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All Vermonters are Free from the Impacts of Poverty

All Vermonters are Healthy and Safe

Communities provide safety and support to families and individuals

All Vermonters are healthy and safe

Vermonters are healthy

Vermont's families are safe, stable, nurturing, and supported

Vermont's families are safe, nurturing, stable, and supported

Vermont families are safe, stable, nurturing, and supported

Vermont communities are safe and supportive

Building a Culture of Health in Vermont

Vulnerable Vermonters are Protected

All Vermonters have affordable, safe, quality housing


Vermont creates the social conditions that promote health

Governor Scott Priority: Protect Vulnerable Vermonters



Number of persons who are homeless (adults and children)


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Story Behind the Curve

Following multiple years of increases in the number of Vermonters reported homeless; data from the 2015 Point-In-Time count showed a small but welcome 2% decrease suggesting the trend may be plateauing. The statewide trend may mask regional differences. Chittenden County witnessed the most significant decrease in homelessness while most other Vermont counties saw modest increases. While no single measure of homelessness purports 100% accuracy, the Point-In-Time count uses standard definitions developed by HUD and constitutes Vermont’s best proxy measure at this time. (Note that count methodology evolved in 2013 and it is likely that the true extent of homelessness in Vermont was higher than officially reported prior to that time.)

Homelessness remains a challenging problem in Vermont as families and individuals with extremely low incomes encounter a three-fold problem of an extremely tight rental market, increased competition for rental subsidies, and histories or behaviors that often warrant additional customized services for a housing placement to be successful.

According to a 2015-2020 Housing Needs Assessment, Vermont’s statewide rental vacancy rate is hovering close to 1%. A Housing market is considered balanced and healthy when vacancy remains between 4% and 6%. The extreme scarcity of available rental units drives up prices as it drives down opportunity for people in emergency shelter. This leads to longer shelter stays which fills shelters to capacity and pushes people in crisis to motels or warming shelters.

Sequestration of federal funding in 2013 reduced Vermont’s share of HUD Section 8 rental assistance by over $6 million dollars. This represented the equivalent of critical rental subsidy assistance for over 900 Vermont households. The Agency of Human Services has used state funds to address some of this shortage through innovative programs such as the Vermont Rental Subsidy Program but cannot completely offset such a significant reduction in rental assistance for struggling Vermonters.

AHS is currently using this tool to assess our agency contribution to reducing homelessness in Vermont. One Agency cannot turn the curve alone; there are many partners who have a role to play making a difference.

Updated in September, 2015


Homelessness in Vermont is a population-level problem. While the Agency of Human Services (AHS) and its Departments are working to reduce homelessness and increase housing stability in Vermont, AHS recognizes that housing stability is something many other specific partners are accountable for improving. Each of the partners below was identified as having a contributing role to play in improving this population-level indicator for the state of Vermont.

  • All AHS Departments
  • Community Action Agencies
  • Designated Agencies
  • Domestic Violence Shelters
  • Emergency Shelter Network
  • Governor’s Council on Homelessness
  • Governor’s Housing Council
  • Health Care Providers
  • Housing First Organizations
  • Local Faith Community
  • Local Housing Authorities
  • Local Land Trusts
  • PATH Providers
  • Private Landlords
  • Supportive Housing Providers
  • Transitional Housing Providers
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security – FEMA – Emergency Food & Shelter Program
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
  • U.S. Veteran’s Administration
  • Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition
  • Vermont Agency of Education – McKinney-Vento Coordinators
  • Vermont Center for Independent Living
  • Vermont’s Continuum of Care
  • Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Vermont Community Development Board
  • Vermont Housing and Conservation Board
  • Vermont Housing Finance Agency
  • Vermont State Housing Authority
  • VT Coalition of Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs
  • Warming Shelters and Drop-In Centers
  • And most importantly, Vermonters experiencing homelessness and the neighbors, friends, families and communities who help them find a place to call home.
What Works

Lowering the rate of homelessness in Vermont will require the sustained work of our many partners, an honest assessment of the complex challenges faced by low and extremely low income Vermonters, and the collective will to address these challenges in a coordinated way. Quality jobs, transportation, education and health are all key factors for housing stability, and, as such, many programs in AHS and beyond are contributing to this effort.

A few components of a successful strategy to end homelessness in Vermont include:

  • Significant development of more rental housing which is affordable and accessible to Vermont households earning less than 30% of area median income. Once built, this housing must be available to the homeless. A culture change may be required to move us from a position of “who is eligible for housing?” to “what blend of supportive services or subsidy assistance will each family need to be a responsible tenant and good neighbor?”
  • A more intentional approach to targeting and braiding of rental assistance (federal and state) with the supportive services or case management people who have experienced homelessness may need to be successful.
  • Strengthening of local Continuum of Care groups and Housing Review Teams through systems approaches such as coordinated intake, common assessment tools, and rapid referrals to the most appropriate housing, program or assistance to reduce the amount of time a family is homeless.
  • Implementing best practices in emerging areas such as Rapid Rehousing.
Scorecard Result Container Indicator Measure Action Actual Value Target Value Tag S R I P PM A m/d/yy m/d/yyyy