State News

Lawmakers are set to extend the motel program, but many will be left out


By Lola Duffort/VTDigger

Sitting in the drizzling rain outside of Montpelier’s Kellogg-Hubbard Library on Friday afternoon, Jeffrey Dorsey rolled back the black sock on his left ankle. 

“I just want to show you that so you believe me. Because I feel like some people don’t,” he told a reporter as he revealed a fist-sized, red-and-purple lump on the joint, and, in one crevice of his shin, a small abscess. “They don’t know the extent of it.”

The 57-year-old had lived in Barre’s Budget Inn for months as part of a state program that sheltered people experiencing homelessness in motels and hotels. But on June 1, he was shown the door, and told he no longer qualified for a voucher because of the state’s newly narrowed eligibility criteria.

The news had come as a surprise to Dorsey, because he’d heard that disabled people would continue to be helped. Between his diabetes (an infection this spring landed him in hospital for 17 days) and the continued effects of a hit-and-run in 2019 which required a succession of surgeries (one just seven months ago), he’d assumed he qualified. He didn’t. 

Dorsey stayed with his girlfriend for a couple days, but he couldn’t stay long-term. And since then, 

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