If you are at risk of losing access to shelter, call 2-1-1 or visit vermont211.org to get connected to resources in your community.
In a state that prides itself on its compassion and mutual support, everyone should have a safe and secure place to live. We are calling on Governor Scott and legislative leaders to respond to a humanitarian crisis of their own making: the end of Vermont's emergency motel-voucher program.
Thousands of Vermonters stand to lose their temporary housing, including hundreds of children and people with disabilities. Make no mistake, our state absolutely has the resources to support all of our neighbors – what we need now is leadership.
Eliminating housing for this many people during a historic housing crisis puts countless Vermonters at imminent risk of harm. Far from saving the state money, this plan simply passes financial and legal liability to our cities and towns and will cost taxpayers far more in the long run than it would to fund humane solutions upfront.
This is a policy choice, not an inevitability. It is a betrayal of all those who have relied on the emergency housing program as a means of shelter, and it betrays our shared values of compassionate, responsive government and strong, supportive communities.
Concerned Vermonters should take the following action steps to protect our neighbors, family, and friends from this policy failure.
Contact local leaders
Reach out to leaders in your community—the select board, city council, town manager, police chief, and others—and urge them to extend humane and compassionate support to people experiencing homelessness, not punishment and criminalization. Local leaders need to know that residents of their community will not tolerate inaction on this issue or further stigmatization of people living in poverty.
Contact state officials
Because Governor Scott vetoed the Legislature’s budget proposal, lawmakers have a chance to fix this impending humanitarian crisis. Tell lawmakers and Scott administration officials to fund short-term investments in emergency housing programs – and long-term commitments to expanding the availability of high-quality, affordable housing in our state. Use our action form to send a message to your legislators and ask them to extend emergency housing funding until a permanent solution is in place, and use the Governor’s contact form to let his administration know that this is an unacceptable policy failure.
Make a contribution
Dozens of direct service and mutual aid organizations are working tirelessly to ensure that people have access to shelter and essential goods. Volunteer or donate to a mutual aid network, food shelf, shelter, or anti-poverty organization in your community.
Spread the word
Too many Vermonters do not realize that this program is coming to an end or the vast consequences that its expiration will have on our communities in the coming weeks. Share this blog post with a friend, post on Front Porch Forum or your personal social media accounts, and reach out to people in your life who may be struggling and in need of support.
Remind your community that people experiencing homelessness are our neighbors, family, and friends – and we all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.