September 24, 2021
On behalf of our clients at Vermont Legal Aid, we are relieved to hear that Governor Scott has authorized extending General Assistance (GA) emergency housing for an additional 30 days.
Vermont is still suffering the effects of COVID-19, and people experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable to becoming severely ill, even if they are vaccinated. Depriving them of this critical benefit would have been arbitrary and irrational in light of current conditions, and contrary to the intent of the Legislature.
Housing is health. And although Vermont is making historic investment in affordable housing development, that housing is not available yet, so shelter in motels is all that our vulnerable neighbors experiencing homelessness have for now. We look forward to working with the Administration and other service providers to effectively address the housing and homelessness crisis we face in Vermont.
We thank the advocates, including youth advocates, legislators, and people with lived experience who joined our call for this extension, and in so doing sent a powerful message to Governor Scott about who we are as a statewide community.
Shelter is a basic necessity that no one should go without. And this pandemic continues to teach us that when we avoid evictions and homelessness, our communities are stronger, healthier, safer and more prosperous.
Vermont Legal Aid and our community partners, along with the tireless staff at the Economic Services Department offices, are immediately getting to work to help ensure Vermonters living in the motels access the 30-day extension. Anyone who has trouble extending their stay should call Vermont Legal Aid at 1-800-889-2047.