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REMINDER: Homelessness Awareness Day & Memorial Vigil – Tomorrow, State House

Posted January 4, 2017

REMINDER
HOMELESSNESS AWARENESS DAY & MEMORIAL VIGIL
THURSDAY, JANUARY 5
STATE HOUSE, MONTPELIER

 

Every year in January concerned citizens and housing and homeless service providers from across Vermont gather at the State House in Montpelier for a day to engage their representatives and senators and to renew the commitment to end homelessness in our state. This year, the annual Homelessness Awareness Day and Memorial Vigil will take place on Thursday, January 5th, 2017. Please join us!

AGENDA

  • **NEW**Coffee & muffins, Cafeteria: 7:30 – 9:00 AM
  • Legislative Awareness Day, Card Room: 7:30 AM-2 PM
  • Reading of Legislative Resolution and Recognition of Homeless Service Providers and Advocates, House Gallery: 9:30 AM
  • Memorial Vigil, State House Steps: Noon

The day will kick off early at 7:30am with coffee and muffins in the Cafeteria. This will be a great time to meet with your representatives and senators to discuss the good work you and your organization are doing.  To make your time at the state house most effective, please be sure to reach out to lawmakers prior to the event to ask them to meet with you.

People will be present in the Card Room all morning and into the afternoon to educate lawmakers about the work being done around the state, about which strategies are working, and what still needs to be done to help end homelessness in Vermont.

At 9:30am, please be in the House Gallery to hear the reading of a resolution recognizing those experiencing homelessness and the work being done by homeless service providers and advocates.

At Noon community members, elected officials, and advocates will take to the State House steps for the annual Memorial 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, affordable and secure housing.

Please note that it is also Governor-elect Scott’s inauguration day, and so it would be best to arrive in Montpelier as early as possible to account for the special security measures at the State House that day.

For more information, contact MaryEllen Mendl at maryellen@unitedwaysvt.org, or Erhard Mahnke at erhardm@vtaffordablehousing.  Click here for the event flyer.

We hope to see you tomorrow!

Erhard Mahnke, Coordinator
——————————————–
Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition
802-660-9484 (wk) | 802-233-2902 (cell)
erhardm@vtaffordablehousing.org
www.vtaffordablehousing.org

 

vtha17

 



Homelessness Awareness Day and Memorial Vigil – January 5th, State House

Posted December 28, 2016

Every year in January concerned citizens and housing and homeless service providers from across Vermont gather at the State House in Montpelier for a day to engage their representatives and to renew the commitment to end homelessness in our state. This year, the annual Homelessness Awareness Day and Memorial Vigil will take place on Thursday, January 5th, 2017. Please join us!

Agenda

  • Legislative Awareness Day, Card Room: 7:30 AM-2 PM
  • Reading of Legislative Resolution and Recognition of Homeless Service Providers and Advocates, House Gallery: 9:30 AM
  • Memorial Vigil, State House Steps: Noon

The day will kick off early at 7:30am in the Card Room. People will be present all morning and into the afternoon to educate lawmakers about the work being done around the state, about which strategies are working, and what still needs to be done to help end homelessness in Vermont. Please use this time to meet with legislators and discuss the good work you and your organization are doing in your region. To make your time at the state house most effective, please be sure to reach out to lawmakers prior to the event to ask them to meet with you.

At 9:30pm be in the House Gallery to hear the reading of a resolution recognizing those experiencing homelessness and the work being done by homeless service providers and advocates.

At Noon community members, elected officials, and advocates will take to the State House steps for the annual Memorial 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, affordable and secure housing.

Please circulate our flyer to your networks to help raise awareness about the day and increase turnout. Please note that it is also Governor-elect Scott’s inauguration day, and so it would be best to arrive in Montpelier as early as possible to account for the special security measures at the State House that day. We hope to see you there!

For more information, contact MaryEllen Mendl at maryellen@unitedwaysvt.org, or Erhard Mahnke at erhardm@vtaffordablehousing.

 vtha17

 



Building Flourishing Communities

Posted November 10, 2016

The Building Flourishing Communities Summit happens on December 1st and 2nd at Lake Morey. We believe the summit will give us the foundation to move from ACEs to action.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study showed us the connection between early childhood adversity and later risky behavior and poor health outcomes.

What we do with that information, however, has been a question. How do we use the power of the ACEs study to help us move forward in a strength-based manner? How do we apply our new knowledge on a population level?

Come work with us as we answer these questions and strengthen our state-wide network in order to Build Flourishing Communities!

Please register ASAP – we are already half-full and will close on-line registration on Nov. 17th. This week we are sending this reminder email to community groups and other non-Agency of Human Services lists. We will send a reminder out to everyone within the Agency of Human Services during the week of Nov 7th. We would like to have a strong showing from our communities, so please register now!

