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Job Opportunity: Seasonal Shelter Assistant Coordinator, COTS

Posted September 29, 2015

COTS has an anticipated opening for a full time Seasonal Shelter Assistant Coordinator beginning mid-October 2015 through mid-April 2016. The Seasonal Shelter Assistant Coordinator manages an approximately 40 bed emergency shelter serving single adults, some who may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Responsibilities of this position include supervising all shelter staff and volunteers, overseeing daily operations for the shelter space, shaping ongoing operational policies, and collaborating with COTS staff and community partners on guest and shelter needs. The Seasonal Shelter Assistant Coordinator fosters a safe, positive environment for shelter clients while adeptly managing conflicts and crisis situations. The Seasonal Shelter Assistant Coordinator will be the primary intake worker at the shelter with approximately 25 direct service hours per week.

Successful applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work or other related Human Services field and 3-5 years’ experience in direct social services. Supervisory experience and crisis management skills required, along with knowledge of and experience with issues relating to homelessness, substance use, mental illness and trauma. Strong Microsoft Office experience required; experience with Foothold database or Homeless Management Information Systems desired.

The shelter will operate from 6pm to 7am, 7 days a week. This position will have set daytime and weeknight hours, as well as potential weekend hours. As such, flexibility and ability to work daytime hours, overnight week and weekend hours required. This is a seasonal 40 hour per week contracted position without benefits; the rate of pay is approximately $25 per hour.

To apply, submit your resume and cover letter to

AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other national service alumni are encouraged to apply to COTS positions.

COTS is an Equal Opportunity Employer.



Gov. Shumlin Announces Strategy to End Family Homelessness by 2020

Posted March 31, 2015

With over 1,500 Vermonters without housing on any given night and families with children now making up half of all people in emergency shelters, Gov. Peter Shumlin and Human Services Secretary Hal Cohen today announced a statewide strategy for ending child and family homelessness in Vermont by 2020. The Governor and Secretary made the announcement while celebrating a grant of more than a half-million dollars to rehabilitate and increase the number affordable housing units in Chittenden County, helping to relieve a shortage that affects all of those who face homelessness.

“Even with serious budget challenges, we are fortunate in Vermont to have many of the programs and partnerships already in place to support an ambitious initiative,” Gov. Shumlin said. “We can build on these foundations to achieve the goal of ending childhood and family homelessness by 2020.”

The administration’s initiative adopts the national strategy supported by the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, and others. Vermont’s plan will bring together programs operated by the Agency of Human Services, federal programs providing housing and shelter assistance, and local organizations that provide shelter, housing and services to Vermonters who are homeless or at-risk. The full three-part plan to attack homelessness includes:

  1. Adopting the national “Family Connection” framework, developed by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, to ensure that local communities have a coordinated system for assessing families’ housing needs and connecting them to the appropriate benefits, employment, and evidence-based intervention the first time.
  2. Bringing together rental subsidy programs with intensive services for people who are homeless so that families can get into housing faster and local providers spend less time chasing and coordinating resources and more time addressing and resolving the root causes that led to homelessness.
  3. Bringing together rental subsidy programs with intensive services for people who are homeless so that families can get into housing faster and local providers spend less time chasing and coordinating resources and more time addressing and resolving the root causes that led to homelessness.

During this announcement, Gov. Shumlin also presented a $580,000 grant for the construction and rehabilitation of fourteen new affordable apartments and a day station for the homeless at 95 North Avenue in Burlington. The project is being developed by the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) and Housing Vermont. To read the full press release, click here. For more information on the full, three-part plan, click here.

For further media coverage, see the links below:
Shumlin: End Family Homelessness by 2020 (Burlington Free Press)
Shumlin Announces Plan to End Family, ChildHood Homelessness By 2020 (VT Digger)
Grant Bolsters COTS’ North Avenue Plans (Seven Days)
Governor’s New Plan to End Family Homelessness (WPTZ)
State Goal: End Homelessness in VT by 2020 (Rutland Herald)
VT Agencies Commit to End Family Homelessness in 5 Years (
Shumlin Unveils Homelessness Strategy (WCAX)


COTS Launches #172VT Campaign to Help Homeless Kids

Posted March 16, 2015

Last week COTS launched their #172VT Campaign to bring attention to the issue of child homelessness in Chittenden County and beyond. Read below to learn more:

Our #172vt campaign is an effort to bring attention to the urgent and growing needs of homeless children. The number of homeless children nationally has surged in recent years to all-time record highs. Vermont has echoed these disturbing trends. Today, one in every 30 children in the United States is homeless.

