At the beginning of each year concerned citizens and homeless service providers from across Vermont gather at the State House in Montpelier for a day to engage their representatives and to renew their commitment to end homelessness in the state. Sara Kobylenski, Executive Director of the Haven, joined other homeless service providers and domestic violence advocates to speak about the latest trends and recommended solutions at a joint hearing held by the House Committees on Housing, General and Military Affairs and Human Services. Representatives also heard testimony from nationally recognized pediatrician Dr. Megan Sandel, who has done path-breaking work on the effects of housing insecurity and homelessness on children.
This year, there was a shared sense of cautious optimism. Vermont’s investments in Rental Subsidy, Rapid Rehousing, Shelter Plus Care, and Family Supportive Housing has allowed the Haven and others help people to get and keep safe housing. We hope to see a reduction in the numbers of homeless people this year, allowing us to get back to a place where we can keep up with the need. Attendees thanked Senator Leahy who led his colleagues, many of whom were reluctant, into restoring money to the federal budget that allows more housing to be created around the country.