Cold Weather Strains Homeless Assistance Efforts

Jan 8, 2014

Three committees of the Vermont House were examining issues of homelessness and housing Wednesday, and lawmakers heard that the extremely cold winter has put added pressure on the state’s assistance programs.

David Yacavone is the commissioner of the Department of Children and Families. He told lawmakers that the state will likely double spending this year to house Vermont's homeless during periods of especially cold weather.

“We’re counting by bed nights. We’ve had 28 days where we’ve authorized the cold night exception compared to last year, same point in time, 11 days,” Yacavone said. “We estimate last year we spent approximate $900,000. We’re track, as I just indicated, to possibly more than double that this year.

The committee also heard from a housing expert about high rents and the extremely tight housing market in Chittenden County.