As Warming Shelters Across Vermont Prepare to Open, Homeless People in Chittenden County Gain a New

Over the past three years, the state of Vermont has increasingly invested greater resources in warming shelters. This has been part of an effort to move away from temporarily housing homeless people in motels during the winter months. It is also easier to match people with medical and mental health services at warming shelters as compared to a variety of isolated motels. “Not only is it a better service model than using a motel, but it’s much better for families with kids,” says DCF Deputy Commissioner Sean Brown. “And we’re seeing that it’s helping move families quicker from — early indications — from homelessness to more secure housing. Which is what we want to see happen.” This shift has resulted in a decline in the overall amount of funds spent on emergency housing. There are currently eight winter shelters that receive state assistance, with a ninth set to open this week in Burlington. Community Health Centers of Burlington has recently occupied a space vacated by COTS and is set to open a warming shelter that will receive $300,000 in funds from the state. The shelter will be available for adults over 18 without a place to sleep, and will have no limit for length of stay or sobriety requirement. You can read more about warming shelter in Vermont here and about the Burlington shelter here.

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