2020 Coronavirus Relief Funds
The Governor enacted the $93 million Coronavirus Emergency Economic Recovery Grants package on June 19, 2020. The State Legislature appropriated $32.9 million to VHCB for grants to nonprofit housing developers, service organizations, and shelter facilities to provide housing and services for persons who were currently experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness. On August 8, 2020, VHCB awarded more than $30 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) to 26 projects to develop new housing and improve shelters in 17 towns around the state. In early October, the balance of the funds were committed.
Due to public health considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic, since early in March, the State of Vermont had provided funding to house approximately 2,000 individuals experiencing homelessness, including more than 200 families with children, in motels and hotels. Many of these households had been staying in shelters or temporary housing and others were homeless. It is anticipated that the State’s ability to fund this temporary housing solution will end over the next several months.
The federal Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF funds) were targeted to cover capital expenses for two purposes:
1. To help secure and/or rehabilitate housing for 150-200 households in areas of highest need based on data from the Agency of Human Services and to areas with a lack of available housing. The top priority of the Agency of Human Services is to house families with children.
2. To assist existing shelters to make building modifications necessary to comply with CDC guidance related to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in congregate housing.
New Housing Units
The funds were intended to support the creation of 150-200 new units of housing for households leaving temporary housing. Alliances combining the development capacity of the non-profit housing network with homeless shelters and other service providers were strengthened to enable the creation of nearly 250 new affordable homes.
Improvements to Shelters
VHCB awarded CRF funding to 12 shelters around the state with more than 250 beds. The awards assisted with the cost of new and upgraded ventilation systems, expansion to allow for social distancing, touchless fixtures, plexiglas barriers, and other improvements.
At meetings in August, September, and October, VHCB awarded $34.25 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds for the creation of new housing and for improvements to shelters statewide.
Complete list of CRF funding commitments:
Barre - Downstreet Housing & Community Development has added a tiny home built by Norwich University students to a site they own, serving an individual previously experiencing homelessness.,
The Good Samaritan Haven, a shelter serving 250 guests annually, will add a bathroom, improve ventilation, add touchless fixtures, new flooring, a washer and dryer, and install a patio to create an outdoor social distancing area.
Bennington - Shires Housing is rehabilitating 15 currently vacant homes at Applegate Apartments. The homes will be rented to households experiencing homelessness. Support services will be provided in partnership with the Sunrise Family Resource Center.
Bradford – At Whistlestop Mobile Home Park, Downstreet Housing & Community Development will place three new zero-energy modular homes. In coordination with the local continuum of care, Downstreet will rent the homes to households experiencing homelessness.
Veterans, Inc., serving homeless male veterans with transitional housing and support services, will add ventilation units, touchless fixtures and appliances.
Brattleboro - Groundworks Collaborative is building a new, seasonal shelter with 20 beds on South Main Street that will also serve as a year-round day program for people experiencing homelessness and provide administrative space. They will add bed partitions, touchless faucets, and upgrade ventilation in the kitchen. At their existing, 12-bed shelter on Royal Road, Groundworks will convert office space to a new bedroom, adding 4 beds, improve ventilation, and add touchless fixtures.
Bristol - In partnership with the Addison County Community Trust, the John Graham Shelter has purchased three zero-energy modular homes to place at a mobile home park that will be rented to homeless households.
Burlington – ANEW Place purchased the Champlain Inn and will offer free rooms year-round, housing up to 50 people in the 33-unit motel. The property also includes a 2,800 square foot house that will provide space for on-site services, group meetings, and laundry facilities.
The Committee on Temporary Shelter will add touchless fixtures and acrylic barriers at the Daystation and the Housing Resource Center on North Avenue, and at the Waystation and the Wilson on Lower Church Street, also adding a bathroom at the Wilson.
Colchester - The Champlain Housing Trust purchased Handy’s Extended Stay Suites on Route 15 where Steps to End Domestic Violence will establish a new shelter serving up to 21 households escaping domestic and sexual violence, with capacity for both individuals and families with children.
Essex Junction - At the former Baymont Inn & Suites, the Champlain Housing Trust is creating a new facility to be known as Susan's Place, with 68 permanent apartments for people moving out of homelessness.
Hardwick – The Lamoille Housing Partnership will purchase and install two zero-energy modular homes at Evergreen Manor mobile home park. In coordination with the local continuum of care, LHP will rent the homes to households experiencing homelessness.
Hartford – The Upper Valley Haven, a shelter serving 14,500 people per year, will install touchless fixtures, automatic doors and bed dividers for social distancing in the Byrne Family Shelter and Services Building and the Hixon Adult Shelter.
Middlebury - Evernorth will purchase Weybridge Street Apartments, reserving four apartments for households experiencing, or at risk of homelessness. The Charter House Coalition will renovate their shelter, installing a ventilation system, reconfiguring the interior, constructing an outdoor pavilion for social distancing, and relocating the Day Station across the street, adding a guest laundry.
Morrisville - Clarina Howard Nichols Center, a shelter for survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence, will renovate 4 bathrooms and add a fifth, replace flooring, and improve ventilation.
Randolph - Clara Martin Center Safe Haven, a 6-bed transitional living residence for homeless individuals with mental illness, will install touchless doors and bathroom fixtures and repair and upgrade porches to expand the area for social distancing.
Rutland – The Rutland Housing Authority purchased a building on Woodstock Avenue and are rehabilitating it to provide 9 apartments with support services for households experiencing homelessness. NewStory Center, a family shelter serving victims of domestic and sexual violence, will add a ventilation system, touchless fixtures and doors, a dishwasher, renovate bathrooms, replace flooring, and expand a deck to create a 3-season room for social distancing.
St. Albans - Samaritan House, providing emergency shelter, transitional housing, and support services to individuals experiencing homelessness, will make accessibility improvements, add a bedroom, touchless fixtures, a ventilation system, and renovate 2 bathrooms.
St. Johnsbury - Rural Edge will rehabilitate, then rent 5 currently vacant apartments to households experiencing homelessness.
South Burlington - The Champlain Housing Trust purchased the Ho Hum Motel on the Williston Road, with up to 34 rooms for an isolation and quarantine site to help address and prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Vermont.
Vergennes – The John Graham Shelter added new flooring, countertops, touchless fixtures, dishwashers, two new bathrooms, acrylic dividers, and a ventilation system.
West Brattleboro – The Windham & Windsor Housing Trust purchased Dalem’s Chalet and is rehabilitating the former motel to create 27 permanent homes with on-site supportive services to be coordinated by Groundworks Collaborative. The site will allow for additional housing development over time.
Windham and Southern Windsor Counties – The Women's Freedom Center, providing services and shelter to survivors of domestic and sexual violence, will add ventilation systems to three buildings.