This correspondence follows up on recent conversations regarding the status of the Vermont Rental Subsidy (VRS) Program due to the impact of the Vermont State Housing Authority decision to stop issuing Section 8 housing vouchers as a result of the uncertainty of federal funding.
As you are aware, ESD has temporarily stopped granting new vouchers for the program while we analyze possible solutions to budgetary pressures as well as programmatic or procedural changes which might help our clients successfully transition off the program by the end of the twelve months of subsidy. This decision means that new applicants are being placed immediately on the waitlist.
There continues to be discussion among ESD, DCF, and AHS leadership to identify a longer-term solution that serves our clients in the best way possible, maintains the integrity of the program, and adheres to the fiscal constraints of the appropriation. AHS Secretary Gobeille has expressed a desire to ensure that households are not made homeless while this continued strategizing takes place. He has therefore asked DCF to extend the program for another month for those households who would have maxed out participation and closed at the end of February. They will receive a subsidy for March, keeping them in housing for another month.
We would strongly encourage Field Directors, Housing Review Teams, and Housing Support Workers to continue exploring additional supports (e.g., project-based housing, progressive employment, etc.) for clients who will reach their twelve months before the end of SFY17.
We will continue to keep you updated on further developments regarding the program. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me or Geoffrey Pippenger with any additional questions or concerns. Also, please feel free to share this email with your community housing partners. Thanks.