The cost of providing emergency housing for the homeless continues to go up, despite the state's attempt to move away from paying for people to stay in motels.
The Department For Children and Families recently published its annual report on emergency housing programs. The data show the number of requests for emergency housing rose from 13,262 in 2016 to 15,084 in 2017.
That's an almost 14 percent increase
Department for Children and Families Deputy Commissioner Sean Brown says it was colder last winter, and the state saw an increase in the number of requests for emergency housing in most counties..
"Clearly homelessness and the need for emergency housing is not going away," Brown says. "It's just something that we need to keep our focus on. We need to keep moving forward, and trying to address it in the best way we can in each community around the state."
Spending almost doubled last year for emergency winter housing.
The state spent $674,000 on emergency winter housing in 2017, a dramatic increase from the relatively mild winter of 2016 when $344,000 was spent.
Brown says Barre and Rutland continue to show some of the most dramatic need in the state.
And he says the department will spend up to $600,000 in both communities to support new emergency warming shelters this winter.