2024 Legislative Priorities

Join us and advocate for these legislative priorities this year.

I. Solving Homelessness

Permanent Housing

Support 100 additional HOME rapid rehousing vouchers for families experiencing homelessness to help solve family homelessness - $2 million. 18 months vouchers and currently 1 family voucher cost for 18 months is $18,504.

Support 200 shallow housing subsidies for individuals with disabilities who have disability income – The Shallow Subsidy provides rental assistance to very low-income and extremely low-income household who are homeless or who face eviction due to nonpayment. This subsidy will provide rental assistance payments to landlords on behalf of the household. The rental assistance is at a fixed rate every month, regardless of changes in the household’s income or monthly rent amount. The service provider will offer light case management services but may adjust as needed. The maximum amount of rental subsidy that can be provided on behalf of the household is up to 50% of rent on a unit that is deemed rent reasonable - $2 million.

Continued investments of state and federal funding for new perpetually affordable housing and to preserve affordable rental housing and homeownership units – Support the Housing and Homeless Alliance of Vermont’s requested funding for VHCB, VHIP, VHFA and programs and services for manufactured home residents.

Appropriate Emergency Shelter and Residential Supports

Create four regional 30-bed emergency shelters (higher level of care) for people with mental health and substance use disorders.

Create regional higher level of care emergency shelters or options for people with chronic medical conditions who are experiencing homelessness.

State- led, fast track, purchasing and/or renovating 4 hotels and/or state facilities to house people in single occupancy settings with community space.

Support the integration of mental health, substance use, and medical care in all emergency shelters and require the interdepartmental cooperation within AHS to foster more community integration.

Support funding for 2 long term (6-months) substance use recovery centers focusing on people experiencing homelessness.

Continue to explore, study, and report on maximizing opportunities within community care homes and nursing homes.

Outreach and Engagement

Create a statewide outreach program for people experiencing homelessness with mental health and co-occurring substance use disorders modeled on the federal PATH (Projects for

Assistance in Transition from Homelessness) program.

Support the creation of two Overdose Preventions Centers. One in Burlington and one in another part of the State.

Encourage municipal funding and administration of overnight winter shelters.

Support two more statewide Community Resource Centers for people experiencing homelessness in areas with a high concentration of people experiencing homelessness.

Support the creation of safe camping and parking locations across Vermont with supported amenities (toilets, water, etc.).

Homelessness Prevention

Additional Services - Support the expansion of CVOEO’s statewide Vermont Tenants program with two additional staff for education, crisis response, and follow-up services. $150,000

Improve Housing Stability - Increase statewide funding for stability/retention services to improve housing sustainability.

Eviction Protections - Establish “just cause” eviction protections to ensure greater housing stability and prevent arbitrary and harmful terminations of tenancy. And support VSHA’s Eviction Diversion/Rent Arrears program.

Strengthen and Expand Mobile Home Parks

New Parks - Feasibility Study for the establishment of new mobile home parks – for the creation of 4 regional mobile home parks with 150 energy efficient mobile homes. Mobile homes would be run at least initially by local housing authorities with two resident organizers in each park. This will support rapid-rehousing efforts and a homeownership path for people experiencing homelessness.

Additional Services - Support the 4 statewide and permanent mobile home resident organizers included in the HHAV advocacy priorities to assist mobile home parks and residents with community building and organizing, emergency preparedness, and technical assistance - $400.000 annually.

Housing Justice and Equity

Expand Fair Housing Protected Classes under Fair Housing - Add “citizenship and immigration status” to the listed protected classes under Vermont’s Fair Housing law.

Rent Regulation - Establish a rent increase cap of not more than the average increase in the Consumer Price Index, or 5 percent above the most recent rent, unless the landlord can demonstrate that a greater increase is necessary due to additional costs for repairs or other exigent circumstances beyond normal maintenance or improvement.

Renters Protection - Require housing providers receiving state funding through the Vermont Housing Improvement Program (VHIP) and other incentive programs to receive landlord-tenant and fair housing law education.

II. Food Access and Security

Support the Road Map to End Child Hunger in Vermont

A proposal from Feeding Chittenden, Hunger Free Vermont, and the Vermont Foodbank.

Additional Funding for the Vermont Food Bank

Support the Vermont Food Bank’s legislative request for additional funding to assist community food centers.

III. Asylum Seekers

Funding for asylum seekers

Support $500,000 in annual assistance for the asylum seeker network (8 agencies).

IV. Support Anti-Poverty Initiatives and Strong Communities

Require the State to pay a living wage and to provide a cost-of-living adjustment to staff providing critical work in our communities

State grants are often static and don’t increase to adequately compensate staff that are often doing emergent and dangerous work. Staff should not need state benefits while doing this important work.

Crisis Fuel

Support the return of Crisis Fuel funding to at least 2023 levels.

Increase to the Weatherization Assistance Program grants

Support a fee on fossil fuels to raise income eligibility levels from 80 to 125 percent and increase wages of installation crews.

Expanding Tax Credits

Support the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit as strong and systemic anti-poverty tools.

Paid Family Leave

Support the Vermont Paid Leave’s Coalition Paid Family Leave Proposal.

Universal Pre-School

Support the expansion of Universal Pre-School for 3- and 4-year-olds.

Baby Bonds

Baby Bonds would set aside $3,200 for each VT child born on Medicaid to be invested by the Treasurer's Office. Children can access their baby bond between ages 18 and 30, with the initial investment growing to an estimated $11,500 at 18 and $24,500 at 30. The funds would be used to support a wealth-building activity: (1) buying a home; (2) starting or investing in a business; (3) higher education / job training; and (4) retirement. The policy aims to support low-income Vermonters, address the racial wealth gap and enhance economic security.