The South Burlington Holiday Inn will end a partnership with the state on June 30 forcing 126 people to move out.
According to Dave Gundersen, with the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, quite a few are worried. “There is anxiety in the building around where folks will go, they have known about it for some time,” Gundersen said.
CVOEO is working to find them a new place. Gundersen said some people will choose to camp as an option.
“Some of the people that we work with prefer at least in the warmer months to be outside as opposed to being in brick and mortar buildings,” Gundersen said.
Others are reaching out to friends and family for help.
“The most difficult cases are what do you do if someone has literally no other option, and I think that we have a lot of work ahead of us,” Gundersen said.
Their focus is on the homeless community’s future in Vermont. “Just getting more buildings, more apartments, more places that have supportive services in place,” Gundersen said.
Margaret Bozik, director of Asset Management and Special Initiatives at the Champlain Housing Trust, said they have seen an increased demand for help during the pandemic. The agency has had to turn some people away.
“We have two motels right now that serve guests who are experiencing homelessness, one of them is 59 rooms and the other is 36 rooms,” Bozik said.
Bozik said places like these make an incredible difference for people at high risk.
“That population could have just seen an explosion, COVID cases, and it didn’t happen,” Bozik said.
Gundersen said it’s vital to make sure this population has a home. “Everyone deserves a place to be,” Gundersen said.