When they are not busy managing programs and services that take place on our campus in White River Junction, leaders at the Haven are active in policy work and advocacy at the state and national level, striving to improve the lives of those in poverty.
One current example of this is Executive Director Sara Kobylenski’s participation on a 12-person Steering Committee for the “Roadmap to End Homelessness” project.
In the final days of the session, the Vermont Legislature authorized $40,000 to be spent on a study to determine a “Roadmap to End Homelessness.” They also required that matching funds be found. The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, the Sustainable Future Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, and the Neighborworks Alliance joined together to contribute another $45,000.
The goal is for all of these organizations to work together to reduce homelessness and stabilize vulnerable populations. Building on existing efforts, their objective is to create a statewide system for a range of service-connected affordable housing options, as well as ensuring local capacity to keep the work going over time. The Roadmap to End Homelessness study is meant to propose a design, and determine cost and available and needed resources. Because of the connection between housing and the overall well-being of individuals, the Legislature is also interested in understanding what savings there might be in health care costs if housing were available to all.
Sara and her peers on the Steering Committee have an ambitious timeline of a final report and proposal by January 2017. Stay tuned.