Preventing veteran homelessness in Vermont
Angela* was working as a nurse at a private medical practice during the pandemic when her hours were cut due to decreased patient visits across her employer’s organization. As a military veteran and single mother of three young girls, she began feverishly applying for other nursing positions. Then, after her additional $600 in unemployment insurance benefits ended, she began accessing local resources for veterans to make up the difference. She received small amounts of assistance to keep her afloat, but she soon found her unemployment benefits were not enough to cover her family’s mortgage and monthly expenses.
Upon reaching out, the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) Housing Resource Center (HRC) connected Angela with a housing specialist. The specialist assessed her situation and determined she was eligible for assistance through their program. COTS HRC is a team of eight staff members focused on retaining or securing sustainable housing for households throughout Chittenden County, Vermont.
COTS helped pay back a portion of Angela’s overdue mortgage payments to secure her housing while she worked to obtain employment. Angela called the HRC housing specialist regularly to receive support with goal setting and improving her budgeting skills. She applied for dozens of jobs every week. It was challenging to obtain a new nursing position. However, by the end of October, she had achieved all her goals, including reentering the job force as a nurse. She and her three children continue to live comfortably in their home.
Throughout this past year, COTS HRC worked with more than 50 local organizations and 700 landlords to prevent evictions and helped people without a home to quickly move into stable housing even during a pandemic. They are the largest service provider for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in Vermont. Support from the Maximus Foundation allowed them to continue giving vulnerable families a hand up during some of this year’s most challenging times. They shared, “In a year marked by so much loss and uncertainty, we are grateful for the many milestones our clients, guests, and staff were able to achieve this past year.”
To learn more, please visit them at cotsonline.org.
*Name changed for confidentiality purposes.