Room Reservations are handled directly by Lake Morey Resort at: reservations@lakemoreyresort.com or by calling 800-423-1211.

 

short-invite

 



VAHC & VCEH meetings – Sept 20, Old Labor Hall, Barre – Sue Minter & Phil Scott confirmed

Posted September 13, 2016

Dear Coalition Members and Friends,

This is a quick reminder for next Tuesday’s Annual Joint Meeting of the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition and the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness.  After lunch, the VAHC Annual Meeting and the VCEH monthly meeting will be held concurrently at the same location:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
9:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Old Labor Hall
46 Granite St, Barre, VT
(Directions below)

We hope you or someone from your organization can attend!!  We have some very special guests and exciting agenda items confirmed:

  • Sue Minter, Democratic Party nominee for governor (at 9:45)
  • Lt. Governor Phil Scott, Republican Party nominee for governor (at 10:30)
  • Kate Ash (Sen. Leahy), Katarina Lisaius (Sen. Sanders) & Kevin Veller (Congr. Welch) will provide the latest updates from DC
  • Jen Hollar (VHCB) & Angus Chaney (AHS) will give an overview and update on the important “Roadmap to End Homelessness” initiative
  • Networking Lunch (at 12 noon, $5 donation requested)
  • VAHC Annual Meeting (1:00 – 2:00) & VCEH Monthly Meeting (1:00 – 2:30)

Here is a detailed meeting agenda.  Background materials will go out early next week.

We will meet with both major gubernatorial candidates separately to hear their thoughts on state policy and funding for affordable housing and homelessness and respond to questions from coalition members.  We are providing both candidates with a set of questions to help them frame their remarks and prepare them for likely questions during Q & A.

VAHC STEERING COMMITTEE & OFFICER ELECTIONS
At the VAHC annual meeting, members will be electing a Steering Committee and officers for the 2016/17 year.  We are fortunate to have six current members willing to continue serving.  Vice Chair Chris Donnelly from the Champlain Housing Trust, who has served for seven years, will be stepping down, as will Elizabeth Bridgewater from the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust.   We thank both for their valuable service to the Coalition.

The Coalition by-laws allow for up to nine people to serve on the Steering Committee.  As a result, there are up to three potential vacancies on the Steering Committee.  We are fortunate to have Alison Friedkin from Downstreet Housing & Community Development willing to join.  That leaves another two potential seats open.  Anyone who is interested should contact Chris at chris.donnelly@champlainhousingtrust.org, or Coalition Chair Ted Wimpey at twimpey@cvoeo.org.  The by-laws also permit nominations from the floor and call for direct election of officers by the membership.  Unless further interested candidates emerge, the Steering Committee recommends that members elect the following slate:

  • Ted Wimpey, Chair & Director, CVOEO Fair Housing Project
  • Sara Kobylenski, Treasurer & Executive Director, Upper Valley Haven
  • Cindy Reid, Secretary & Director of Development, Cathedral Square Corporation
  • Ray Brewster, At Large Member & Independent Consultant
  • Alison Friedkin, At Large Member & Director of Real Estate Development, Downstreet Housing & Community Development
  • Loralee Morrow, At Large Member & Regional Planner, Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission
  • Tyler Sweeten, At Large Member & Peer Advocate Counselor Coordinator, VT Center for Independent Living

Click here for current Steering Committee bios and contact info.

DIRECTIONS TO OLD LABOR HALL:  From I-89 North or South:

  • Take Exit 7 onto Rte. 62 and follow the signs into Barre.
  • At the 5th light (junction with Rte. 302), take a right onto Main Street.
  • Turn right onto Granite Street (beside Peoples United Bank).
  • The Old Labor Hall will be on your left after you cross the railroad tracks.

PARKING
The parking lot of the Old Labor Hall is shared with a commercial granite company that requires transportation and shipping access during business hours.  Parking is restricted for weekday use to areas closest to the OLH. Renters who block access may be asked to move.  Street and metered parking is available in areas around the Hall.

We will *not* be offering a call-in option for this meeting, but will resume that at the regular monthly VAHC meeting on October 12 in Montpelier.

Hope to see you next Tuesday!

 



SAVE THE DATE – Sept 20 Annual Meeting

Posted August 30, 2016

Joint Meeting of Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition &
Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness,
Annual VAHC Meeting &
Monthly VCEH Meeting

 

Dear Coalition Members and Friends,

The VAHC’s annual joint meeting with the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness (VCEH), our own Annual Meeting, and the VCEH’s monthly meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 20 from 9:30 – 2:30 at a location TBD, probably in Randolph or Central Vermont.

The agenda is still being finalized, but we have confirmed gubernatorial candidates Sue Minter and Lt. Governor Phil Scott.

