Where Will the Homeless go in Vermont?

Ellen P LaFleche-Christian

Despite the small, hometown feeling that visitors get when they come to Vermont, the Green Mountain state has a growing problem with homelessness.

While the reasons for homelessness are many, one problem that is cited continually is the growing cost of housing around the state. As the price of available housing increases, it becomes less and less possible for low-income families to afford it.

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two homeless men smilingBrett/Pexels

Homeless in Vermont

When you hear the word homeless, many things come to mind. But, most people envision people living on the street or under bridges. The truth is that there are many different types of homelessness in Vermont.

Made worse by the pandemic

Housing in Vermont has always proven expensive. One of the biggest problems is that landlords would rather rent to tourists and those who want to summer in Vermont than to residents with low income.

By renting apartments and houses to out of staters, they can charge more. And, they are less likely to have to deal with late payments and evictions with more well-off renters.

Unfortunately, this means that apartments and houses cost much more to rent than many average jobs pay in Vermont.

As low-income apartments become full, there are fewer places for people who need to find affordable housing. This can mean that families find themselves homeless when evicted.

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woman sleeping in tentCottonbro/Pexels

Campgrounds

During the warmer months, it's not uncommon to find families living at campgrounds to save on the cost of rent and utilities. It costs much less money to pay for a camping spot and use the showers than it does to rent an apartment and pay utilities. Unfortunately, this becomes impossible as the temperatures drop.

Staying with friends

Families or individuals that find themselves with no permanent house to call home may choose to stay with friends. This might be an informal arrangement for a week or two. Or, it might mean spending a few days in one spot and a few days in another. This is often called couch surfing as people "surf" from one friend's home to another.

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Homeless motels

When the pandemic was at its worst, the state of Vermont set up homeless motels at area hotels for homeless people to stay in. The hope was that keeping people off the streets would lessen the spread of COVID-19.

When the COVID-19 crisis hit, demand for these motels skyrocketed which caused the state to open more of them to address the needs.

As of June 1st, new eligibility requirements make it more difficult to qualify for these homeless motels. Are agencies are concerned that hundreds of people will no longer qualify for these motels and will end up on the streets again.

These changes weren't made by accident. It is the State of Vermont's first step toward transitioning away from paying to house the homeless. And, it's one that Legal Aid is concerned with. This site has set up resources to help those who are facing homelessness in Vermont.

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leaking pipeLuis/Pexels

Not fit to live in

In addition, several sites that were housing the homeless have now been closed and are considered not fit to live in. The City of Rutland shut down a homeless motel at the Quality Inn due to code violations that included things like leaking pipes, holes in the walls, doors that don't latch, and combustibles stored in front of exits. Learn more here.

So, as more and more of these homeless motels in Vermont are closed, where will our homeless population go as the weather turns cold again?

What part should the state of Vermont play in helping those that find themselves homeless once again?

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Country living content creator with a passion for preparedness and natural living. I share simple steps anyone can take to become more self sufficient and more aware of your surroundings. Check out my easy recipes, essential oil crafts, and healthy living tips.

Castleton, VT
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