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REMINDER: Homelessness Awareness Day & Memorial Vigil – Jan 16, State House, Montpelier

Your voice is needed at the State Capitol! Come to Montpelier to tell lawmakers how we can end homelessness in Vermont! Join advocates from all across the state for Homelessness Awareness Day at the State House.  We need you to engage with representatives and senators in your area to let them know the support you need from them to make homelessness a brief and infrequent experience. PLEASE JOIN US!

SCHEDULE

7:30 – 9:00       Coffee & muffins, meetings with legislators – Cafeteria (best time to meet with lawmakers, schedule ahead)

7:30 – 2:30       Card Room display: Pick up packets & name tags, meet & greet legislators – Card Room

8:00 – 9:00       Governor Scott’s Open Door Coffee — Governor’s Ceremonial Office

8:30 – 9:00       Training: “How to be an Effective Citizen Lobbyist” with Rebecca Ramos, Necrason Partners – Room 11

9:00 – 9:55       Testimony at joint hearing of Senate Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs and                                                                Senate Health & Welfare Committees – Room 11

10:00 – 11:35    Testimony at joint hearing of House General, Housing & Military Affairs and House Human Services                                                       Committees – Room 11

11:00 – 11:30    Vermont Legal Aid press conference releasing new report on eviction and homelessness – Cedar                                                          Creek Room

12:00 – 12:45    Memorial Vigil – State House Steps

1:00 – 1:30        Reading of House Resolution recognizing January 16 as Homelessness Awareness Day at the State                                                       House – House Visitor’s Gallery

MESSAGING

  1. We thank Governor Scott and lawmakers for continuing to support the state resources needed to help create more housing and reduce homelessness, including the $37 million housing bond.

  2. Strategic investments in housing, financial supports and services help reduce and prevent homelessness; improve the lives of children, families and vulnerable Vermonters; improve their physical and mental well being; their chances to succeed and live independent lives – all while building strong, healthy communities.

  3. Please continue to support the investments we need to solve our affordable housing shortage and implement the recommendations of the “Vermont Roadmap to End Homelessness” (PPT presentation), investments that will: 1) Create new affordable homes for Vermonters 2) Provide rental assistance and other financial supports, like rental arrearages, to fill the affordability gap and prevent homelessness 3) Deliver the supportive services needed for Vermonters with the greatest challenges to remain stably housed

  4. Vermont has successful programs that deliver proven outcomes. Please support full, statutory funding for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and increased investments in the Vermont Rental Subsidy Program, the Housing Opportunity Grant Program, Family Supportive Housing, Mental Health Rental Assistance Vouchers, Corrections Transitional Housing, and Housing First.

OVERVIEW OF THE DAY

The day will kick off early at 7:30am with coffee and muffins in the Cafeteria. This will be a great time to meet with your representatives and senators to discuss the good work you and your organization are doing. To make your time at the State House most effective, please reach out to lawmakers in your area ahead of time and ask them to meet with you.

People will be present in the Card Room all morning and into the afternoon to educate lawmakers about the work being done around the state, about which strategies are working, and what needs to be done to help end homelessness in Vermont. The Card Room is on the 2nd floor, on the way into the cafeteria (“G” on the map).

At 8:30 join fellow advocates in Room 11 for a legislative advocacy training on “How to be an Effective Citizen Lobbyist.” State House expert Rebecca Ramos of the Necrason Group, will brief you on the legislative process and how to make the best use of your time advocating for solutions to end homelessness at the State House. The Necrason Group is one of Montpelier’s premier lobbying firms, representing numerous public purpose organizations, including the Vermont Housing and Conservation Coalition.

Governor’s Ceremonial Office


From 8:00 – 9:00 meet Governor Phil Scott at his weekly “Open Door Coffee” in his ceremonial office on the second floor of the State House. This will be a great opportunity to thank the Governor for his past support for affordable housing and other key solutions to homelessness and urge him to support increased investments that will help you accomplish your important work.

From 9:00 – 9:55 there will be a joint hearing of the Senate Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs and Senate Health & Welfare Committees in Room 11, with testimony from members of the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness, Chittenden County Homeless Alliance, and Affordable Housing Coalition. Please be there to hear support our witnesses and hear their testimony. Click here for the schedule of witnesses.

