All posts by Justin Henry

Deadline for Comments on OEO Warming Shelter Position Paper Extended to August 15

The deadline to provide comments on the OEO Warming Shelter Position paper has been extended to Friday, August 15.

Feedback is requested from a broad array of state and community partners on the following documents:

DRAFT ONLY – Request for Warming Shelter Work Plan

DRAFT OEO Position Paper Warming Shelters

These documents are meant to provide guidance to local communities as they consider new plans to develop warming shelters, and they are meant to exist within the context of the Agency of Human Services Housing Policy, the Governor’s Plan to End Homelessness and existing requirements of publicly-funded emergency shelters.

Should you have comments, please feel free to email Sarah Phillips (sarah.phillips@state.vt.usand/or Paul Dragon, Chief Administrator of the Office of Economic Opportunity (

See also the original request for input.

Webinar on Growing Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities

The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty will host a free webinar discussing findings from its forthcoming report, No Safe Place: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities.

The webinar will take place on Thursday, July 17 from 2pm – 3pm.

No Safe Place provides an overview of criminalization measures in effect across the nation, and looks at trends in the criminalization of homelessness, based on an analysis of the laws in 187 cities.

More from NLCHP:

The prevalence of these criminalization laws is rising, including dramatic increases in the number of citywide bans, which effectively make it illegal for homeless people to perform fundamental, life-sustaining human activities throughout entire cities.

Key conclusions and recommendations the report will address include:

  • Criminalization laws violate the civil and human rights of homeless people
  • Criminalization laws are ineffective and costly to taxpayers, and a growing body of research shows that they are both the most expensive and least effective option available
  • Communities and local governments should replace criminalization laws with constructive solutions to ending homelessness
  • The federal government should play a leadership role in combating the criminalization of homelessness

To register to attend the webinar, click here.

See alsoBennington Select Board Votes for New Prohibitions Aimed at Homeless

Vermont Veteran Services SSVF Program Seeking Eligible Families

The Vermont Veteran Services SSVF program works to help Vermont veteran households who are literally homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness gain or retain stable housing by providing supportive services.  The program  is managed at the University of Vermont and funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Our friends at Capstone Community Action (formerly CVCAC) passed on the following helpful info about the program at yesterday’s Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition meeting:

Eligible families must have a head of household or spouse who is a U.S. active duty military veteran with any discharge type other than dishonorable, and very-low family income (less than 50% of the Area Median Income, or AMI). The SSVF program targets the poorest families (less than 30% AMI) and veterans of the recent Iraq and Afghanistan deployments as priority cases. Typically, a family must be literally homeless or be facing eviction within 14 days to qualify.

Veteran families are enrolled in the VVS SSVF program only after careful screening for eligibility.  After enrollment, SSVF provides supportive services to participants to help them obtain or retain stable housing. Intensive Case Management is the primary service provided throughout participation in the program. SSVF case managers assist the household to find or retain housing by working closely with them on housing placement, financial counseling, budgeting, employment, VA or state benefits, and linkage to services. In certain cases, case management may be augmented by temporary financial assistance with rent, rental deposits, utility deposits, and other eligible expenses related to secure housing. It should be noted that financial assistance, if available, is limited in amount and duration, and is not guaranteed for any program participant.

Landlords who rent to a household or individual enrolled in SSVF should observe their standard lease process.  Any lease you enter into will be with the veteran household, not with the SSVF program. Participants are solely responsible for adhering to all requirements in the lease, including rental payments. Landlords will be notified by an SSVF program representative in advance if the program will be paying any rental charges for a month. If financial assistance is approved, the landlord will receive a check directly from the University of Vermont on behalf of the VVS SSVF program. It is important to note that any financial assistance is a) limited in duration and amount; b) will never be for more than one month at a time; c) must be approved in advance.

The VVS SSVF program makes every reasonable effort to support its participants in becoming successfully, stably housed. However, potential landlords of SSVF clients must be aware that the ultimate responsibility for compliance with the lease lies solely with the tenant.

Read the full Program Description and Program Information for Landlords to learn more.

For more  information about the VVS SSVF program, call VVS SSVF at 802-656-3232, e-mail, or visit