SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – The state is phasing out the pandemic emergency housing program for the homeless in Vermont. So what happens when hundreds of hotel rooms are no longer available for the homeless?
The state is creating new guidelines for people to participate in emergency accommodation at 75 hotels and motels across the state, reducing the number of rooms from 2,000 to about 650 by July 1. This is still about double the number of hotel rooms for emergency accommodation as before the pandemic.
“There will still be a lot of people staying. The governor’s plan to add additional housing for all of this is really crucial in this regard. There’s just nowhere to move people, ”said Vermont Deputy Economic Services Commissioner Tricia Tyo.
One of the main factors stopping the program – hotels wishing to reopen to the public.
“We will have less and less capacity in each of these places. Some hotels have let us know that they will continue to renew people already present, but they will not be accepting new people, ”Tyo said.
The Holiday Inn in South Burlington is among those who have pulled out, saying they will no longer be attending as of June 30 as they look to renovate the property and return to welcome travelers.
In a statement, the hotel told WCAX News: “It was always the hope and intention that the use of the property as emergency accommodation was temporary and with Vermont’s progress on vaccine distribution. and the belief that tourism and business travel will return to Vermont, we look forward to returning this property to its pre-Covid-19 use as a hotel.
Jefferson Valverde has been benefiting from the emergency housing program since he recently became homeless. He is not sure what he, his brother and his sister will do at the end of the hotel program.
“We are very worried at the moment as we are living with only one month left. We come home or get kicked out of here. Maybe go to the street. I don’t know, ”Valverde said.
Valverde and his sister currently have jobs. This income and the possibility of additional state funding could be enough to pay for an apartment.
“It’s $ 1,800, but my brother, my sister, two bedrooms. We are looking, ”he said.
Tyo says the state is still determining how this funding will be distributed. The state plans to spend up to $ 40 million in federal funding for the emergency housing program for the homeless in the next fiscal year.
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