[Press Release] Upper Valley Haven Hosts Recognition of Vermont’s Homelessness Awareness Day on January 19
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Spencer Sanders, (802) 478-1806 or
Upper Valley Haven Will Light and Display 205 Luminaries to Symbolize the Number of People Who Are Homeless and at Risk of Homelessness
White River Junction, VT –Vermont’s Annual Homelessness Awareness Day took place on January 19 with activities at the statehouse in Montpelier, VT and locations around the state. The Upper Valley Haven, which provides shelter to individuals and families and helps people find and keep permanent housing, participated in this event through advocacy and building awareness of this preventable national and local tragedy.
In Montpelier, shelter and community service providers, housing advocates, and individuals with lived experience gathered at the statehouse to share testimony before the legislature and reflect on the actions we must take this year to end homelessness in Vermont. Michael Redmond, Executive Director of the Haven, spoke in special hearings for Homelessness Awareness Day before the Joint House General and Human Services Committees and the Senate Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs Committee. His remarks focused on the need for a broad system response by the legislature and local communities to address this issue and work towards long-term solution.
Here in White River Junction, the Haven commemorated this statewide event by lighting 205 luminaries to represent the number of individuals currently on the coordinated entry list, the master list of people experiencing homelessness, in shelters or unhoused or at risk of losing their homes. Haven Community Service Coordinator, Gwen Williams explained, “Coordinated Entry (CE) is a process that ensures people experiencing a housing crisis have fair and equal access and are quickly identified, assessed for, referred and connected to housing assistance based on their strengths and needs.” The Haven used the luminaries at their Hartford Avenue campus as a symbol of all 205 individuals presently seeking secure housing as a way to show they are seen, heard, and valued.
On that day Vermonters addressed the housing insecurity crisis and ways to end homelessness in the Upper Valley, the Haven encouraged everyone to remember that together the work of the Haven and the larger community can make a difference. Last year, the Haven helped 54 individuals and families find permanent housing and prevented 59 people from eviction. Twin Pines Housing Trust will break ground on its 18-unit apartment building which will be located next to the Haven this spring. This apartment building will provide secure housing to those who are experiencing chronic homelessness and help move the needle to end homelessness in Vermont. The Haven will assist those in the building with supportive services to help them live a self-directed life.
The Haven invited its neighbors, friends, people who are unhoused and local officials to stop by the Haven campus on the evening of January 19th to take pictures and share them to bring awareness to the lives of those who have experienced homelessness, who are currently experiencing homelessness, and who may experience homelessness in the future.
The luminaries were lit at 657 Hartford Ave, White River Junction on Thursday, January 19th at sunset.
About the Upper Valley Haven
The Upper Valley Haven is a private, nonprofit organization that celebrated its 40th year anniversary in 2021. With the support of the UV community, the Haven assists those who are experiencing poverty to be free from hunger, securely housed, and to pursue a self-directed life.
The Haven operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and never charges for any services. The Upper Valley Haven serves more than 14,000 people annually.