The joint meeting will conclude with a networking lunch, followed by the VAHC Annual Meeting and the VCEH monthly meeting.  Here is the overall agenda for the day:

  •  9:30-12:00   VAHC & VCEH Joint Meeting
    • 9:45 – Sue Minter (confirmed)
    • 10:30 – Phil Scott (confirmed)
  • 12:00-1:00     Networking Lunch
  •  1:00-2:30      VAHC Annual Meeting & VCEH Monthly Meeting

We’ll send out the full, detailed agenda, location and background materials as soon as they are finalized.

Hope to see you on the 20th!

 



Survey: Roadmap for Ending Homelessness

Posted August 23, 2016

As you may know, a steering committee comprising housing and service providers, state agencies and funding organizations is overseeing an effort to accelerate our mutual  work to reduce homelessness and stabilize vulnerable populations.  The specific purpose is to build on existing efforts by developing a system for facilitating service-connected affordable housing options, building local capacity, determining costs and identifying available and needed resources.

The Committee has engaged the Corporation for Supportive Housing, which has assisted cities and states across the country with similar projects.  CSH is currently gathering information through interviews, facilitated meetings and an online survey as part of its assessment of current efforts and challenges encountered by experts in the field.  The feedback it receives will greatly inform its recommended “roadmap” for ending homelessness.

As Co-Chairs of the Roadmap Steering Committee, we hope you will take the time to complete this survey and share it with your colleagues and networks. We are especially interested in getting input from tenants, program participants and Vermonters with lived experience of homelessness. The survey will remain open until August 29th.

Your responses will be confidential and aggregated by staff at CSH.

Angus Chaney
Director of Housing
Vermont Agency of Human Services

Jen Hollar
Director of Policy
Vermont Housing and Conservation Board

PS – It’s hard to see from the front of the survey, but CSH has wired it in the background such that if you check the radio button for tenant/consumer/lived experience it jumps you ahead to questions that are more relevant for — and accessible to — non-practitioners. It’s set up that in most cases lay people should be able to complete it themselves if they have some familiarity and access to computers.

 



Coalition Launched to Increase Housing – Building Homes Together

Posted June 27, 2016

South Burlington, VT – Dozens of Chittenden County leaders in the fields of housing, business, local and state government, and social services announced this morning a new campaign to increase the production of housing and setting a target of 3,500 new homes created in the next five years.

The new coalition, called Building Homes Together, was formed by the Champlain Housing Trust, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and Housing Vermont and released an initial list of nearly 100 community leaders supporting the effort.

“Working together we will accomplish this goal,” said Brenda Torpy, CEO of Champlain Housing Trust. “For the sake of our communities, our workers and local economy, we will educate and advocate together for more housing.”

“The housing shortage in Chittenden County has been well noted with unhealthy vacancy rates and high rents,” added Charlie Baker, Executive Director of the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission. “Employers can’t find workers, and workers themselves spend more time in commutes and with a higher percentage of their paychecks on housing costs.”

Twenty percent of the 3,500 goal are targeted to be developed by nonprofit housing organizations. The remainder by private developers.

“This step-up in production will not just provide new homes and infrastructure for communities, it’ll be a boost to the economy and contribute to the tax base. Building homes together is a big win for all of us in Chittenden County,” said Nancy Owens, President of Housing Vermont.

The campaign will provide up-to-date data to the community on the need for and benefits of new housing, build cross-sector and public support for housing development, increasing access to capital, and supporting municipalities.

Individuals, businesses or organizations that wish to sign on and participate in the campaign are encouraged to by sending an email to Chris Donnelly at Champlain Housing Trust (chris@champlainhousingtrust.org). For more information, visit www.getahome.org/news/building-homes-together.

 



Gov. Shumlin Highlights Success in Reducing Homelessness and Re-confirms Commitment to End Family Homelessness By 2020

Posted April 21, 2016

Yesterday, Governor Shumlin signed an Executive Order related to Publicly Funded Housing for the Homeless. Below is an excerpt from the official press release that discusses the Order and progress being made to end homelessness in Vermont:

A year after establishing a commitment to end family homelessness in Vermont by 2020, Governor Peter Shumlin today announced a 28 percent decline in homelessness in the last year and issued a new Executive Order to increase access to affordable housing. The Order calls for owners of housing that receive state funds to make available at least 15 percent of their portfolio of housing units to Vermonters experiencing homelessness. By aligning supportive services, rental subsidies, and state investments in affordable housing, the State and private partners are working to ensure a continued focus on assisting vulnerable Vermonters.

“Vermont is a special place, a place where we take care of each other and with this Executive Order we are solidifying, formalizing and building upon the good work that has been done,” said Gov. Shumlin. “This Executive Order is taking a smarter, more cost effective approach to ending Homelessness in Vermont.”