Every year, we examine the issue in our own community. We conduct a count of homeless students and toddlers in Chittenden County. These children are often the hidden and unseen face of homelessness.

This year, there were 140 school-aged children, plus 32 children under age 5. That makes 172 homeless children in our community.

We see #172vt as a call to action. A call to contact legislators about the importance of more affordable housing and a call to join us for the annual COTS Walk, to walk in solidarity with the homeless families in our towns and cities. The more #172vt is visable, the greater effect it will have in garnering support for the cause.

Let all of your friends and followers know that you think 172 homeless children in our community is unacceptable. Use the hashtag (#172vt) to join a community of people fighting against childhood homelessness. Tweet a storm! Take to Instagram! Flood Facebook! Do anything you can to get the word out about the #172vt campaign.

The rising trend in family homelessness can have dire effects on a child, but there has been little media coverage. We want to change that with #172vt.

For more information and to learn more about how you can get involved, click here. For further coverage in the local media, including a video clip from WCAX News, see the links below:

172 Students, 172 Reasons to Raise Awareness (My Champlain Valley Fox 44 & ABC 22)
COTS Encourages a Call to Action for Homeless Kids (WPTZ)
COTS: Kid Homelessness is a ‘Community Crisis’ (Burlington Free Press)
COTS Launches Campaign to Help Homeless Kids (WCAX)


WCAX Reports on Rise in Use of Motel Vouchers This Winter

Posted January 15, 2015

A recent report from WCAX indicates that the use of motel vouchers for the ‘cold weather exception’ program are on the rise. Below is an excerpt from the article:

Last year the Department for Children and Families spent just over a million dollars providing vouchers for the ‘cold weather exception’ program and applications for help are up.

DCF points to stats from the start of the winter season last year when nearly 3,100 adults and 550 kids used vouchers.

That’s up from about 1,850 adults and 225 kids during the same period in 2013.

DCF officials say the rise of using these vouchers is because of the increase in homelessness and the cost of living in Vermont. They tout screening measures aimed to cut down on program abuse.

“If we have some concerns that there are some inaccuracies or there’s something missing we have a process in place we’re we verify that information before either granting or denying that application,” said Sean Brown, DCF.

Organizations like COTS and Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity are working to help with the high demand for shelter. CVOEO is hoping to have the Ethan Allen Club in Burlington open by Feb. 9 as a temporary shelter this winter. That building would house up to 20 people at night, but when there’s no room at the shelters, CVOEO and COTS use the state voucher program.

“I don’t think anybody believes that spending $40 or $50 or $70 a night on a motel is a great investment. But until we have the alternative emergency options available you can’t really pull that out,” said Rita Markley, COTS executive director.

Because of the large increase in families with children using vouchers, DCF says they’re bringing it to the attention of the state Legislature, hoping to work on the issue.

To read the entire article click here and view the video coverage embedded below or in the link previously provided.


Job Opportunity: Case Management Coordinator at COTS

Posted October 14, 2014

Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS), a nonprofit recognized nationally as a model for innovative programs that provides emergency shelter, services, and housing for those who are without homes or who are at risk of homelessness, is looking for a Case Management Coordinator. The Case Management Coordinator is responsible for the supervision of a talented team of case management professionals and for guiding the delivery of services to clients who are homeless. The Coordinator provides regular support and supervision for the case management team, and crisis intervention as necessary. The Case Management Coordinator is responsible for maintaining and upholding professional standards and practice for service delivery. This position will work collaboratively with the COTS leadership team on program and policy development.

The ideal candidate will have a Master’s Degree in an appropriate discipline, MSW & LICSW preferred, minimum of three years of supervisory experience, and three to five years of related human service experience. Strong Microsoft Office, Excel skills and database experience (i.e. Foothold, HousingWorks, ServicePoint) required. The successful candidate should be familiar with the needs of the homeless population; have a working knowledge of mental illness and substance abuse issues; be familiar with community resources, and have a commitment to COTS mission.

Submit your resume, cover letter, and salary requirements to Please, no phone calls; electronic applications preferred. EOE. To view and download this description click here (DOC format).



