State News

Governor Scott joins national effort to address homelessness

Governor Phil Scott has joined the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development’s (HUD) House America initiative, according to a news release Dec. 15. Through this national partnership, HUD and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) have encouraged state, county, municipal and tribal nation leaders to commit to using a portion of the historic investments provided through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to address the crisis of homelessness by rehousing and building additional housing for people experiencing homelessness.

During the pandemic, the Scott administration launched a comprehensive housing recovery plan to leverage state and federal funds, including Coronavirus Relief Funds, which added more than 350 new units specifically designated for those experiencing homelessness between January 2020 and September 2021. New CARES Act funds were also used to rehabilitate apartments that were uninhabitable, and provide rental assistance and housing services — collectively, since the start of the pandemic, these initiatives helped more than 1,300 households move into permanent housing.

In joining the House America effort, the Scott administration is pledging to continue leveraging available resources to address homelessness. Specifically, Vermont is committing to the creation of 560 new units dedicated to rehousing people in the next year and a goal of rehousing an additional 1,000 households.

“We commend Governor Scott for making the commitment to address the crisis of homelessness in the state of Vermont,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “With the housing resources provided in the American Rescue Plan, federal, state, and local partners must work together to tackle the issue of homelessness to ensure a safe and stable place to call home for all.”

“Vermont has put a lot of effort into addressing the housing crisis and homelessness, but our work is far from done. Homelessness is not only about helping our neighbors who face the greatest housing challenges, but also about the wellbeing and economic security of our communities,” said Governor Phil Scott. “The pandemic forced us to act fast and think creatively in order to assist those struggling. We continue to learn from what works and are making bigger investments in proven strategies.”

“Ultimately, we end homelessness with housing. We are committed to long-term solutions, and together — local non-profits, state and local government, landlords, housing authorities, health care providers and faith-based partners — we can make homelessness rare and brief in Vermont,” said Martin Hahn, executive director for the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness.

Governor Scott recently announced the launch of the Vermont Housing Improvement Program (VHIP) which is expected to contribute toward the unit production goal. The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board received an appropriation of $154 million in supplemental funding during the prior legislative session, including from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, and will be funding projects that will significantly contribute to achieving this goal.

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