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Domestic Violence Shelters Forced to Turn Away Victims

From the Burlington Free Press: Vermont domestic violence shelters are facing an inability to meet demand for their services, causing more people to rely on hotels and motels that cost the state and taxpayers a higher amount:

Domestic violence is forcing more Vermonters to seek emergency housing at the state’s expense, turning hotels and motels into a major piece of the statewide safety net for victims. The number jumped last year by 10 percent, far surpassing capacity at shelters designed for people fleeing domestic and sexual violence. “We know we’re not meeting the need,” said Auburn Watersong, associate director of public policy for the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, in an interview earlier this year. “They’re ending up in hotels and motels or staying longer in our shelters. We have more bed nights this year than we’ve ever had before.” The state houses a large portion of domestic violence victims through the emergency housing system, which is perhaps best-known for bringing people off the streets into motels on the coldest winter days. State government also uses the system to provide hotel and motel rooms for domestic violence victims year-round when shelters are full. Those motel rooms cost an average of $73 per night, and rooms for domestic violence victims cost the state $1.6 million last year alone.

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