A new partnership is about to bring much-needed aid to the city’s houseless population.
Ownership has changed hands at Burlington’s low-barrier homeless shelter. Starting October2, the Champlain Housing Trust and the Champlain Valley Office Of Economic Opportunity will team up to take over management of the facility.
Champlain Housing Trust Executive Director Michael Monte says renovations will take place both inside and outside the shelter, thanks to a grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.
“Some fencing, we’ll create some privacy for those that live there,” Monte said. “Also some green space, and improvements to all the rooms,”
Monte says their experience with other shelters, such as the Elmwood Shelter Pods, has given them a blueprint for how to outsource help for residents. The shelter will go from an overnight facility to one that will be staffed around the clock, seven days a week.
Guests will be assigned their own room for up to eight months. The shelter will serve about 35 people at a time, instead of the 50 to 70 people it was serving overnight.
“We’ve been rapidly hiring,” said Paul Dragon, executive director of the Champlain Valley Office Of Economic Opportunity. “We need 18 people to staff the shelter and so far we’ve hired 14. We’re still looking for people for the overnight shifts.”
In a statement, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said the CVOEO and the housing trust are trusted partners, and he is pleased they could preserve this critical community resource as the state ends the pandemic-era motel voucher program.