Help for homeless will have recipient requirements, Scott administration says

By Guy Page

Gov. Phil Scott and administration officials Friday outlined his plans to help transition the estimated 2,700 homeless Vermonters out of the 76 hotels and motels since the pandemic began.

Rather than extend the $145/night homeless hotel programs, the State will:

  • Evaluate homeless hotel residents’ needs, and assist in providing services for mental health, health care, workforce training, substance abuse and housing.
  • Increase homeless shelter capacity by converting temporary, seasonal shelters to fulltime.
  • Work with communities to find solutions. “There won’t be a one-size fits all solution,” Human Services Secretary Jenney Samuelson said.
  • Add substance use/mental housing beds.
  • Re-establish the General Assistance housing program for needy families. This program has taken a back-burner to the homeless hotel program.

The homeless hotel program didn’t require recipients to seek help with the problems that contributed to their homelessness — including mental health, domestic abuse, substance abuse, and workforce training. That will change, Scott said.

“We don’t think the hotel motel program we have right now is healthy,” Gov. Phil Scott said.

“That’s been one of the challenges with the program,” Scott said. “There hasn’t been that accountability. Going back to the [general assistance] program we will have more accountability, more oversight. It will look like the general assistance program we had previous to this … finding them a job, finding them the substance abuse counseling they need.”

“We were actually just the credit card they used to get into the program,” Scott said. “There obviously wasn’t a lot of oversight there.”

“What will happen if people refuse to leave?” Ike Ben-David of WCAX asked. Scott didn’t answer specifically, saying the contract is between the residents and the hotel — the state has just been paying the bills.

To date, hotel/motel operators have called police to help evict tenants who are unwilling to leave.

Scott and all other administration officials said Vermont’s homelessness emergency didn’t occur in a vacuum, but is an outcome of an overall housing shortage that has been decades in the making. The State is working hard on rehabbing older homes and building new units, Housing Commissioner Josh Hanford said.

Housing advocate Brenda Siegel has warned that Vermonters without emergency housing soon will be sleeping on the couches of their drug dealers or returning to domestic abusers. People will die and that will be on the Scott administration’s head, she said earlier this month.

“We don’t think the hotel motel program we have right now is healthy,” Scott said. “A lot of what you’re hearing is actually happening in this program, because they’re isolated.”

“The hotel and motel program is not helping people thrive,” Samuelson added.

Vermont does have available capacity for domestic violence shelters, Winters said.

“Will they be isolated in tents,” a reporter asked. Winters admitted that “it will be really difficult” to address the real issues behind homelessness and keep people safe, all within budget constraints.

Will the State offer hotel/motel owners financial assistance to transition?

“I think they’ve received quite a bit of federal cash already,” Scott said. If they’ve budgeted properly, they should be able to transition. When the $145/night deal was made, the State of Vermont had little negotiating leverage, he said.

Some homeless hotels may convert to more permanent housing, offered the same units to the same clientele on a paying basis. About 14 already have done so, Hanford said.

Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle. Reprinted with permission.

Image courtesy of Public domain

16 thoughts on “Help for homeless will have recipient requirements, Scott administration says

  1. I’m some what homeless I live on a piece of land with no water and bathrooms just power but I at least try to do it myself but I work even being in a lot of pain just trying make a living and take care of myself and my man and one family member because as long I can work I’m going to
    I try not to go go to foodstuffs because it can be that one time someone else could of used that food more than you because it could be a kid so I do try to take care of myself and family to and I’m 57 years old
    I look at I’m not going to be here anymore longer
    And I’m ok with that and no I don’t do Dugs or drink
    But I have to say it really haven’t been easy out here but believe me I know it not easy on anyone in this world

  2. It seems to me that like any problem, it’s cheaper to catch it early- or better yet, how about the state stop *Creating Homeless People?*

    Homelessness is not something that simply happens.. it’s a long process of going down the drain.

    Our lives are becoming more and more over-regulated and complex- then combine this with failing education. Have you tried to even get a job lately? Do you think that someone that isn’t tech savvy or can read well can even navigate that process?
    A woman I know recently told me it took her an month to navigate the system to get a job at a deli in a grocery store, and you wonder why people don’t want to work?

    What do we think will happen to people today that graduate without so many basic skills?
    Not being able to figure out how to succeed in school, and then in life, this certainly isn’t good for self esteem, self worth.. and this begins the process of “Self Medicating” oneself down the drain all the way to Homelessness.. and then often death.
    I wish I could say I’ve not seen this pattern repeat over and over again..anyone that was born and raised around here will tell you the same thing- we’ve all seen it over and over again.
    Then add in mental issues that were not diagnosed and treated..

    Then we’ve got drugs pouring over the border, destroying the user and bankrupting a family…
    Over 100,000 people die a year from overdoses.. but what about all the users that are not dead yet?
    How do you think they are doing? THERE is a big part of your homeless problems.
    How about people stop voting for more of this?
    How about people actually do their jobs and solve all of this instead of seeing it as an opportunity to grow the Welfare State?

    So getting back to my point.. it seems like it’s common sense to catch all this early before we’ve got Homeless people, broken and destroyed people and then so many deaths of despair.
    We need to do this because this is growing into a generational problem now.

    Every kid that is being denied an education in Vermont schools by being suspended over and over again is potentially creating another Homeless person.. do you see how this works?
    How about stopping this?

    The Homeless problem is the results of a whole lot of failures– on many levels.
    Failed education, failed policies, failed treatments, failed medical systems.. just failures everywhere right across the whole system.
    You shouldn’t need a college degree to navigate through life.

