Federal reimbursements extended for Vt. hotel voucher program

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 6:00 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - The Biden administration is extending FEMA-funded programs until April 1.

This includes reimbursements on the state’s hotel-motel program serving homeless Vermonters.

The state last week rolled out new rules relaxing hotel eligibility on the coldest nights. When temperatures are less than 20 degrees or if temperatures are less than 32 degrees with a 50% chance of snow or rain, eligibility is expanded.

Still, homeless advocates are balking at the state’s criteria saying people will still have to apply daily and that people can succumb to exposure at 30 to 50 degrees.

“The system is broken. A big part of the problem is that it is designed to fail. When folks are too frustrated they decide that meeting their own demise would be better than this unbeatable wrestling match that services they would qualify for,” said Brenda Siegel, a policy advocate.

The Scott administration says capacity is an issue and says some people who are eligible have been turned away.

Leaders say they’re scouring the state for new spaces to house people and they will be announcing an update to the adverse weather policy in the coming days.

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