Drugs complicating nonprofits’ efforts to shelter homeless

Published: May. 5, 2023 at 4:32 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Drug use is playing a greater role in homelessness and local nonprofits trying to address the dual crisis, according to COTS, the Committee on Temporary Shelter.

Used needles and other drug paraphernalia litter buildings like the former YMCA in Burlington, where homeless people continue to break in. In addition to a housing shortage, COTS’ Jonathan Farell says human services nonprofits are struggling to find workers to meet demand, in part, because of the increased care needed for those drug users. “We’re asking small nonprofits to shoulder mental health and substance abuse issues in our state and it’s too much,” Farrell said.

Like other nonprofits, all of COTS’ shelters are full and there are long wait lists.

We’ll have more of Darren Perron’s conversation with Farrell coming up on “You Can Quote Me,” Sunday at 7:30 a.m. on Channel 3.