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Media Coverage for Governor's Summit on Housing for the Homeless

The Governor’s Summit on Housing for the Homeless took place on Tuesday, June 7th, at the State House. It began with an introduction by the Agency of Human Services (AHS) Secretary, Doug Racine, for Governor Peter Shumlin. Then Governor Shumlin took the podium to kick-off the day-long Summit focused on housing for the homeless with multiple barriers: chronically homeless, bad credit, negative landlord relationships/eviction history, mental and physical health issues, etc. Governor Shumlin said that the “Summit was dedicated to the Vermont homeless.” He stressed that we need to focus on what we are and aren’t doing well and what we could be doing better; that we need to stop relying on temporary homeless shelters and look for permanent housing solutions for those most difficult to house. He also said that Vermont leads in so many other policy areas that it can and should lead here as well. After the Governor’s address to the Summit, the Chairs of each of the six work groups presented their proposals. The work groups are: (1) Permanent Housing | Rita Markely, Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) (2) Security Deposit Guarantee | Janet Green, Burlington Housing Authority (BHA) (3) Vermont Subsidy | Linda Ryan, Samaritan House (4) AHS Housing Policy | Patrick Flood, Deputy Secretary, Agency of Human Services (AHS) (5) Specialized Housing Options | Rick DeAngelis, Vermont Housing Conservation Board (VHCB) (6) Access | Daniel Blankenship, Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA) Then the Summit goers split up and attended two workshops of their choice around the above topics. These workshops were intended to flesh out the proposal and to provide a time for feedback/new ideas to strengthen them into tangible policy proposals in hopes they would be enacted in the near future. The Summit then reconvened for a conclusion and farewell address by Governor Peter Shumlin. There was positivity in the air and Governor Shumlin showed direct support for the AHS Housing Policy and the Vermont State Subsidy proposals, though not excluding any of the others proposal ideas. All-in-all, the Summit had a great turnout with representation from across the homeless/affordable housing community. The work groups will meet again in coming weeks to digest the input they received from the summit, and to adjust their proposals accordingly. Those proposals will then go back out to the public for more comments before the groups meet again. VAHC will keep you apprised of the situation and information and make sure to get it out as quickly as we can. The Summit had a good deal of news coverage as well that we encourage you all to read: WCAX  summary/video coverage, 6/7/11 – Efforts to Increase Housing Assistance VPR interview with Homeless Advocate, Morgan Brown, 6/6/11 – Keeping Homeless Issues On The Front Burner Burlington FreePress article, 6/8/11 – Vermont focuses on homeless problem

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