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Join OEO for Shining a Light on Poverty Series #8 with Anthony Poore on August 28th

Posted August 18, 2014

On August 28th from 10:00AM – 11:00AM the Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity will continue on with their year-long series of discussions about poverty.  For this month the theme of the discussion is titled “Universal Children’s Savings Accounts: New England Takes the Lead” and features guest speaker Anthony Poore from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.  Powerful research shows that savings accounts can impact the lives of low income children in many ways such as:

  • Savings is shown to provide low income children opportunities for economic mobility.
  • Savings increases expectations for the future — Savings = Aspirations in tangible form.
  • Children can build meaningful savings while learning about money and finance.
  • Children’s savings turn aspirations into achievement – there is a clear link between savings and college success:

If you are interested in hearing Anthony talk more about the case for universal children’s savings accounts and the work that is happening in New England (and Vermont!) there are two ways to join this OEO discussion:

  • Online: Register here to reserve a spot in the webinar.  Capacity is limited. You’ll get a confirmation email with further instructions.
  • In Person: DVHA Small Conference Room, 312 Hurricane Lane, Williston. No need to register. Just show up!

To learn more about the event and speaker Anthony Poore visit the official website for the series here.  This website also includes access to PowerPoint presentations of the first seven installments of the series.  More information on the benefits of children’s savings accounts can be found here, here, and here (PDF file).


Shumlin Pledges to Make Up for New Federal Cuts to Food Stamps

Posted February 11, 2014

Last week Congress passed and President Obama signed into law a Farm Bill that reduces funding for food stamps by $8.6 billion.  The cuts will represent an average $90 reduction for families receiving SNAP benefits for the 17 states impacted by the cuts (which includes Vermont).  Governor Peter Shumlin has pledged to find room in the state budget to make up for the funding taken away by the federal government.  More from VTDigger:

The omnibus Farm Bill just passed by Congress will hurt the food stamps program. The bill includes $8.6 billion in cuts over the next 10 years in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. U.S. House Republicans had initially sought $40 billion in reductions.

For all practical purposes, the new bill eliminates what is known as the “heat and eat” program in northern states. It requires 17 states to come up with additional monies to fund food stamps for people who are eligible for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program…

Marissa Parisi, executive director of Hunger Free Vermont, says if the state doesn’t step up, about 21,000 families would lose food stamps benefits worth $90 a month on average.

The total loss, mainly to seniors and the disabled, amounts to about $1.8 million per month in food purchasing power that would be spent in Vermont, according to John Sayles, executive director of the Vermont Foodbank.

Gov. Peter Shumlin has assured Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., that he will work with the Legislature to prevent cuts to the “heat and eat” program.

The cost to cover the difference would be roughly $400,000 a year, Parisi says, or about $20 per household. The “heat and eat” program currently costs the state about $3 to $5 per person for a total cost of $75,000, which leverages about $6 million in food for families, she says.

This additional loss of federal funds come on top of $5 billion worth of cuts to the SNAP program made in November.  The November cuts have meant, for families of four, an average loss of $36 a month in food benefits.

Around the News:

BFP: Vermont food assistance cut under Farm Bill
NYT: Senate Passes Food Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers
NPR: Food Stamp Cuts, Cold Weather Put Extra Strain on Food Pantries


Shining a Light on Poverty Event on February 27


In honor of 50 years of community action in Vermont, the Office of Economic Opportunity is hosting a series of one-hour discussions on poverty every month in 2014.

The next of these discussions is entitled The War on Poverty: Large Positive Impact, But More Work Remains, and will take place on February 27, 2014.  The event will feature Center on Budget and Policy Priorities‘ Danilo Trisi.

Danilo will provide an assessment of poverty trends over the last 50 years, focusing on the factors that have led to declines in poverty and demographic shifts that have kept poverty higher than it might otherwise have been. He will also discuss the role of the safety net in reducing poverty.

The event takes place on Thursday, February 27 from 10 to 11am.

How can you participate?

  • Online: Reserve your webinar seat at: After registering, you’ll get a confirmation email with further instructions.  Space is limited. Register now!
  • In person: 312 Hurricane Lane in Williston, DVHA Large Conference Room A. Space is limited.


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 Article, 7/23/2013, 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



The 2013 Annual Point-in-Time count form & resources

Posted January 18, 2013

The Vermont Statewide Point-in-Time (PIT) Count is an unduplicated count of persons experiencing homelessness in both unsheltered and sheltered (in a homeless program) places on a single night. The PIT Count allows local communities and state policy makers to understand current problems of homelessness, target limited funding to appropriate housing and services, and track progress.