    Things were not this way- anyone over 40 years old will tell you.
    It’s really a sickening and shameful situation.. and not taking ownership of what I’m saying to then fix it is a huge part of the problem.

  3. Michael Shellenberger has some interesting solutions to the homeless/drug addiction epidemic.

  4. Commune work farms, give them a sense of worth and incentive to work to support themselves. Dry them out and point them to occupation they can rely on instead of the taxpayer. Ship out the ones like burnie who are only along for the ride. San Fransisco would be a great place for them. No more just handing out cash unless your a responsible person who was put in that position by circumstances not under your control. I don’t mind helping someone down on their luck but I detest feeding a druggie who is just looking for handouts.

  5. Some mis information the state does not pay one hundred and forty five dollars a night for motel room

    • Sorry, you are the one with misinformation. The State does indeed pay average $145 a night….and it is costing Vermont taxpayers $8,000,000 a month….Gov. Scott has the figures and facts…nice try….it costs $8 million a month.

      “Scott said along with the obvious cost of the program ($8 million a month or about $145 a day per room), the hotel/motel program was instituted to help people stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the federal funding the state can not afford to support it as is.”

  6. It’s really not that difficult to solve.

    1) Put up some barracks, the same that our military use. It’s not a punishment, it’s what normal people do when they volunteer for the National Guard.

    2) Allow and mandate the building of boarding homes for people. Some people just need an affordable place to get on their feet.

    3) Stop all immigration of subsidized people, we don’t have enough homes for our own, we can’t be the social provider for every jobless person in the North East. People advertise in Boston to get tenants in Newport, which is why we have big city drug problems\

    4) Anyone supporting free place to crash for drug dealers on subsidized housing gets 3 months in jail.

    5) Have counseling available and faith-based initiatives for those caught in the lies and trap of drugs.

    6) Allow people to hire people who are down, with the state footing the insurance bill.

    7) Allow people to drive a 50cc vehicle with a license suspended, not tax on purchase, registration at $5 per year.

    8) If a landlord takes a risk by allowing a tenant of a certain history, if the rent isn’t paid they can get immediate eviction within 30 days. People will take a chance on their brothers and sisters, but they can’t afford to lose a years rent and have their place destroyed. By protecting the tenant to absurdity, owners have to screen because they can’t afford a $30,000 loss.

    9) Stop promoting drug use, gambling, pornography.

    10) NO TV for anyone on assistance, it’s a luxury, makes you stupid an lazy to boot. Books are a much better solution.

    11) There are some people that have ruined their brains and body with drugs. We need to have at least as much compassion for them too. Shelter and care for them somehow.

    When you just paid $145/175 per night x 2 years x 365 days/year you wasted $105,850/$127,750 per person on rent. You could have bought a house for that much in some parts. Paying $55-65,000 for a one year rental on a one room living quarters is a criminal misuse of tax payer money, no regard for the average Vermont person, WHO EARNS 1/2 THAT AMOUNT AND LIVES IN VERMONT!

    12) BUNKBEDS, normal people use them it’s not a punishment, it’s living within their means, minimum 4 to a room. It’s what we did as kids with no hardship at all.

    Vermont is epically lost. Lord, please help us.

    • Well said , good ideas. Let’s also add, to take the empty buildings in all the towns and make good use of them. Like an empty home Depot turn it into apartment buildings or into a traing center to teach trades for a hand up not a hand out

  7. Oh for Christ sake the “homeless” have known for a while that their cash cow was drying up. They should have taken steps and worked and saved up money for permanent housing. But no, they just cry and expect to be taking care of by the government forever.
    Stop coddling these people and make them accountable for themselves.

  8. Just like a “Moth is drawn to a flame”….homeless, mentally disturbed (or almost homeless) and druggies will figure out & hear of the way to “free stuff”… many major cities close by VT have many such already, it’s over flowing. It’s just a matter of time till these folks…many druggies, mental issues, beyond the “monetary” homeless (they are the minority)….will be given, by numerous cities, free bus fare and some cash – to get “transferred” to VT…Once here, it will be a “bleeding heart heaven”…and all their needs will be provided….free… so the problem will only get worse & worse – and far more expensive to maintain. Wait and see.

    I suggest we build homeless shelters ALL OVER the glorious wide open Shelburne Farms lands….it’s ground zero for massive inherited wealth $$$$ – the Bleeding Heart Rich – and Klimate Kooks 🙂

    • Vermont has wide open borders. As I say, soon enough many new england cities WILL figure it out that VT is their rescue, their solution… Bleeding Heart Heaven…. they’ll just give bus tickets & some cash to transfer THEIR homeless problems, to VT’s homeless problem $$$! Nothing you can do to stop it. Vermont is a free & open border with easy transport to place them here…

      HOW STUPID is Gov. Scott and all the “Dem-o-Progs” not to see it? TEXAS is bussing THEIR problems all over the USA! And boy-oh-boy, does every Democrat run city bitch, moan & complain …classic NIMBY :)…Vermont is run by ignorant morons. VTGON.

    • And look at this, in NYC….forget homeless…look at what it costs to deal with the “Biden Flood” of illegals…..Soon enough, NYC wises up and either tells them (or even gives them bus fare) to “transfer” homeless or VT…. bleeding hearts abound here. Wait and see how much it costs:

      “In a memo from the New York City Office of Management, reported by the New York Post, the city will spend an estimated $4.2 billion on costs related to migrants and asylum seekers that would be spent through June 30, 2023, and the end of fiscal year 2024.

      At the Row Hotel specifically, it is costing taxpayers around $650,000 per night to house the migrants, ringing in around $500 per night per room. “

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