The announcement comes as evidence is growing that the state’s focus to end homelessness is paying off. The recently released Annual Point in Time Count (PIT) Report shows for a second year in a row that the number of homeless Vermonters has declined. The 2016 Report showed an impressive 28% decline in the total number of Vermonters experiencing homelessness compared to the 2015 count.

To continue reading the full press release, click here.

The Executive Order can be found here.

 



Housing Vermont Scholarship Fund

Posted February 11, 2016

Residents of housing affiliated with Housing Vermont are eligible for an annual scholarship of up to $2,500. Scholarships are available for both degreed and non‐degreed programs as well as for those interested in taking classes which lead to certifications.

The funds can be used for tuition, materials & books, childcare, transportation, or other expenses related to enrolling in a program.
Scholarships for the 2016‐2017 school year will be announced in late spring 2016.

For a list of eligible housing sites, please visit the Housing Vermont web site at http://www.hvt.org/about-us/scholarships/.

For more information on the application process, please visit the VSAC (Vermont Student Assistance Corporation) web site at www.vsac.org.

To view and download an informational flyer, click here.

 



Morningside Shelter and Brattleboro Area Drop In Center Merge to Form Groundworks Collaborative

Posted May 26, 2015

Before a crowd of roughly 100 people gathered in the Brooks House atrium on Friday morning, Morningside Shelter and the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center publicly announced that they are merging to form a single organization under a new name: Groundworks Collaborative.

The Boards of Directors formally agreed to the merger at a joint board meeting on Tuesday, May 19. The organization will be fully functional under the new name as of the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, 2015; at that time Groundworks Collaborative will step into FY ’16 with a nearly $1 million budget. No staffing changes are planned at this time, as the organization is focused on maintaining all services currently provided by the two former organizations. However, growth is on the horizon for the new organization, which is currently finalizing its strategic plan for the next three years.

Groundworks’ Board President, Carla Lineback addressed the gathering, explaining that the unanimous decision to merge has come after a three-year process of working in collaboration to achieve improved services for clients of the two organizations. She described the journey, which has led the two Boards of Directors to hold joint Board meetings for the last five months in preparation for the merger. Lineback introduced Lucie Fortier (former Executive Director of the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center, and the new Associate Director of Groundworks Collaborative) and Josh Davis (former Executive Director of Morningside Shelter, and the new Executive Director of Groundworks Collaborative) and invited them both to speak about what each organization does, because she often hears people say, “I didn’t know you did all that!”

Fortier spoke about the growing numbers of Brattleboro area households utilizing both the Food Shelf and the Seasonal Emergency Shelter. She confirmed that the merger would strengthen client service by reducing gaps and streamlining services.

Davis reiterated the improved services, stating that, when these two organizations come together, “One plus one can really make three or more.” Davis thanked the staff of both organizations, saying, “The staff are just incredible and have been so supportive of this process.” Additionally, Davis had the honor of unveiling the name, Groundworks Collaborative, and the logo that will identify the new organization.

One of four guest speakers was Paul Dragon, Chief Administrator of the Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity, who quoted a compelling point outlined in Groundworks’ draft strategic plan that there is “consensus between clients, staff, and the community,” that the merger will improve services for the greater Brattleboro area. Dragon, a returned Peace Corps Volunteer having served in the west African nation of Mali, related stories of malnourished children and wells that had gone into disrepair, where a lack of coordinated efforts kept families in poverty with little change in their standard of living. “I believe the exact opposite will be true for Groundworks,” said Dragon, who reported he sees Groundworks as a visionary organization, well on its way to solving the problem of homelessness in this community.

Whitney Nichols, a former client of both organizations, and former member of the Drop In Center’s Board of Directors, told his story of being homeless while struggling with mental health and alcoholism. He spoke of the challenges he faced prior to finding affordable housing with the Windham and Windsor Housing Trust, and how pleased he is to see these two organizations come together to reduce gaps in services.

Connie Snow, Executive Director of the Windham and Windsor Housing Trust, an organization having recently completed a merger in 2011, reminded the leadership of Groundworks Collaborative that what matters most is not how big or small an organization is, but the focus on the mission and providing the highest level of service possible for the community.

Kate Ash, a Field Representative from Senator Patrick Leahy’s office, also addressed the attendees. She emphasized the work Senator Leahy has done for the past forty years to fight for the needs and well being of low-income Vermonters.

Davis fielded questions – including discussion of plans to seek an additional location to provide adequate space and improve services. Groundworks continues to work to find a permanent location for the seasonal emergency shelter, which will open again this coming November.

Davis also reminded all present that the third annual Camp for a Common Cause, a joint-fundraiser the two organizations have partnered to put on for the last two years, will take place this Friday, May 29th on the Brattleboro Common, and will double as a public celebration of the merger. The entire community is welcome and encouraged to attend.

MergerAnnouncementBrooksHouse

Photo credit: Jeff Woodward, Woodward Photography

 



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