From 10:00 – 11:35 there will be a joint hearing of the House General, Housing & Military Affairs and House Human Services Committees in Room 11, with testimony from the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness, Chittenden County Homeless Alliance, and Affordable Housing Coalition. Please be there to hear support our witnesses and hear their testimony. Click here for the schedule of witnesses.

At 11:00, Vermont Legal Aid will hold a press conference in the Cedar Creek Room to release its new report “Eviction in Vermont: A Closer Look,” which examines the incidence and reasons for eviction in Vermont and its relationship to homelessness. It makes key recommendations to help prevent eviction, thereby preventing and reducing homelessness. Please join VLA to provide support for this important new report.

View of House Chamber from the Visitor’s Gallery


At Noon community members, elected officials, and advocates will gather outside on the State House steps for the annual Memorial Vigil to remember our friends and neighbors who have died without homes, and to bring awareness of the struggles of those still searching for safe, affordable and secure housing.

At 1:00pm, please be seated in the House Visitor’s Gallery at the rear of the House Chamber to hear the reading of a House Resolution recognizing January 16 as Homelessness Awareness Day and acknowledging the plight of Vermonters experiencing homelessness and the work you do to address their needs.

HOW TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL DAY AT THE STATE HOUSE

Strong Turn-Out is Key It is essential that we create a strong presence in the State House. Bring folks from your organization: board members, clients, staff, and local supporters. A strong show of support will be particularly important for the Memorial Vigil at 12 noon outside, on the State House steps, and also at 1pm in the House Chamber when your work will be recognized by the entire body.

If you’re new to the State House, here are some general guidelines: Vermont State House Protocol.

Meetings with LawmakersQuality interactions with representatives and senators from your area are critical to the day’s success. One-on-one or small group meetings are the best way to get our message across. To guarantee the most effective use of your time, please make appointments in advance, if possible. If you haven’t done so already, please CALL or EMAIL as soon as possible. Breakfast and after the Vigil at lunch are the best times to schedule your meetings.

How to Contact Your Representatives & SenatorsSend them an email, or call the Sergeant-at-Arms desk at 1-800-322-5616 and leave a message. Let them know that you’ll be at the State House this Wednesday and would like to meet. Their contact information is in the legislative directory.  If you can’t get an appointment ahead of time, let them know when you’ll be at the State House. If you can’t find them when you arrive, you can send a note via a legislative page. Be sure to note where you will be in the State House.

An Exciting Day is Planned – You’ll have opportunities to meet with lawmakers, get a primer on legislative advocacy, and sit in on important committee hearings. Unfortunately Governor Scott has a commitment that prevents him from joining us for the Vigil. He will be represented by Deputy Secretary Ted Brady, Agency of Commerce and Community Development, who has a long career of supporting affordable housing and solutions to homelessness. Also confirmed are Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe, and several Vermonters with lived experience. We will likely also hear from leaders of key legislative committees.

Sign in and get a nametag when you arrive – They will be available in the Card Room (second floor, on the way into the cafeteria). Legislators appreciate name tags with your name, your organization and the town you vote in. We’ll also have lapel stickers for you to wear identifying you as a supporter of the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness and its work. Here are floor maps of the State House, in case you are unfamiliar with the building.

Parking – Is always a challenge in Montpelier. You can try on-street parking wherever you can find it. Other options include the public parking area behind the Capitol Plaza Hotel, the Department of Labor parking lot on Green Mountain Drive (second left after you come off the interstate, just past the first traffic light). Also, the Capitol Shuttle runs every 20 minutes from 7:20 am – 5:15 pm. Do not park in areas designated for legislative parking – you will be towed!

For more information, contact:

Rebeka Lawrence-Gomez Pathways Vermont Co-Chair, VT Coalition to End Homelessness rebeka@pathwaysvermont.org

Margaret Bozik Champlain Housing Trust Co-Chair, Chittenden County Homeless Alliance Margaret.Bozik@champlainhousingtrust.org

Erhard Mahnke Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition erhardm@vtaffordablehousing.org

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Please visit our new Housing & Homelessness Alliance of Vermont website at www.hhav.org!

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