As stipulated in the HEARTH/McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the PIT Count also allows us in securing funding from HUD Continuum of Care & Emergency Solutions Programs, HHS Runaway & Homeless Youth Programs, Veterans Affairs Homeless Programs, and others.  

Please see final 2013 PIT form and the new 2013 User’s Guide attached and distribute widely. The User’s Guide outlines the specific times to conduct the count for both sheltered and unsheltered populations. 

2013 VT PIT Form

2013 PIT User’s Guide

If you have any questions, contact your local coordinator or:

Daniel Blankenship
Vermont State Housing Authority 
1 Prospect Street, Montpelier, VT 05602
Main Office:  (802) 828-3295 * Direct:  (802) 828-0294
Email: * Website:



Unlike rest of country, Vermont’s median income rose in 2011

Posted September 21, 2012

By: Leslie Black-Plumeau, Housing Matters, VHFA, September 20, 2012

“Vermont was the only state that showed in increase in real median income betweeen 2010 and 2011, according to estimates released today from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The median household income in Vermont was $52,776 in 2011, up 4% from $50,707 in 2012.

Rising incomes helped to bring down both the percentage and number of people in poverty in Vermont. The Vermont poverty rate declined from 12.7% to 11.5%, as an estimated 7,000 residents were lifted above the poverty line. Vermont was the only state to experience a decline in poverty in 2011…”

Link to Full Housing Matters Article

PDF of Full Article


New State and Local Poverty Data Out Today


By: The Coalition on Human Needs, September 20, 2012

“Today the Census Bureau released American Community Survey (ACS) data for 2011, with reports (links below) showing state and metropolitan area poverty and income, as well as a separate report showing health insurance coverage for 19 to 25 year olds – an age group that gained health care coverage through the new health care law…”

PDF of Full Press Release


US median income fell and income inequality grew in 2011

Posted September 20, 2012

By: Leslie Black-Plumeau, Reposted from Housing Matters, VHFA, September 14, 2012

“Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau showed a 1.5 percent decline in median household household income in 2011 relative to the prior year.  Despite this decline at the middle, income levels among the top 10 percent increased, contributing to growing income inequality nationwide…”

Link to Full Article 

PDF of Full Article

Link to Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011



Housing Division Rules Public Hearing: August 21, 2012

Posted August 2, 2012

The Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development will hold a public hearing on August 21, 2012 at 9:30 AM in the Calvin Coolidge room, 1 National Life Drive, 6th Floor, Montpelier to hear comments on the Proposed Housing Division Rules.

The deadline for written comments is September 20, 2012. Written comments may be submitted by email, or by mail addressed to:

Arthur Hamlin, Housing Program Coordinator
Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development
1 National Life Drive, 6th Floor
Montpelier, VT  05620-0501


Vermont’s CDBG Disaster Recovery Action Plan submitted to HUD


Vermont’s CDBG Disaster Recovery Action Plan was submitted to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on July 20, 2012.  The Action Plan was submitted by The Vermont Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development (DEHCD) in response to the Federal Register Notice, released on April 16, 2012, making Vermont eligible to receive $21,660,211 in HUD Disaster Recovery funding.  HUD has 45 days from the date submitted to review and approve the Action Plan.  Upon approval, expected by September 6, DEHCD will make CDBG-Disaster Recovery applications available.  DEHCD staff will be available to provide technical and application assistance.  More information on preparing and applying for CDBG-Disaster Recovery grant will be provided in the coming weeks.

The final CDBG Disaster Recovery Action Plan includes several notable changes from the Draft CDBG Disaster Recovery Action Plan released by DEHCD on May 29, 2012.  These changes were significantly influenced by public participation and comments received on the Draft Plan and are summarized below.  For a complete listing of the public comments received and DEHCD’s response to the comments, please see Appendix B on page 60 of Vermont’s CDBG Disaster Recovery Action Plan.

  • HUD has approved the use of up to $4.5 Million in Windham County out of the $17.3 Million in targeted funding. * (see chart below and Method of Distribution on page 32)
  • $750,000 has been added to the State Direct “Buy-out” activity for the purpose of restoration and improvement of “Buy-out” properties.
  • State Administration expenses are now proportionally allocated to the 80% targeted counties and the remaining 20% none targeted counties.

Document from Josh Hanford, Director, Vermont Community Development Program:

Full Information


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