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New grant awarded for innovative model to help families move beyond shelters and overflow motels

Last week, the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) announced the Family Supportive Housing Grant, which will provide more housing options for Vermont families. The $130,000 grant, which combines public funding and private foundation support, was awarded by the Agency of Human Services, and will unite the Champlain Housing Trust, the Howard Center, and COTS in providing 12-15 families with transitional housing. By providing homes, these organizations are making it possible for families to move out of motels and shelters into more stable and supportive housing. Description of how the program works, provided by COTS: “5 units of housing will be provided by the Champlain Housing Trust at Winchester Place in Colchester.  COTS will master lease these units on behalf of families who are homeless and regaining housing through this program. These families will pay COTS a program fee in lieu of rent to develop a housing payment track record. These funds will then be used to subsidize the cost of rent in the second year of the program. A master’s level, clinically trained mental health clinician from the HowardCenter, called a “Family Supportive Housing Coordinator,” will provide intensive services to families throughout their first year of housing.  The FSH Coordinator will collaborate with COTS staff and other service providers to provide a high level of support to participating families. COTS Housing Resource Center will help families with the lease agreements, assist with credit repair, and regaining financial stability. COTS’ HRC will administer the “Pay It Forward Fund,” described below. COTS staff also will search for additional rental units to add to this program. Families will be provided with a host of resources to help them become financially stable. These include connection to financial literacy programs, budgeting, assistance with banking arrangements, and tax filing.” Link to COTS website for more information Read more about this project in the news: Burlington Free Press WCAX WPTZ

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