifamily building in Vermont. Of the 30-units in this property, 28 will be tax credit units for seniors earning less than 60% of area median income (AMI) and two will be market rate. Elm Place will offer SASHSM (Support And Services at Home) at no cost for residents.

“There is a significant need for service- enriched, safe, affordable senior housing in Milton,” states Kim Fitzgerald, CEO, Cathedral Square. “TD Charitable Foundation’s generous grant will help to ensure Elm Place is completed in early 2017 to provide comfortable, secure homes to many of Milton’s deserving elderly residents.”

This year’s “Housing for Everyone” theme was Affordable Housing for Seniors, focusing on initiatives that support the development of safe, affordable, accessible housing for older adults, aged 55 and over.

The Housing for Everyone grant competition is one of the TD Charitable Foundation’s most widely known signature programs. The competition invites local non-profit organizations from Maine to Florida to submit proposals outlining their plans and initiatives to support and provide affordable housing initiatives in their communities. Twenty-five organizations throughout TD Bank’s footprint from Maine to Florida were awarded a $100,000 grant for a total grant donation of $2.5 million in 2015.

For the full press release and to read more about Cathedral Square and the TD Charitable Foundation, click here.


Job Opportunity: Section 8 Field Representative at the Vermont State Housing Authority


Vermont State Housing Authority, statewide housing provider, needs a professional individual to handle all field operations for Section 8/McKinney funded housing rental programs in Addison county, & parts of Chittenden county. Responsibilities include working with clients, landlords & community organizations; mediating issues; administering & enforcing contracts with property owners; & performing annual reexaminations of tenants & inspections of units under the program. Bachelor’s Degree & two years’ work experience in public or private housing field, including public contact. Individual will be home-based & must reside in Addison or Chittenden county. Extensive driving required, including weekly trips to the central office in Montpelier. Position is full time 40 hours per week. For full position details visit Cover letter & resume to HR, VSHA, One Prospect St., Montpelier, VT 05602-3556. VSHA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Additionally, VSHA is still recruiting for a Site Specialist. For more information on this position, click here.



COTS Opens Winter Warming Shelter

Posted December 1, 2015

The Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS), in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Human Services and other local groups, opened a 40-bed Winter Warming Shelter on Nov. 3 in downtown Burlington.

The winter-only emergency shelter will operate 6 p.m.-7 a.m., seven nights a week, through March 31, 2016, as a more effective and less costly alternative to the previous system of motel vouchers.

“This shelter will be an ongoing resource each winter to ensure there is a safe, warm refuge during the harshest months,” said Rita Markley, COTS executive director.

This new winter refuge is being launched to provide a safe place for people who are homeless, reduce the expensive use of overflow motels, and to redirect any savings toward prevention and long-term housing.

The seasonal warming shelter is funded by the Vermont Agency of Human Services and through charitable contributions.

“The COTS Winter Warming Shelter is an excellent example of community partner collaboration,” said DCF Commissioner Ken Schatz. “We deeply appreciate COTS and the support of the City of Burlington, the UVM Medical Center, United Way, and the housing advocates and providers of Chittenden County for helping us make this important service happen.”

The new Winter Warming Shelter, located at 179 S. Winooski Ave., operates in addition to the COTS’ year-round emergency shelter – the Waystation – that provides 36 program shelter beds, 365 nights a year.

The seasonal shelter is staffed by well-trained professionals and volunteers. Staffing includes COTS shelter staff, per diem nurses, and a professional security company that monitors interior and exterior perimeters from 6 p.m. to midnight. More than 30 volunteers also plan to donate their time to help at the shelter.

Volunteers and staff received trainings on CPR, first aid, de-escalation, intake and data collection, motivational interviewing, and other services.

In addition to collaboration with the City of Burlington and downtown business community, COTS is working closely with the Burlington District Office of Economic Services Division on referrals; 211 is advised daily on the availability of bed for after-hours calls. COTS has partnered with the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO), Howard Center, Spectrum, and Safe Harbor Health Center on logistics, planning and services. Additionally, an advisory committee includes the Mayor’s Office, Howard Center, Church Street Marketplace, Burlington Police Department, Champlain Housing Trust, and United Way of Chittenden County.

The University of Vermont Medical Center provides bed linens and laundering services, as well as first aid supplies. Additional bunk beds and mattresses were provided by Saint Michael’s College.

“Congratulations to COTS, the other members of the Continuum of Care, and all involved in opening a permanent, seasonal, low-barrier warming shelter,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “This shelter addresses a long-standing, critical gap in our community’s safety net, providing protection and support to our most vulnerable as we committed to both in the City’s Housing Action Plan and the 2015 State of the City.”

CVOEO operated a trial 20-bed winter warming shelter in the former Ethan Allen Club in February, March and April. This effort served as a prototype for this year’s shelter run by COTS. Of the individuals who stayed in that pilot shelter, 14 people found employment, 10 people moved into transitional or permanent housing, and six people entered treatment. The shelter also reduced emergency room costs at the UVM Medical Center.