Reminder – HMIS Demo This Afternoon

This is a reminder that we will be holding our first (of three) HMIS demonstrations onlinet oday from 1:00 – 3:00.  Today’s demonstration will look at Foothold with Abram Hillson, Director of HMIS New Jersey Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency.  Current and future HMIS users are encouraged to attend to learn more about Foothold and the administration of HMIS in NJ.  There will be an opportunity to provide feedback to the HMIS workgroup following the demo.  The log in information is below.

1.  To Join the Meeting Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 1:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time.

2.  Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP), or recommended: call in using your telephone.

Dial +1 (213) 493-0604
Access Code: 593-346-225
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 593-346-225

HMIS stands for Homelessness Management Information System; the Continuum of Care adopts a common system to be used across the geographic area.

Point-in-Time Count Shows Homelessness in Vermont Continues to Increase

Annual one night count of state’s homeless population finds one in four are children. 

MONTPELIER, VT – On a single night in January, 1,556 Vermonters were found to be homeless.  The 2014 Point-In-Time Count, released today by the Chittenden County Continuum of Care and the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness (the Balance of State Continuum of Care), showed a 9.27% increase in the state’s homeless population from 2013.

The report comes from data collected from the Annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, an unduplicated count of persons experiencing homelessness in both unsheltered and sheltered places which took place on January 28, 2014.  The Count and its findings were supported by the Continuums of Care, which are comprised of homeless and human service organizations, housing agencies, and other partners that strive to eliminate homelessness throughout Vermont, as well as the Agency of Human Services, the City of Burlington, the Vermont State Housing Authority, and United Ways of Vermont.

The Point-In-Time’s findings comes on the heels of two separate reports which also showed an increase in the state’s homeless numbers.

The Office of Economic Opportunity’s annual One Night Shelter Count from December showed a 7% increase from the previous year in emergency shelter use, and a 14% increase in transitional housing use.  The report found a 62% overall increase in shelter use since 2009.

Last October, the U.S. Department of Education issued a report finding that from FY 2010 to FY 2012  Vermont had a 35% increase in the number of homeless students, one of the sharpest increases in the country.

Key Notes:

  • Total found homeless on one night increased by 9.27% from 2013’s count.
  • 371 persons, 24%, or nearly one in four of those counted, were children.
  • The number of unsheltered persons, those living outdoors or taking shelter in a place unfit for human habitation, was 166 persons, an increase of 58% from 2013.
  • 227 persons reported as a victim of domestic violence.  Children are not included in the domestic violence count.
  • Only those who meet HUD’s definition of homelessness are included in the report.  The Point-In-Time does not count those precariously housed, doubled up with friends and family, or couch surfing.

Every year, the Point-in-Time Count provides a snapshot of how many people are homeless on a single night. The findings are used by the State’s Continuums of Care in their funding applications to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The PIT Count allows local communities and state policy makers to understand current problems of homelessness, target limited funding to appropriate housing and services, and track progress.

Read more about the Point-In-Time Count numbers here.

Statewide Numbers Summary.

Monthly Meeting is Tomorrow – Tuesday, April 15

Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 15, the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness will be having our monthly meeting. This month’s meeting will take place at 10am at a new location in Randolph:

Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church
43 Hebard Hill Road
Randolph, VT

The Church is located on the on the corner of Hebard Hill Road and Route 66.  Here is the agenda and the materials to be discussed at the meeting tomorrow:

April Meeting Agenda
Draft March Meeting Minutes
211 March After Hours Report
HUD Consolidated Plan
Updated FY 15 Budget Recommendations

We hope you can attend the meeting in person, but if you are unable to, please dial-in at 1-866-244-8528 and use the participant access code 324359. Please note if you are calling in it may be difficult to hear.

After the regular coalition meeting, there will be the Access to Housing – Supportive Services and Housing Providers Round Table, hosted by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. Space and funds are limited, so note that only those individuals who have received notification that they are on the attendance list for this event will be admitted to lunch and to the event.

Hope to see you all tomorrow!

Bazelon Releases New Report on Supportive Housing

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law has released a report on the ADA and integrated housing opportunities for people with mental illness: A Place of My Own: How The ADA Is Creating Integrated Housing Opportunities For People With Mental Illnesses.

A Place of My Own is designed to provide guidance and thought leadership to nationwide stakeholders about how the ADA has been and can be used in the future to create supported housing for individuals with mental illnesses who are needlessly institutionalized or at risk of needless institutionalization.

The report describes what the ADA’s integration mandate and the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision require, how they have promoted the development of supported housing for individuals with mental illnesses, what supported housing should look like, and how investment in supported housing will help states comply with their legal obligation to administer services to individuals with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.

The report is available to download on the Bazelon Center’s website here.

Domestic Violence is a Leading Cause of Homelessness

In 2013, 16% of all homeless adults were victims of domestic violence. The proportion is even higher for women, with as many as one in every four homeless women reporting domestic violence as the cause of their homelessness. Additionally, over half of homeless women have experienced domestic or sexual violence at some point in their lives.

Safe, stable, and legally protected housing is critical to preventing homelessness for survivors.

The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty has more:

A recent census by the National Network to End Domestic Violence found that victims of domestic violence experienced “devastating unmet needs” when requesting emergency shelter or transitional housing. In fact, shelter and housing requests accounted for 60% of all unmet needs in the census; in a single 24-hour period, 5,778 requests from domestic violence victims for shelter or housing went unmet due to limited resources. This lack of safe housing often leaves victims with an impossible choice – to return to their abusers and face additional violence, or to become homeless.

