On June 14, 2023

Rutland is gathering social service providers that help homeless people


By Tiffany Tan/VTDigger

Dozens of social service providers that can help homeless people are gathering at the fairgrounds in Rutland city this week as the state continues to wind down its pandemic-era emergency housing program.

Around 25 organizations have signed up to participate in the events Wednesday and Thursday, June 14-15, organized by the Rutland city government, according to Adam Sancic, Rutland director of field services for the Vermont Agency of Human Services.

The participants include affordable housing providers such as Housing Trust of Rutland County and Rutland Housing Authority. Also present will be housing advocates such as BROC Community Action, Habitat for Humanity of Rutland County and Homeless Prevention Center.

Other participants are food pantries, physical and mental health care providers, employment resource agencies, child care support centers and substance recovery groups. A wireless phone company is also on the list.

As of Monday, June 12, according to state data, nearly 200 households in Rutland County have lost their eligibility for emergency motel housing since the program began narrowing eligibility criteria on June 1 as federal funding wound down. There were 298 eligible households on Monday, down from 484 households on May 31.

It’s unclear how many people have been affected by the drawdown so far. The Agency of Human Services’ central office said the figure wasn’t immediately available. The city government is expecting hundreds of people to lose their state-sponsored motel housing this summer.

Rutland Mayor Mike Doenges said the city organized the two-day housing event to help people who are facing homelessness more easily find the resources they need, all in one place. This is part of the municipal government’s emergency housing transition plan, especially with the Rutland area having the most number of households enrolled in the pandemic-era emergency housing program.

“The bottom line is so that people can find the resources they need to get themselves to the next step,” Doenges said.

“The other piece of it, honestly, is for them to understand what’s not available,” he said, adding that some housing voucher recipients cannot immediately find homes because affordable housing providers have a yearslong waiting list.

The Agency of Human Services’ deputy commissioner, Miranda Gray, said other communities are holding meetings to discuss how to bring available resources to those who are facing homelessness. Gray said that, as of Monday, she wasn’t aware of any other event similar to Rutland’s housing-resource days.

The Rutland housing-resource days will be held at the Vermont State Fairgrounds in Rutland from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 14, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 15. 

The events are free and open to the public.

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