On Thursday, the VT House of Representatives will debate a budget which includes major cuts to a program that pays for hotel rooms for homeless folks on the coldest nights of the year. Vermont spent $344,000 on the Cold Weather Exception in 2016, though that was down dramatically from $1.8 million in 2015 because of a more mild winter.
Legislators argue that money needs to be spent where we see the best results, and so using that money to fund shelters in Rutland and Montpelier would go further in helping to identify individuals who may be in need.
The state would continue to provide temporary emergency housing to victims of domestic violence, elderly and disabled Vermonters, pregnant women in their third trimester, and families with a child under age six. Those people qualify for motel rooms under catastrophic and vulnerable housing policies, which are different from the cold weather exception.