Such a choice is frightening even for a single adult, and heartbreaking for a parent trying to escape violence with her children. Access to emergency shelter and safe, affordable housing are vital for victims to escape violence and avoid homelessness.

One year ago this month, President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA) into law. This law included a major extension of housing protections for victims of domestic and sexual violence living in public and federally subsidized housing, including preventing eviction of victims based on the actions of their abusers, and requiring Public Housing Authorities to adopt emergency transfer policies.

In Vermont, the 14 member programs of the Vermont Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence in 2012 served 8,778 victims of domestic violence, fielded 12,507 hotline calls, and housed 1,065 adult victims in shelters and safehomes.  Learn more here.

Supportive Service Providers Housing Survey Now Online

The last in a series of three surveys on Housing and Services is now online.  Responses are being sought from Supportive Service Providers.  This series of surveys have been designed to help assess common problems and challenges facing clients, and to get a picture of respondents best strategies and ideas to move forward.

The survey is only seven questions and takes just a few minutes to complete.  Please take the survey today!

Previously we asked Landlords and Tenants to respond to what they saw as the biggest barriers to sustainable, permanent housing and what they thought might help address those barriers. The following survey takes that feedback and asks service providers what you see as barriers and ways you would like to address them.  Please think big!

We will share the results at the April 11th OEO Anti-Poverty Network Conference.  Please complete the survey no later than April 7th to ensure your responses can be included. Please feel free to share this widely with coworkers or any other providers that have addressed housing issues with their clients. Take the survey now:

For more information, please contact Amy Perez at

New Report Finds Vermont Renters Still Cannot Afford the Rent

The State’s High Rents are Out of Reach for Working Families

In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent in Vermont, renters need to earn $19.36 per hour, or $40,272 a year. This is Vermont’s 2014 Housing Wage, revealed in a report released today. The report, Out of Reach 2014, was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization, and the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition.

The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a family must earn, working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, to be able to afford the rent and utilities for a safe and modest home in the private housing market.

An estimated 62% of renters in Vermont do not earn enough to afford a two-bedroom unit at the average statewide Fair Market Rent of $1,007.

Working at the minimum wage in Vermont, a family must have 2.2 wage earners working full-time, or one full-time earner working 89 hours per week at minimum wage, to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. While it is possible for a household to work more than one job to make ends meet, a 2011 Vermont study showed that 62% of the state’s households had only one, or less than one full time workers.

“Vermont continues to be one of the states with the least affordable rental housing,” said Ted Wimpey, Director of the Fair Housing Project at the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity and Chair of the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition.  “It is extremely difficult for even moderate income people in Vermont to find affordable rental housing. The situation has many serious consequences, including increased homelessness and greater numbers of families struggling to get by.”

The typical renter in Vermont earns $11.24 an hour, which is $8.12 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit.

According to Jeanne Montross, Executive Director of Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE) and Chair of the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness, “Although there have been some recent, small signs of  economic recovery, wages – especially for those at the bottom of the economic ladder – continue to stagnate. Real income has actually fallen for low income households, while the costs of housing, heat, and food continue to climb. This, in combination with a reduction in the availability of housing subsidies, makes it a given that we will see more and more families become homeless.”

Greater investment in our stock of affordable housing is needed at both the federal and state levels. By funding the National Housing Trust Fund, Vermont would receive at least $3 million a year, which would stimulate the production of new affordable homes for Vermont’s lowest income residents and create quality jobs in the construction industry. By fully funding the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the state would further increase its investments in much needed new housing and the Vermont economy, while helping to offset the federal cutbacks of the last several years.

“We can no longer ignore the dire need for affordable housing when three out of every four extremely low income households nationally have to spend more than half of their income on housing costs,” said NLIHC President and CEO Sheila Crowley. “Closing this gap is achievable through the National Housing Trust Fund.”

Additional Facts:

  • The national Housing Wage is $18.92 in 2014
  • Vermont is the 13th most expensive state in the nation for renters
  • Vermont is the ninth most expensive state for non-metropolitan/rural areas
  • The Housing Wage is up 26% since the Great Recession began in 2007
  • The Housing Wage in the greater metropolitan area of Burlington is $25.17, 13% higher than the state average

Every year, Out of Reach provides the Housing Wage and other housing affordability data for every state, metropolitan area, combined non-metropolitan area, and county in the country. For additional information, visit:

Find out more about the facts and figures of Vermont’s 2014 Out of Reach report here.


Job Alert: Executive Director at Bennington Coalition for the Homeless

The Bennington County Coalition for the Homeless (BCCH) is looking for a new Executive Director and is currently seeking applications.  The BCCH mission is “Dedicated to collaborating, coordinating & implementing services to the homeless in Bennington County & promoting community awareness.”  BCCH assists individuals and families in Bennington County facing homelessness by providing emergency shelter, transitional housing, homelessness prevention assistance, case management and follow up care.

The Executive Director is responsible for all aspects of the agency including budget, service delivery, measurable outcomes, physical plant, staff supervision and development, fundraising, grant sourcing, grant writing and community relations.

How to Apply:  via email to or mail resume and cover letter to BCCH P.O. Box 4736, Bennington, VT 05201 by April 15, 2014.

Read the full job description, responsibilities of the position, qualifications required, and salary and benefit info online here.