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Leaders Question Program that Puts Vermont's Homeless in Motels

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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