Housing First Featured in The New Yorker Magazine

In the latest issue of The New Yorker magazine, the financial page highlights the Housing First program. Author James Surowiecki explains how programs like Housing First and Rapid Rehousing have significant economic benefits. At the end of the article he states “The success of Housing First points to a new way of thinking about social programs: what looks like a giveaway may actually be a really wise investment.”

An excerpt from the article is below:

Housing First isn’t just cost-effective. It’s more effective, period. The old model assumed that before you could put people into permanent homes you had to deal with their underlying issues—get them to stop drinking, take their medication, and so on. Otherwise, it was thought, they’d end up back on the streets. But it’s ridiculously hard to get people to make such changes while they’re living in a shelter or on the street. “If you move people into permanent supportive housing first, and then give them help, it seems to work better,” Nan Roman, the president and C.E.O. of the National Alliance for Homelessness, told me. “It’s intuitive, in a way. People do better when they have stability.” Utah’s first pilot program placed seventeen people in homes scattered around Salt Lake City, and after twenty-two months not one of them was back on the streets. In the years since, the number of Utah’s chronically homeless has fallen by seventy-four per cent.

Of course, the chronically homeless are only a small percentage of the total homeless population. Most homeless people are victims of economic circumstances or of a troubled family environment, and are homeless for shorter stretches of time. The challenge, particularly when it comes to families with children, is insuring that people don’t get trapped in the system. And here, too, the same principles have been used, in an approach called Rapid Rehousing: the approach is to quickly put families into homes of their own, rather than keep them in shelters or transitional housing while they get housing-ready. The economic benefits of keeping people from getting swallowed by the shelter system can be immense: a recent Georgia study found that a person who stayed in an emergency shelter or transitional housing was five times as likely as someone who received rapid rehousing to become homeless again.

To read the entire piece go here. To learn more about the Housing First program in Vermont visit Pathways Vermont here.

Registration Now Open for 2014 Vermont Statewide Housing Conference!

Registration for the 2014 Vermont Statewide Housing Conference is now open! The biannual conference will be held Wednesday, November 19th at the Hilton BurlingtonBarry Zigas, Director of Housing Policy for Consumer Federation of America and a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission, will be present to give the keynote address along with a full day of workshops and events. To view the complete agenda click here.

Register now for only $60 through October 10th to receive access to all of the following (rate increases to $75 after):

  • A full day of workshops and presentations.
  • Plenty of opportunities for peer networking including a special reception at 4:15.
  • Lunch.
  • Exclusive online access to conference materials and attendees database following the event.
  • Free parking at the Hilton Burlington.
  • Access to exhibit tables by conference sponsors and others.

Also, please consider nominating an individual for the Housing Hero Award. The conference committee is seeking nominations of individuals whose leadership, vision and actions have brought about positive and lasting change in the way their community or the state regards housing. Nominations can be made here.

The Vermont Statewide Housing Conference is Vermont’s largest gathering of housing professionals. Held every other year, the event draws upwards of 450 people from all over Vermont and beyond from many sectors of the housing industry: Development, construction, financing, legislation, advocacy, policy and more. Many organizations throughout the state work on planning this event including:

  • Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition
  • Vermont Housing Finance Agency
  • Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Housing Vermont
  • USDA-Rural Development
  • Vermont Housing and Conservation Board
  • Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO)
  • Vermont Realtors®
  • Vermont Mortgage Bankers Association


REMINDER: VAHC/VCEH Meetings – Tues, Sept 16 – Gov. Shumlin, Scott Milne & Other Guests Confirmed

This is a quick reminder for next Tuesday’s Annual Joint Meeting of the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition and the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness. After lunch, the VAHC Annual Meeting and the VCEH monthly meeting will be held concurrently in different rooms at the same location:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
9:30 AM – 2:00 PM
Baptist Fellowship Church
1051 Route 66, Randolph, VT

(Directions below)

I hope you or someone from your organization can attend!! Click here for the meeting agenda. We have a number of special guests confirmed, in the following order:

Governor Peter Shumlin
Scott Milne, Republican Nominee for Governor
Kate Ash, Field Representative, Office of Senator Patrick Leahy
Ken Schatz, newly appointed Commissioner of the Department for Children & Families
Senator Tim Ashe, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee

Governor Shumlin will be there right at 9:30 and has to leave at 10:00, so please get there early so we are ready to go as soon as the Governor arrives! Mr. Milne is scheduled to meet with us separately at 10:15. Both he and the Governor will share their perspectives on state funding and policy for affordable housing and homelessness and respond to questions from coalition members. We have provided both with questions to help them frame their remarks.

The agenda for the VCEH meeting is as follows:

12:45 I. Introductions
12:50 II. Consent agenda
12:55 III. Role of Local Continuum groups
1:15 IV. Information on VCEH finances
1:25 V. High level review of Standing Rules of VCEH
1:40 VI. Around-the-State Local Continuum Check In and Update
2:00 VII. Adjourn

Kate Ash will give us a federal update on behalf of Senator Leahy’s office. Recently appointed DCF Commissioner Schatz will introduce himself and talk about his vision for DCF and the many challenges the Department faces, especially as they relate to affordable housing and homelessness. Last up will be Senator Ashe, who will give us his perspective on the 2014 legislative session and outlook for next year, from his vantage point as Chair of the Senate committee that raises the revenues required to meet the State’s needs for affordable housing, homelessness and vulnerable Vermonters.

DIRECTIONS TO BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP CHURCH: Take I-89 to Exit 4, head toward Randolph (right off south bound exit, left off north bound exit). At the bottom of Route 66 there is a flat stretch. The Randolph Animal Hospital is on the right at the end of that stretch. The Baptist Fellowship Church is the next right

The meeting space does NOT have a speakerphone, so we will not be offering a call-in option this month, but we will resume that at the regular monthly VCEH meeting in October.

Hope to see you next Tuesday!