The number of individuals exiting to permanent housing varies due to factors such as individual circumstances, rental housing availability, housing costs, and employment options. Many participants have substance abuse challenges, which affect their ability to actively participate in program activities, secure and retain employment, and work toward independent living.
For FY22 (July 2021-June 2022), there was an average of 19 individuals exiting to permanent housing each quarter. The quarterly target for FY22 for the percent of individuals who exited to permanent housing was 60%. The actual percentages have been consistently below this target every quarter in FY22, with a mean average of 38%.
The dip between FY21 Q4 and FY22 Q1 is due to the fact that all transitional housing agreements in 2021 were re-bid and there was a significant shift in which partners were provding what type of bed capacity starting in July 2021. There was a ramp up period as many providers secured additional individual apartments in the first half of FY22.
The Department of Corrections (DOC) works in partnership with Designated Agencies, Public Housing Authorities, Community Justice Centers, affordable housing providers, private landlords, municipalities, and non-profit organizations.
The following have helped in transitioning individuals to permanent housing:
The DOC partners, both formally and informally, with the Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA) and the Burlington Housing Authority (BHA) to access rental assistance/housing subsidies for eligible participants (when available). The DOC continues to explore systematic ways to connect participants to permanent housing and/or subsidies.
DOC, and the transitional housing programs we fund, are focused on helping individuals stabilize in their community. In January 2021, DOC issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for all transitional housing programs to increase the focus on exits to permanent housing. In July 2021, DOC awarded new grants to transitional housing providers, resulting in a significant shift away from congregate sober-living environments in favor of individual apartments with intensive supports. We expect that this will decrease the number of residents being exited due to program violations. It should also improve our capacity to provide safe, stable housing that meets individual needs while protecting public health and safety.