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Register Now for 2014 3SquaresVT Outreach & Policy Conference

Posted April 3, 2014

3SquaresVT, the largest federal nutrition program, provides benefits to 93,000 Vermonters.  On Thursday, May 29, 2014 a 3SquaresVT Outreach and Policy Conference will take place at the Red Schoolhouse at Vermont Technical College in Randolph. This conference will offer an opportunity to gain a deeper knowledge of 3SquaresVT participation processes from the DCF food and nutrition team, learn about recent and upcoming federal and state policy changes, enhance outreach skills with media and messaging, network with colleagues from across the state, and participate in focused discussions with seasoned advocates.

Register online now!

A broad range of organizations and people are invited to attend including those from community action agencies, agencies on aging, food shelves, community meal sites, schools, health clinics and hospitals, shelters, veterans organizations, housing authorities, child care centers and more.

 
Agenda at a Glance

8:30 – 9:00        Registration & Refreshments
9:00 – 9:30        Welcome with Hunger Free Vermont and DCF
9:30 – 10:45      Workshop Session I (choose one to attend)

  1. 3SquaresVT participation process – with DCF
  2. Expand your outreach toolkit: Tips & tools to spread the word about 3SquaresVT with free earned media and social media
  3. Make the most of benefits: Important income considerations and deductions for families with children

10:45 – 11:00     Break
11:00 – 12:15     Workshop Session II (choose one to attend)

  1. 3SquaresVT participation process – with DCF (repeat)
  2. Breaking down barriers: How to address stigma and bust negative myths about 3SquaresVT
  3. Make the Most of Your Benefits: The medical expense deduction for seniors and people with disabilities

12:15 – 1:00    Lunch & Networking (lunch provided)
1:00 – 2:00      Outreach & Application Assistance Round Tables
2:00 – 2:15      Sharing Insights For Our Work
2:15 – 3:00      Q&A with DCF Experts
3:00 – 3:15      Closing: Thank You & Evaluation

The conference day is being coordinated by Hunger Free Vermont in collaboration with the Department for Children and Families and the statewide 3SquaresVT Work Group.

Conference Fee: There is a $10 non-refundable fee to attend, which includes a light breakfast and lunch. If you have any difficulties registering or the fee is a hardship, contact Hunger Free Vermont at 802-865-0255.

Questions about registration or the agenda?  Contact Angela or Faye at Hunger Free Vermont at asmith-dieng@hungerfreevt.org and fconte@hungerfreevt.org.

Space is limited, so register today to guarantee your spot!

 



Shining a Light on Poverty: Monthly Discussions to Take Place in 2014

Posted December 30, 2013

In honor of 50 years of community action in Vermont, the Office of Economic Opportunity, Department for Children and Families will be hosting a series of one-hour discussions on poverty every month in 2014.

The discussion series will take place on the following dates, be sure to mark your calendar:

  • January 30, February 27, & March 27
  • April 24, May 29, & June 26
  • July 31, August 28, & September 25
  • October 30, November 20, & December 18

Further details, including time and location, will be emailed to Agency of Human Services staff and partners a few weeks before each discussion and available online at http://dcf.vermont.gov/oeo.

 



Emergency GA rule posted to DCF/ESD website

Posted August 2, 2013

The Department for Children and Families/Economic Services Division (DCF/ESD) has posted the revised Emergency rule, which went into effect on August 1, 2013, to its website: http://dcf.vermont.gov/esd/rules. The new rule makes vouchers available to individuals who are 65 and older, have a child age 6 or younger, women who are in their third trimester of pregnancy, and individuals who have applied for or received SSI/SSDI. The rule also maintains the point system but lowers the eligibility threshold to 4 points for other vulnerable populations.

In addition, DCF/ESD has posted the proposed permanent rule to replace the emergency rule at the end of November, and a second, related proposed rule pertaining to the catastrophic eligibility criteria for temporary housing. The rule proposes to clarify catastrophic eligibility criteria and align rules with current department practice.

If you would like to testify at the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR) on August 22 on the emergency rule, you need to contact Katie Pickens:

Katie Pickens, Committee Assistant
Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR)
State House – Montpelier 05633
802-828-5760
kpickens@leg.state.vt.us

Send comments to Erhard Mahnke, Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition, at erhardm@vtaffordablehousing.org

 

 

 



DCF unveils new emergency housing proposal

Posted July 24, 2013

Vermont housing advocates met with officials from the Department for Children and Families yesterday to discuss revising the agency’s proposal that would limit access to emergency motel vouchers.  The original plan required Vermonters who had not experienced a catastrophic event to meet 6 points on a scale of vulnerability in order to become eligible for a motel voucher.

At yesterday’s meeting, DCF unveiled their new proposal which would maintain the point system, but lower the eligibility threshold to 4 points. Additionally, the plan makes vouchers available to individuals who are 65 or older, have a child age 6 or younger, women in their third trimester of pregnancy, and individuals who have applied for or received SSI/SSDI.