COTS Seeking to Hire Family Shelter Assistant Coordinator

Posted May 21, 2014

COTS Family Shelter is seeking an Assistant Coordinator to work collaboratively with the COTS leadership team.  Responsibilities include program and policy development; client service and staff development.  This position helps to oversee emergency shelter operations and programs and will work collaboratively with internal and external social service providers.

MSW strongly preferred, with experience working with substance abuse, mental illness and individuals with trauma histories. Minimum of 3 years of experience working in social services with a minimum of 2 years of supervisory/management experience required.  Reliability, independent decision making ability, excellent computer skills, comfort with public speaking, and knowledge of community resources also required.

This is a full time position with benefits.  To receive best consideration, submit your resume, cover letter, and salary requirements to



COTS Annual Meeting & Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast

Posted October 8, 2013

On Friday, October 25 join the Committee On Temporary Shelter (COTS) for their annual meeting and volunteer appreciation breakfast.

The meeting will take place at 8 a.m. Friday, October 25, 2013, at the First Congregational Church located at 38 South Winooski Avenue in Burlington. There is parking nearby at the Marketplace parking garage.  Please RSVP to or call 802.864.4202.




Burlington Free Press: Point system for the homeless would limit motel stays

Posted July 23, 2013

Media coverage of the changes to the General Assistance Emergency Housing Rules continues this week in the Burlington Free Press. Yesterday’s article focuses on the proposed point system, which would require Vermonters to meet 6 points on a scale of vulnerability in order to be eligible for a motel voucher.

The new rules were scheduled to go into effect last Monday, July 15, but that date has been pushed back to Thursday, August 1 because of the work of housing advocates across the state. Advocates continue to meet with state officials this week in an attempt to revise the changes to better meet the needs of vulnerable Vermonters.

Link to Full Burlington Free Press Article
PDF of Full Burlington Free Press Article

Link to USA Today Article, July 23, 2013

Illustration by Abby Westcott


New grant awarded for innovative model to help families move beyond shelters and overflow motels

Posted June 4, 2013

Last week, the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) announced the Family Supportive Housing Grant, which will provide more housing options for Vermont families. The $130,000 grant, which combines public funding and private foundation support, was awarded by the Agency of Human Services, and will unite the Champlain Housing Trust, the Howard Center, and COTS in providing 12-15 families with transitional housing. By providing homes, these organizations are making it possible for families to move out of motels and shelters into more stable and supportive housing.

Description of how the program works, provided by COTS:

“5 units of housing will be provided by the Champlain Housing Trust at Winchester Place in Colchester.  COTS will master lease these units on behalf of families who are homeless and regaining housing through this program. These families will pay COTS a program fee in lieu of rent to develop a housing payment track record. These funds will then be used to subsidize the cost of rent in the second year of the program.

A master’s level, clinically trained mental health clinician from the HowardCenter, called a “Family Supportive Housing Coordinator,” will provide intensive services to families throughout their first year of housing.  The FSH Coordinator will collaborate with COTS staff and other service providers to provide a high level of support to participating families.

COTS Housing Resource Center will help families with the lease agreements, assist with credit repair, and regaining financial stability. COTS’ HRC will administer the “Pay It Forward Fund,” described below. COTS staff also will search for additional rental units to add to this program.

Families will be provided with a host of resources to help them become financially stable. These include connection to financial literacy programs, budgeting, assistance with banking arrangements, and tax filing.”

Link to COTS website for more information

Read more about this project in the news:
Burlington Free Press


The Latest on Motel Spending: DCF, Lawmakers Look to Slash Budget

Posted February 14, 2013

By Kathryn Flagg. Reposted from Seven Days Vermont, February 12, 2013.

Amid growing criticism of an expensive state practice that houses homeless Vermonters in motels, the Department of Children and Families is floating a new proposal to slash funding to the controversial program. The idea? Cut funding entirely for single individuals, rather than families, who currently receive nearly half of the hotel vouchers dispensed by the state. 

A proposal from Sen. Tim Ashe (Chittenden) would go even further; in legislation he plans to introduce later this week, Ashe is recommending dialing back motel spending entirely by July 1, 2015, and instead allocating the roughly $2 million Vermont spent on motel vouchers in fiscal year 2012 to a suite of other measures, including transitional housing, better case management for homeless individuals, and homeless prevention programs…”

Link to Full Seven Days Article 

PDF of Full Seven Days Article


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