May 8, 2023

Montpelier, Vt. – In a statement shared with state lawmakers and Governor Scott, the ACLU and its members are calling on state leaders to extend Vermont’s emergency housing program unless or until alternative programs are in place.

ACLU of Vermont Executive Director James Lyall: “The ACLU and our statewide members, supporters, and community partners are deeply concerned by reports that state leaders may allow Vermont’s emergency housing program to lapse before establishing adequate alternatives. This would eliminate housing for thousands of people of all ages in the midst of an historic housing crisis and put them at imminent risk of harm. 

“Such an outcome would betray those who are relying on this program as a means of shelter, and it would betray our shared values of compassionate, responsive government and strong, supportive communities.

“It is clear that the motel voucher program is a stopgap measure and that better alternatives are needed. It is also clear that until we establish those alternatives, our government leaders have an ethical obligation and a moral responsibility to prevent tremendous harm to so many members of our community.

“Vermont absolutely does have the resources to prevent this outcome—this is not an inevitability. What we do as a state will be a policy choice, and we urge elected leaders to make the right choice for the many people impacted by this program and for the countless Vermonters who share these concerns.”