H.211 is the most recent manifestation of legislation that has been making its way through the Vermont legislature for many years. Through many revisions and adjustments, the bill continues to: provide a necessary established definition of recovery residences, establishes the certification body for such communities, allows certain exceptions to residential rental agreements to ensure the safety of residents, and requires policies and procedures to solidify the care of Vermonters in recovery. It also articulates the relationship between the Department of Corrections and the residences, and calls for the treatment of such residences as single-family homes in municipal housing use bylaws. The VAHC supports this piece of legislation as a necessary element in housing safety for Vermonters in Recovery.
The Expansion of Medicaid
The Medicaid Reimbursement rate falls well below the cost of care for Vermonters that are most in need. The difference is absorbed by providers (including some primary housing providers), not only failing to cover costs but also limiting the ability of the provider to compete in the recruitment and retention of high-quality staff. The expansion of Medicaid also helps alleviate financial burdens that are necessary to ensure quality of life for individuals and families of a particularly at-risk demographic.
Justice, Equity & the Social Safety Net
If the alleviation of our chronic and substantial housing needs is a three-legged stool, the seat that holds it together is justice, equity, and the social safety net. Addressing these needs help close the affordability gap for low-income working Vermonters and those living on fixed incomes. Therefore, the VAHC also supports:
Increasing low-income Vermonters’ accessibility to legal representation, especially in eviction cases.
Ensuring level funding for LIHEAP and crisis fuel programs.
The restoration of Reach Up benefits for families receiving SSI, and increasing the cash grant to meet 100% of participants’ basic needs.
The preservation of income sensitivity and the protection of low-income and affordable housing in education, finance, and tax reform.
Legislation supporting family and medical leave to ensure the health, well-being, and economic security of children and families.
Consistent and level assistance for childcare that reflects the actual cost of these vital services in Vermont.
Increasing the minimum wage to $15/hour, helping the lowest-income Vermonters better afford the cost of basic needs.