Advocates at yesterday’s meeting generally felt the new proposal was more fair and inclusive, and appreciated the opportunity to collaborate and provide input. Linda Ryan, Director of the Samaritan House in St. Albans, stated, “I think we are way ahead of where we were to begin with. You’ve done a tremendous job of listening to us and adapting.”

Coverage of the story in local media:

Link to VTDigger.org Article, 7/23/2013

WCAX.com, 7/23/2013

Fox44/ABC22 News, 7/23/2013

Seven Days VT – Fair Game, 7/24/2013 

Seven Days VT – The Scoreboard, July 26, 2013

Rutland Herald – July 28, 2013

 

 



VTDigger: State may pull back on new rules governing motel stays for homeless

Posted July 18, 2013

By Alicia Freese. Reposted from VTDigger, July 17, 2013.

The state is revamping a controversial proposal to limit emergency housing in motels for homeless Vermonters.

Commissioner David Yacovone says he is “guardedly optimistic” that the Department of Children and Families will be able to relax the rules that determine who among the state’s homeless can stay in motels when shelters are full.

The standards will still be more stringent than they’ve been in previous years — the Legislature lopped off a large amount from the motel budget — but DCF is revisiting its initial proposal for paring back the program.

DCF was poised to put a temporary fix in place. It had devised a point system, based on 11 categories of eligibility, that would have drastically cut back the number of people who would be eligible for motel vouchers.   

Advocates protested, arguing that the department’s approach would make it nearly impossible for anyone to qualify, and DCF has since backtracked. It pushed the deadline back for implementing new rules and scheduled several meetings for advocates to weigh in…”

Link to Full VTDigger Article 
View PDF of Full VTDigger Article

 



Rutland Herald: Vt. to cut motel stays for homeless

Posted July 15, 2013

Director of the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition (VAHC) Erhard Mahnke and Co-chair of the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness, Jeanne Montross, were both interviewed for an article that appeared in yesterday’s Rutland Herald discussing changes to the General Assistance Emergency Housing rules. The new rules will make it difficult for vulnerable Vermonters to qualify for motel vouchers as well as shorten their length of stay. The new policies were scheduled to go into effect today, July 15, but that date has been pushed back to August 1 thanks to the work of the VAHC and other housing and homelessness advocates who have spoken out against the new policies.

In response to the delay, DCF Commission David Yacovone stated, “We can’t walk away from the budget — it is the law — but if by working together we can make some changes that will serve more people, we will consider that.”

PDF of Full Rutland Herald Article

 

 



Community Housing Grants – Funding Opportunity

Posted March 19, 2013

The Department for Children & Families, Economic Services Division announces the availability of funding for community partners to work jointly to develop and implement coordinated community responses to prevent and address homelessness of individuals and families in their region.  One Community Housing Grant will be awarded in each of the Agency of Human Services (AHS) twelve districts throughout the state.

There will be a conference call on Wednesday, March 27 at 10:00am to provide more information. The call-in information is:

Call in#: 1-866-579-8110
PIN#: 808325 

View Community Housing Grant RFP

Applications are due no later than 4:00pm on Friday, April 26, 2013.

All questions regarding this Funding Opportunity Announcement should be submitted to Christine Dalley, Economic Services Division, (802) 793-3101 or chris.dalley@state.vt.us 

 



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

 



State wants to end practice of housing homeless individuals in motels

Posted February 11, 2013

By: Alicia Freese. Reposted from VTDigger.org, February 10, 2013.

Faced with soaring costs and concerns that the program is being abused, the state wants to shut the door on the practice of housing homeless individuals in motels.

Motels are the department’s fallback option when people without financial resources need temporary housing and shelters are full. The change would be considerable — nearly half the hotel vouchers the Department for Children and Families gives out go to single individuals, according to DCF Commissioner Dave Yacavone.

In 2009, the department expanded its eligibility requirements to allow individuals to access hotels or motels through what’s called the Temporary Assistance program. Prior to that, only families and individuals in “catastrophic” situations like floods or fires could get hotel vouchers…”

Link to Full VTDigger Article 

View Full VTDigger Article

 

 



Leaders Question Program that Puts Vermont’s Homeless in Motels

Posted February 5, 2013

By: Kathryn Flagg. Seven Days, January 30, 2013.

“When temperatures plunged below zero degrees in mid-January, Vermont’s homeless shelters filled up fast. Desperate to find more available beds, state workers turned to their next best option: local motels.

The number of subsidized stays spiked during the cold snap, but lodging the homeless is not just a winter phenomenon; it’s an all-season problem. During the last fiscal year, the state picked up the tab for more than 38,000 overnight stays in Vermont motels at a cost of more than $2.2 million — a 55 percent increase over the previous year.

And the problem appears to be getting worse: Gov. Peter Shumlin’s midyear budget adjustment proposal for the current fiscal year calls for a $2.1 million hike in the general assistance fund. Most of that will go to supplement the $1.6 million already budgeted for temporary housing, according to Deputy Commissioner Richard Giddings of the Department of Children and Families.

‘I know that we are running hot,” Giddings admits. “I don’t know where we’re going to end up…’”

Link to Seven Days article 

View PDF of Seven Days article

 



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